Installing a Leveling Kit Is an Intermediate Job for Most DIYers. Here’s Everything You Need To Know To Install a Leveling Kit at Home
- DIY Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
- Time Required: About 2-3 hours
- Tools & Materials:
What Is a Leveling Kit?
A leveling kit is a less expensive way to add some height to your vehicle compared to suspension lift kits. The intention of a leveling kit is to make the front of your vehicle level with the rear. These kits can be installed in many types of vehicles, such as trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps. Many of these models have suspension systems that are higher in the back, which is designed this way to allow the vehicle to not squat when hooked to a trailer. A leveling kit levels adds a small amount of lift to the front of the vehicle to reduce the height difference between the front and the rear. Generally, you can raise the front of your vehicle up to 2 inches with a leveling kit.
Should I Install My Own Leveling Kit?
Installing a leveling kit is a fairly straightforward process that you can take on yourself. It requires removing and reinstalling some important parts of your vehicle, so be sure you’re confident in your ability to work on your truck or SUV before you start taking it apart. If you improperly install a leveling kit, you could potentially damage your vehicle.
If you do decide to take on this job yourself, you might consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic afterward to have your front-end alignment checked. This can help ensure that your front tires won’t wear unevenly.
Why Should I Install a Leveling Kit?
If you don’t use your truck or SUV for towing, adding a leveling kit is basically for aesthetic purposes to give the front and rear of the vehicle similar ride heights. In addition to this, though, a leveling kit also has some practical applications. if you want to upgrade your vehicle with bigger tires, a leveling kit can help you avoid those tires rubbing up against the inner fender. Installing a leveling kit can also raise your vehicle’s front-end ground clearance. This is great for those who need the clearance to maneuver over rocky terrain or drivers who plan on installing something heavy on the front of the vehicle, such as a snowplow.
Though a leveling kit can’t raise your truck as much as a lift kit, it is significantly less expensive. You can get a leveling kit anywhere from $100 to a few hundred dollars. Lift kits quickly go past the $1,000 mark and can easily cost you several thousands of dollars.
What Are the Disadvantages of Installing a Leveling Kit?
While it’s fairly simple and safe to install a leveling kit in your vehicle, there are some drawbacks. Those include:
- Decreased fuel efficiency due to worsened aerodynamics
- Increased chance of uncontrolled steering oscillation commonly known as the “death wobble”
- Potential voiding of your vehicle’s warranty
- Possible increase of wear and tear on your suspension system
If you’re trying to dramatically change the appearance of your truck, you may want to reconsider installing a leveling kit. Leveling kits only add about 2 inches to the front of your vehicle, which can be underwhelming for drivers who want more lift rather than the more practical applications of a leveling kit.
Keep in Mind
There are several types of leveling kits designed for different styles of vehicles. We suggest you avoid purchasing any leveling kit that claims it can be installed in any vehicle. The main types of leveling kits are:
- Strut extension leveling kits
- Torsion key leveling kits
- Coil spring spacer leveling kits
Each of these kits must be installed in different ways. Be sure to follow the instructions for whichever kit you purchase. Be sure the kit you’re considering is compatible with your truck or SUV before you start the installation process.
Leveling kit spacers are available in different materials. Some are cheaper than others. Polyurethane spacers are tough against chemicals in vehicle fluids and road chemicals and are better at absorbing tension compared to their steel counterparts.
Another tip to keep in mind is that you should read through the instructions that your kit came with before you start. This can help you avoid any surprises when you’re halfway through the installation and realize you don’t have what you need for the kit.
Installing a leveling kit may alter your vehicle’s alignment. Consider taking it into the shop afterward to have it properly aligned again.
How To Install a Leveling Kit
Step 1: Lift Your Vehicle
The first step is getting your truck or SUV off of the ground. You should use a good hydraulic jack for this. Put your vehicle on jack stands to completely elevate it until the tires are not touching the ground. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find the best lift points for your specific model.
Step 2: Follow the Instructions on Your Kit
Since there is no one-size-fits-all leveling kit, each kit will have a different way it needs to be installed into your vehicle. You should follow these instructions to the letter. If you’re using coil spring spacers, you’ll need to remove the wheels, spring retaining clip, shocks, and sway bar link. If you’re using a torsion key leveling kit, you’ll only need to remove the wheels.
Step 3: Reinstall Everything
If your leveling kit requires you to remove multiple components, be sure to track which pieces went where so you can reverse your disassembly. Take photos if it helps you keep track. Keep your owner’s manual handy.
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this article are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific leveling kit. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
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