Difference Between a Leveling Kit and a Lift Kit

Difference Between Leveling and Lift Kit

Both leveling kits and lift kits are used to increase the suspension on vehicles, mostly SUVs and trucks.

These kits are sold in many auto parts stores and are quite costly. But then, these kits are different - even though they seem to be used for similar purposes.

First off, leveling kits are cheaper than lift kits, and they are easier to install too. There are conditions to decide if what you need is a leveling kit or a lift kit. Lift kits are complex and time-consuming to install.

In this article, we'll look at the key difference between a leveling kit and a lift kit to know what separates them.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Leveling Kit?

Depending on who's talking about it, a leveling kit may mean quite different things. But when you hear an auto enthusiast talk about a leveling kit, the person is definitely talking about a set of sturdy auto parts used to raise the suspension of pickup trucks and SUVs. Leveling kits are available in sizes and types.

Leveling kits are easy to install (compared with lift kits) because they are less complex. A leveling kit can increase your vehicle’s suspension by up to two inches. If you need higher ground clearance, that’s where a lift kit is needed. Different drivers and truck owners have different reasons for installing leveling kits.

However, it is important to understand that installing a leveling kit may void any OEM warranty that’s still active on your car. You’d be spending around $500 to $2,500 to install a leveling kit on your truck or SUV vehicle.

What Is a Lift Kit?

Just as the name implies, a lift kit is a set of accessories and auto parts that help to increase the suspension level of a vehicle. Now, don’t get it confused with leveling kits – they perform the same function, but lift kits have more to offer. Basically, a lift kit can give you up to six inches of ground clearance.

Since lift kits are more complex, they are tougher to install and take so much time, too. Because lift kits are costlier and more time-consuming, many people prefer going with leveling kits. Even so, depending on what you want to achieve, a lift kit might be the best choice to go with.

Also, just like leveling kits, getting a lift kit can void the OEM warranty on your vehicle, so you should be mindful when getting it done for you. On average, it costs around $3,500 to $7,000 to install a lift kit on your truck or SUV.

Difference Between a Leveling Kit and a Lift Kit

Leveling KitLift Kit
Raises your suspension up to two inches
Raises your suspension up to six inches
Cheaper and easier to install
Costlier and more complex to install
Improves off-road tours
Makes off-roading more fun and easy
Low impact on drive quality and feel
High impact on drive quality and feel
Fits 33- to 35-inch tires
Fits 35- to 40-inch tires
Suitable for daily driving, towing, sled pulling
Suitable for all terrains touring

There are not many differences between leveling kits and lift kits. The two are designed for almost the same purposes, just that you’d get a higher clearance with a lift kit than with a leveling kit. Choosing between these two kits is always confusing, but here’s what you should know.

A lift kit includes a leveling kit; in other words, if you’re getting a lift kit, you’d be provided with the components included in leveling kits, with the addition of much more accessories. In contrast, if you’re going for a leveling kit, you’re only getting a few parts to improve your car’s look and ground clearance.

Leveling kits and lift kits are the same; your preference and budget determine which one to go for. Hereunder are the components included in these kits.

What’s Included in Leveling Kits?

  • Coil spring spacers
  • Torsion bar keys
  • Strut extensions
  • Control arms
  • Brake line

Of course, a leveling kit may include more accessories than the ones listed above. The more accessories included in the kit, the more expensive it’d be.

What’s Included in Lift Kits?

  • Trailing arms
  • Strut spacers
  • Coil springs
  • Lift blocks
  • Torsion bar keys

Leveling Kit vs. Lift Kit: Which Should You Choose?

Both kits will alter your truck’s appearance while leveling out the front and rear sides so they can be in a straight line. However, leveling kits only work for raising the front side of your SUV or truck to be on the same level as the rear side. On the other hand, a lift kit is used to raise all sides of the vehicle as you wish.

Either of the kits you decide to install will improve your off-roading experience and let you use big tires - but lift kits will use bigger tires. When a truck or SUV is lifted or leveled, it makes it look sturdier - more rugged - and fancier.

If you simply want to use big tires, it’d be better to go with a leveling kit. However, if you want your truck or SUV to appear more rugged and have incredible ground clearance, then you need a lift kit. Installing either of these kits is very technical - you should have a professional do that for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Lift Kits Cost?

Lift kits are very expensive; the average cost is around $3,000 for parts only, and installation costs can be anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. Because lift kits are very expensive to afford, many “car guys” resort to leveling kits, which are equally easier to install.

Do Leveling Kits Affect Ride Quality?

Well, not in all cases. If you got an original leveling kit and had a professional do it for you, your vehicle’s ride quality and driving dynamics should not be affected. In contrast, if you did the installation yourself and didn't do it all right, you may experience poor ride quality with the vehicle.

Can You Have a Leveling Kit and a Lift Kit?

No. You shouldn’t do that - it’s not recommendable to add a leveling kit on top of a lift kit. If you already did one and wanted to switch to the other, remove the old one and do a fresh installation of the new one. For example, if you already had leveling done on your truck before wanting a lift, you should undo the leveling and do the lifting afresh.