Leveling Kit Buyer’s Guide
- Pickup trucks are designed for height and heft. This is why a leveling kit is one of the most popular upgrades that people purchase for their trucks.
- A leveling kit raises the front of a truck by a couple inches. This gets rid of the factory rake that is typically built into factory-issued pickup trucks.
- Leveling kits only add height to the front of your vehicle. Lift kits, on the other hand, are designed to raise your entire truck from front to rear. They are more expensive than leveling kits, and they are more difficult to install.
- There are three main types of leveling kits: torsion bar keys, strut spacers, and coil spacers.
- On average, leveling kits without shocks cost anywhere between $50 to a little over $400. If the leveling kit has shocks included, prices can rise up to around $1000.
If you own a pickup truck or are looking to buy one, you have probably heard of leveling kits and lift kits at least once. After all, trucks are designed for height and heft. This is why a leveling kit is one of the most popular upgrades that people purchase for their trucks.
What is a Leveling Kit?
A leveling kit, as the name suggests, levels the truck by raising the front by a couple of inches. This is because most trucks fresh off the factory come with something called a ‘rake’ built into the suspension. This rake raises the rear part of the truck a little bit higher than the front part in anticipation of the heavy loads that will be placed on the truck bed.
While the factory rake is quite useful in various applications when you need to load something heavy in the back of your truck, many people find the rear of their truck being lower than the front unsightly. This is why leveling kits are so popular.
How Does a Leveling Kit Work?
What’s great about a leveling kit is that it adds height to the front of your truck without affecting the height of the rear. This means that adding one won’t really affect your truck’s payload. In order to accomplish this, leveling kits use torsion keys, coil spacers, or strut extensions to add an inch or two to your truck’s front end. The particular mechanism used depends on your truck’s type of suspension.
What is the Difference Between a Leveling Kit and a Lift Kit?
Leveling kits and lift kits both add height to your truck, but that’s where the similarity ends. Lift kits are designed to raise your entire truck from front to rear. They are more expensive than leveling kits, and they are more difficult to install. Leveling kits, on the other hand, can be installed without even jacking up your vehicle, and they cost noticeably less than lift kits.
For cosmetic purposes only, a leveling kit is more than enough to level your truck and add some height. However, leveling kits can only add up to two or maybe three inches at most. If you’re planning to use your truck for a lot of off-roading and you need to add a lot of height to your suspension, a lift kit might be the better option.
Common Questions About Putting on a Leveling Kit
Still unsure about installing a leveling kit on your truck? Here are three commonly asked questions that truck owners have about putting on a leveling kit on their vehicle.
What are the Benefits of a Leveling Kit?
The biggest plus of a leveling kit is the improvement it provides to your truck’s appearance. A leveling kit is an excellent cosmetic upgrade that really makes a noticeable difference in the appearance of your truck. The few inches of added height also gives you enough space to install bigger tires to your truck. And you can achieve this for a pretty affordable price by putting on a leveling kit.
Installing a leveling kit on your truck also improves handling especially when the back of your truck is empty. This is especially useful if you rarely use your truck for towing or carrying heavy loads.
Does a Leveling Kit Affect MPG?
Another thing that people wonder about leveling kits is if they have an impact on gas mileage. Since a leveling kit affects the aerodynamics of your truck, it can have an adverse impact on your gas mileage. It’s important to note that the effect on the MPG is not drastic, but it can add up over time.
Will a Leveling Kit Make My Truck Ride Rough?
In general, adding a leveling kit will have no effect on ride quality. Most people who install leveling kits and even those who add bigger tires report no discernible change on the quality of their ride. However, it all depends on the brand and build quality of the leveling kit you install. If you install a leveling kit and find that your truck suddenly rides rough or there’s suddenly a clunking noise in the suspension, you may have installed it incorrectly or you might need to replace it with a different leveling kit.
Choosing a Leveling Kit
There are three main types of leveling kits: coil spring spacers, torsion bar keys, and strut extensions. Here’s a rundown on each of these types of leveling kits.
Torsion Bar Keys
Torsion bar keys are made to replace the factory keys installed in your truck. Because it adds height and modifies your vehicle, most torsion bar keys are made to be much stronger than the original torsion keys that come with pickup trucks. Trucks that can be leveled using torsion keys include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500.
Strut Extensions or Strut Spacers
If your truck has a coil over spring suspension, strut extensions or strut spacers are suitable leveling kits for you too. These are simply placed on the top or bottom of your existing struts in order to achieve the added height you want. You can use strut extensions or strut spacers to lift trucks like the Toyota Tundra or the Ford F-150.
Coil Spring Spacers
Coil spring spacers or coil spacers are placed directly on the top or bottom of your coil spring buckets. Since they replace factory components, they can be a bit trickier to install. They work pretty similarly to strut extensions, but not all vehicles that can accommodate strut extensions are suitable for coil spacers too. Coil spring spacer leveling kits work for Jeeps and trucks like the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Ultimately, the best leveling kit for your truck depends on various factors including the type of suspension you have and how much height you want to add to your truck.
How Much Does It Cost to Put a Leveling Kit On?
On average, leveling kits without shocks cost anywhere between $50 to a little over $400. If the leveling kit has shocks included, prices can rise up to around $1000.