Will a leveling kit damage my truck? Are leveling kits bad? A quality leveling kit that is installed properly will not damage a truck. And they aren’t necessarily bad either — they can be helpful if you’re planning to go off-roading or will be using a snowplow or trailer. But, keep in mind, your entire vehicle’s weight rests on the suspension, so it’s important to get these parts installed correctly.
Will a Leveling Kit Damage My Truck?
Are leveling kits bad? As with any modification, changing your truck’s suspension isn’t without risks, but a quality leveling kit that is properly installed will not permanently damage the truck.
Concerns about leveling kits stem from the fact that this modification changes the geometry of the suspension, and from anecdotal experience with parts of the suspension system becoming prematurely worn. It is true that a leveling kit alters the geometry of the truck — most kits lift the front of the truck a few inches, leveling it with the back. (Trucks are factory-built for the suspension to sit higher in the rear.)
It is worth adding that leveling a truck makes hauling trailers with it use more fuel than unleveled, especially on 2wd, and they do not handle as well, especially with a bumper pull. They are built rear up with the intention of a load leveling them.
As noted above, any modification has its risks, and a leveling kit may cause parts to wear out faster than normal. However, you can avoid several potential issues with professional installation or additional maintenance, like installing new shocks and checking the truck’s alignment. Based on our research, customer reports of major problems after installing a leveling kit do not often take into account whether the kit was professionally installed or whether there may have been another cause for the problem, such as a different modification or rough driving.
Most kits are bolt-on modifications (they don’t require welding or cutting) and can be reversed if you decide to sell the truck or change the suspension setup on your truck in the future. Here are a few things to consider before installing a leveling kit:
Some popular companies that specialize in suspension modifications for trucks include Rough Country, Summit Racing, and Tuff Country. Be sure to order parts for your specific vehicle down to the last detail, as some kits are based on model year, trim levels, and even whether or not the truck has four-wheel drive.
You can install the kit yourself or have a trusted mechanic install it for you. Most kits come with basic instructions, but there are also detailed YouTube videos available for almost every truck imaginable.
Keep in mind, even using a quality kit can go bad quickly if a mistake is made. Your entire vehicle’s weight rests on the suspension, so it’s important to get these parts installed correctly.
One downside of installing a leveling kit is that you may void your vehicle’s warranty. If it’s outside the warranty window, you don’t have to worry about this, but if you have a newer truck and something on it breaks, the dealer may be hesitant to do any repairs under warranty if you have modified the stock suspension.
Another downside is that you may wear out suspension components faster. Trucks were designed by the manufacturer to operate in a certain way, and changing anything can increase wear and tear on your vehicle. When adjusting the front suspension, the wear is almost guaranteed to increase on ball joints. If you have a 4×4, then the front CV joints are likely to see additional stress, as well. The more you change the height of the suspension, the faster these things will wear out, so small changes (two inches or less) will not increase wear as quickly as large changes.
Finally, you may see reduced gas mileage. If you are increasing the height of your truck, especially in the front, you will increase the amount of wind resistance. This is why race cars are as low to the ground as possible; more airflow under the car increases the amount of drag and increases fuel consumption. If you decide to lower your truck to level it, though, you will probably not reduce the gas mileage.
Are leveling kits bad? Leveling kits, when made of quality components and installed correctly, will not damage your truck. If you need to install a leveling kit for off-roading or for using a snowplow, you can rest assured that your truck won’t suffer any permanent damage from the leveling kit itself. Modifying your truck may, however, void your manufacturer warranty, increase suspension wear, and reduce gas mileage.
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