Leveling vs. Lifting Your Truck – Which Is Right For Your Vehicle?

There’s something special about getting behind the wheel of a lifted truck. You feel on top of the world whether you’re making heads turn as you cruise down the highway or pitting your ride against the roughest terrain you can find. There’s no better feeling.

If you’ve been thinking about giving your truck a height boost, you should know that there’s more than one way to get it done. The method you choose depends on how much customization you want to put your truck through as well as your goals. Some methods are suitable for trucks that spend most of their time on the pavement while others are great for trucks that will be taken off-road.

To add some extra height on your truck you can pick one of two popular options: leveling or lifting. We at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive have encountered lots of truck drivers who get mixed up about the two and we’d like to clear up the confusion.

Let’s break down what you need to know about leveling vs. lifting your truck so you are better placed to choose one that’s right for your vehicle.

Leveling vs. Lifting

Both leveling and lifting are methods that are used to add height by raising a truck’s body away from the axles. This way you can have more ground clearance to clear whichever obstacles you encounter when trail running. You’ll also have more allowance to fit larger, more aggressive tires. Additionally, both give your truck a more aggressive, badass look and can improve your vehicle’s handling.

Leveling Your Truck

You might have noticed that trucks straight out of the factory sit a little higher at the rear than at the front. This degree of “rake” is built into the truck’s suspension so that the vehicle’s back end can easily accommodate the extra weight when hauling stuff without sagging. Without it, the truck would be uncomfortable to ride and dangerous to handle, not to mention the extra wear the shocks and other parts would sustain.

Leveling involves raising the front of your truck (mostly by a maximum of 2 inches) to bring it in line with the stock height at the back. This is a simple installation and only requires coil spring spacers, torsion keys or strut extensions to complete the job.

Advantages of a Truck Leveling Kit

  • Results in a consistent look for your truck. While the factory rake helps you carry a substantial load in the truck bed, the limited clearance in the front doesn’t allow you to add larger tires. The slight increase in height brought by a truck leveling kit allows installation of larger matching tires on all sides.

  • Makes for a more balanced vehicle. Building a custom truck calls for serious mods e.g. bull bars or a winch. These can weigh down your vehicle and cause excessive wear on the tires and suspension. A leveling kit sorts this by giving your truck a boost and evenly redistributing the weight.

  • Easy and inexpensive to install. If done by professionals, like us, a leveling kit installation can be completed in about 2 hours.

Lifting Your Truck

Lifting your truck, as the name implies, involves raising the vehicle higher into the air using modified truck lift kits and suspension packages. Truck lift kits are available in different sizes and you have the option of getting a small 2-inch lift to as much as 12 inches or more, for a customized look.

A typical truck lift kit package contains new control arms, shocks, springs and whatever other hardware is needed for assembly to help attain and maintain the desired height. Lift kit installation can be quite complex as it might involve cutting, welding or changing out several suspension, drivetrain or steering components.

You can either choose to get a body lift kit or a suspension lift kit.

The body lift kit only lifts the truck’s body but the ground clearances, steering and suspension geometry remain unchanged. You’ll get extra height without affecting ride quality. The suspension lift kit, on the other hand, is more involving as several suspension components like the shocks, struts and driveshaft are changed out. This type of lift kit results in greater ground clearance so it’s ideal for off-road pursuits.

Advantages of a Truck Lift Kit

  • It elevates your whole truck. Many new trucks being built today are quite low to the ground making them more car-like. Having a low exhaust, bumper, running boards etc., spells disaster when towing or venturing off-road. A lift kit eliminates this problem and prevents damage by giving you much-needed ground clearance.

  • It boosts off-roading performance. The ground clearance that comes with getting a lift kit installed on your truck enables you to fit larger, more aggressive tires. These will increase your traction and improve your handling, especially when hitting rugged terrain.

  • You can choose either a body or suspension lift kit. After careful research, you can pick whichever one that best suits your needs.

Which One is Right for You?

When deciding between leveling vs. lifting your truck, it helps to think of your end goals. If you use your rig mainly for hauling or towing, then leveling your truck will suit you well. If you’re an enthusiastic off-roader who loves trail running, rock crawling and going over all kinds of obstacles, then lifting your truck would be ideal for you.

Now that you know the differences and advantages of both leveling and lifting your truck, we hope you are in a better position to make an informed choice on which one is right for your vehicle. For further help, stop by Dixie 4 Wheel Drive and we’ll get your truck looking and working exactly the way you want!

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