Leveling Kit Guide: What They Do and What They Cost
If you are new to modifying trucks, Jeeps, and SUVs, some terms and component names can be confusing. The leveling kit is a popular, entry-level modification, but its purpose and function can be hard to understand, especially when compared to a lift kit, another popular upgrade.
If you’ve been modifying trucks for a while, nothing in this article will be news to you. However, if you’re a newbie and want to know if a leveling kit is a good upgrade for your rig, you’re in the right place!
What is the purpose of a leveling kit?
If your truck is stock, take a look at it from the side. Most likely, the front will sit a bit lower than the rear. This is called rake. Engineers allow a certain amount of rake so your truck can accommodate heavy loads. By lifting the rear of the vehicle, it will sit level when pulling or carrying a heavy load. The extra lift also helps prevent bottoming out.
Leveling kits counteract rake and achieve a more level stance between the front and rear of the vehicle.
What’s Included in a Leveling Kit? How Do They work?
Leveling kits raise the front of the vehicle up (the amount of lift depends on the vehicle) so it sits even with the rear. This is done by adding a spacer to the strut and the vehicle chassis. The lift provided by the spacer brings the front up, level with the rear. Leveling kits do this without needing to change springs or other suspension components. The majority of leveling kits will include the spacers and required hardware.
Benefits of Leveling Your Truck or SUV
Installing a leveling kit has several benefits, ranging from functional to aesthetic.
Improved ground clearance
If you need some additional ground clearance but don’t want to go to a full lift kit, a leveling kit is a great option. By raising the front of your vehicle, you are giving your oil pan, transmission, and other components a bit more space, decreasing the odds of a pricey bottom-out.
Fit Larger Tires
Leveling your truck or SUV will give you extra space to fit a larger set of tires. Reducing the rake creates more space between the tire and wheel arch. Adding larger tires will and a leveling kit will make your vehicle sit much higher than it did stock.
More Aggressive Look
One of the most common reasons enthusiasts install leveling kits on their vehicles is to improve the look. A leveled truck looks much more aggressive than a vehicle with lots of rake. Bigger tires and new wheels can take the look even further.
Retain Factory Driving Dynamics
Unlike lift kits, which can completely change the way your vehicle drives and handles, a leveling kit will minimally impact driving dynamics. This makes it a great option for those who want to improve the look of their vehicle, but don’t want to sacrifice its comfort and useability. A leveling kit alone will not impact your towing capacity either, although other modifications like larger tires can have an effect.
Remember, it’s a good idea to get your vehicle aligned after modifying any suspension components.
How much do leveling kits cost?
The cost of leveling your vehicle can be divided into three categories:
1.) Cost of the kit
2.) Labor for installation
3.) Alignment cost
As far as modifications go, leveling kits are pretty cost-effective. A decent kit can cost between $70-$150 depending on your vehicle. Some kits can cost more, while others can be less expensive.
The installation cost will vary depending on the shop, but you can expect to pay around $200-$400 in labor depending on your vehicle. If you like to turn your own wrenches, you can eliminate the cost of labor entirely by doing it yourself!
Getting an alignment after leveling your vehicle is needed for safety. You can expect to pay around $100 or less for a front-end alignment.
All said and done, the cost of leveling your truck or SUV can range greatly. The primary factor is whether you install the kit yourself or have a professional do it. For you DIYers, expect to pay $300 or less depending on the kit you buy and where you get the alignment done.
If you are going the professional install route, expect to pay $500-$800 total, with the same factors as above in addition to varying labor rates.
Leveling Kits at Scott’s U-Save
Scott’s U-Save is your destination for off-road upgrades in Chicago’s Southland. We have shops in New Lenox, Schererville, and Steger, staffed with experts ready to advise you. We can source parts, including leveling kits, from the top off-road brands in the country. DIYer? We’ll advise you on the parts you need for your project. Want us to do the work? Our teams of ASE Certified technicians have the skills and experience. Give us a call or contact us to talk about leveling kits today!