Are you looking into purchasing a leveling kit for your truck? You may be wondering how a leveling kit will affect your vehicle’s towing capacity and ability.
A leveling kit alone will not affect the towing capacity of your vehicle. A leveling kit may allow your vehicle to have more space for the suspension to adjust, which will aid in towing. However, adding larger tires to your vehicle will decrease your vehicle’s towing capacity.
Before completing this upgrade to your truck, it is important to understand the consequences– both positive and negative of a leveling kit.
What is the Purpose of a Leveling Kit?
The main purpose of a leveling kit on a truck is to raise the body of the vehicle away from the axles in order to fit larger tires on. Leveling kits are designed to only raise the front of the truck, not the entire body of the vehicle. This is to allow the front of the truck to become even with the rear stock height. Most leveling kits are only designed to raise the front of the truck a maximum of 2 inches. If you desire a stock-style stance, front-end leveling kits are able to be paired with spacer blocks on the rear leaf springs to provide a slight lift at all four corners.
How a Leveling Kit Will Affect Your Towing Experience
Installing a leveling kit on your truck will change the height slightly but in no dramatic manner. Due to the added room for the suspension, towing and hauling can be improved with a leveling kit. Having a leveling kit installed on your truck allows more room for the suspension to settle before bottoming out under the load.
With a higher truck, you are able to fit the truck to larger tires which will help with the control of the vehicle. The larger surface area which the big tires take-up will also help your truck have more control while towing and hauling heavy loads.
On the contrary, larger tires will negatively affect your towing capacity. Because of the extra energy going into turning each tire, the vehicle has less power to tow a heavier load. The larger tire surface area means you are able to tow more efficiently, but you are unable to tow the weight you once were.
The larger the tire, the slower it will rotate and the less torque it will transmit to the ground. Smaller tires, on the other hand, use less energy to rotate which allows the vehicle to use the rest of its power to tow. Smaller tires will equal a higher rpm (rotations per minute) but will emit more torque to the ground.
It is not the leveling kit which negatively affects the towing capacity, rather the larger tire size.
Pros of Installing a Leveling Kit
- You can use wheels which are larger than stock on all corners.
- Most vehicles have enough clearance in the rear to install larger tires, but installing a leveling kit allows for more room in the front of your truck to put in big tires.
- It allows you to operate equipment on the front of the truck.
- The extra lift which a leveling kit gives to the front of your truck allows you to now use and operate equipment on your truck.
- You can avoid the sag-to-flat issue on some makes and models.
- Many trucks are “front heavy” to compensate for those who often tow. Towing heavy loads frequently can begin to pull the frame down in the back, which is why truck building companies have made many trucks “front heavy”.
- Installing a leveling kit to the front of your truck and fix this issue which was manufactured on your truck
- It reduces the braking pressure during an emergency stop.
- When you install a leveling kit to your truck, you create a more equal and level truck. This allows for more even breaking. This will reduce the load on the front suspension and the brakes.
- A truck leveling kit will not impact the static weight balance of the vehicle.
- This is not a positive which is added to your existing truck but is a positive when you are considering raising your tuck and looking into your different options. When you choose to install a lifting kit instead of a leveling kit, your truck’s overall weight will increase which affects the center of gravity.
- Not adding any additional weight is a great positive when looking into raising your vehicle.
- Fuel economy changes don’t happen with every make and model.
- One disadvantage which most truck owners are already well acquainted with is the cost to run your vehicle. The good thing is, when installing a leveling kit compared to a lift kit, you are less likely to see a great change in the cost to run the machine.
- There is better handling with a truck leveling kit installed.
- When you install a leveling kit to your truck, it allows for more room to install larger tires. Having those larger tires allows your vehicle to have more surface grip onto the road. This allows you to have greater control over your vehicle as you drive.
How to Apply a Leveling Kit to Your Truck
When you begin looking into leveling your truck, and raising the front, it is important to understand the options which are presented for you. Choosing the best option for you is found by understanding what the components of each one holds.
Completing the Upgrade Yourself
This option is exceptionally more cost-effective. The downfall of completing the upgrade on your own is the time and the effort which this will require. When doing research on which option is best for you and your needs, it is important to understand what completing the upgrade will require. In order to install the leveling kit onto your truck, you must have these tools:
- Floor jack and jack stands rated for the correct weight to support your make and model
- Torque Wrench
- Wrenches (various sizes)
- Extra nuts, bolts, and screws in case you misplace yours
- PB Blaster
Once you have ensured you have access to all of the tools required to install the leveling kit to your truck, you should be prepared to begin the installation. Here are a few tips which should aid you in your installation process.
- Open your kit and ensure all of the parts necessary for installation are there.
- Read over all of the instructions before you begin anything.
- Always block off your tires and ensure your vehicle is in “park” with your emergency brake on.
- Gather torque specifications from the installation instructions. You can also find these from shop manuals for your vehicle.
- Safety first – if you don’t feel safe doing something, do not attempt it.
Having a Professional Install the Upgrade
If you are not handy with the mechanics of your truck, you should not attempt to install the leveling kit yourself. It can be dangerous and could end up costing you twice as much to fix any problems which your installation may cause. Hiring a professional to complete the upgrade is the safe and most time-efficient option to go for.
Similar to doing the leveling kit on your own, before hiring a professional to complete the upgrade, you should do your research on the best place to have this upgrade installed. Different companies will have ranging reviews and price points, this will be the best thing to look into while completing research on which auto shop to have the leveling kit installed at.
Of course the best thing about having a professional complete this upgrade is the ease on your part, and the accerety of the job being completed correctly and efficiently. The greatest downfall of going to a professional is the cost of the entire installation.
The average cost for the installation fee at a garage falls into the same price range. You should expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 just for the professional installation. It is also important to keep in mind that any change to your suspension or vehicle ride is going to need a professional alignment to ensure everything is lined up properly. These additional services will cost you on average around $80-200, on top of the installation fee.
Cost of Leveling Kits
No matter how you decide to install your leveling kit, the first step is to purchase the actual kit. If you choose to have a professional install the kit, it is likely they will have options there which you can choose from. Doing your research on the correct kit for your vehicle, needs, and price range is crucial to the success of the project.
Finding the correct price range for leveling kits depends on which version of a leveling kit your vehicle requires. There are three main versions coil spring spacers, torsion bar keys, and strut extensions.
- Coil Spring Spacers average cost: $80 to $120
- Torsion Bar Keys average cost: $240 to $380
- Strut Extensions average cost: $40 to $1700+ (the large price range is due to the components which come in the kit)
Does a leveling kit affect 4WD? ›
Adding a body leveling kit has no real impact on the suspension system. However, it can affect handling. It raises the vehicle's center of gravity, making it slightly tippy around corners. A body leveling kit is another relatively inexpensive method for adding needed space for larger wheels and tires.Does lift kit affect towing capacity? ›
Expert Reply: A body lift does not affect towing since it's only the body of your vehicle that's being raised; the stock suspension and wheels remain at their original height.Does a leveling kit affect anything? ›
Increases Ground Clearance
A leveling kit will give you approximately 1-3 inches of additional ground clearance. This is useful if you plan to offroad by helping to prevent rocks and debris from damaging the underside of your vehicle. A higher front-end will also keep you from bottoming out on steep driveways.
However, the increased angle and pressure that lift kits can add to these ball joints can cause them to wear out quickly, and in extreme cases, they can fail, which snaps the wheel sideways, leading you to end up on the side of the road - that's a bad day.Do leveling kits hurt quality? ›
Q: Does a leveling kit affect ride quality? A: Under most circumstances, as long as you get proper installation a leveling kit will not affect your ride quality. However, if you buy a cheap leveling kit and attempt to install at home, it could.How can I increase my towing capacity? ›
- Upgrading the Hitch. The same vehicle can tow more with a Class III hitch than a Class II hitch. ...
- Installing a Weight-Distribution Hitch. ...
- Upgrading the Brakes. ...
- Replacing the Axles. ...
- Adding Bigger Radiator.
Max towing capacity should not be taken lightly. Exceeding what your vehicle is designed to tow can strain your engine and transmission, accelerate brake wear, damage your tires and even warp your chassis. This could in turn trigger catastrophic failure while driving and could lead to property damage or serious injury.Is it OK to tow with lifted truck? ›
In answer to the above question, absolutely you can! But a lifted truck isn't the most ideal setup for towing. When you modify the suspension, things like steering, braking, aerodynamics, and stability are suddenly altered. In some cases, your personal safety will be compromised.Do I need an alignment after a leveling kit? ›
Yes, your 4×4 will need an alignment after the installation of a leveling kit. All IFS 4x4s will need a full alignment, while solid-axle 4x4s can typically get by with centering the steering wheel via the draglink adjustment.Is it better to lift or leveling your truck? ›
A leveling kit is a great choice for the driver who wants larger tires or more ground clearance for their day-to-day. Lifting kits are significantly more complex and expensive, but they give you the room you'll need to install tires of up to 40 inches in diameter.
What effects do leveling kits have on trucks? ›
A truck leveling kit raises the front of your truck to even out the overall stance of the vehicle. If you rarely load your truck or haul a heavy trailer, adding a leveling kit will let you fit larger wheels and tires on your truck for a minimal investment.Do I need new control arms with a leveling kit? ›
If you are only doing a 2 inch level you do not need new upper control arms. Once you go above 2 inches you need to consider it.Does a leveling kit raise the back? ›
As the name implies, leveling kits are designed to level the height of your vehicle. They raise the front of the vehicle by one or two inches, so it's the same height as the back. These kits generally cost less than lift kits, and they're much easier to install.Do lift kits hurt your truck? ›
Improper installation can cause a slew of problems down the road for your car. Keep in mind that DIY jobs can also risk your safety because improperly installed lift kits can cause damage to your vehicle's suspension, frame, or body.Why are trucks not level? ›
Lift versus Level
On any stock truck coming straight from the manufacturer, the rear of the vehicle sits a few inches higher than the front end. This is called a raked stance. Trucks are designed this way intentionally. The higher backend means less risk to the factory rear suspension under a heavy load.
Yes, a leveling kit can affect shocks. When you raise the height of your vehicle, it changes the geometry and leverage of the suspension system. This can put a lot of extra stress on the shocks, causing them to wear out faster.What decreases towing capacity? ›
Similarly, if you weigh more than 150 pounds, the towing capacity goes down. Likewise, if you add a family of four, a weekend's worth of gear, and a cooler full of ice and drinks, towing capacity goes way down. But there are other limits for what you can safely tow, including “tongue weight” (more on that later).What influences towing capacity? ›
Towing capacity is how much the truck can pull, while payload capacity is how much it can carry. These can depend on such factors as the truck's configuration, its chassis, its engine and transmission, its rear axle ratio, and its weight, and there can be considerable range over a truck's full lineup.What should I upgrade for better towing? ›
- Upgrade the Axles. With upgraded axles, you can manage heavy-duty components with greater ease. ...
- Increase Suspension. ...
- Upgrade the Brakes. ...
- Programmer. ...
- Install an up-to Task Hitch. ...
- Get a Bigger Radiator. ...
- Frame and Chassis. ...
- Replace Your Intake and Exhaust.
The 80/20 towing rule is a safety measure many RVers follow. Basically, the rule states that you shouldn't tow above 80% of your max towing capacity. This gives room for human error in calculations. It also protects the life of your vehicle by not pushing it to the max every time you tow your trailer.
Does towing shorten the life of a vehicle? ›
Towing causes additional strain on your vehicle, from the engine to your brakes. So, it will slowly wear on your engine over time, no matter your vehicle or trailer. However, some big things will lead to faster wear and more substantial damage.Can I pull a trailer with a higher GVWR than my truck? ›
Vehicle manufacturers provide a “tow rating” in their owner's manuals which provides the maximum weight the tow vehicle can tow when fully loaded. The GVWR of the trailer should never exceed the tow rating of the tow vehicle, even if the trailer is not loaded to its maximum capacity.Why does my truck squat when towing? ›
Visibly squatting while towing is a sign that your leaf springs have already been damaged from carrying over-capacity loads. Squatting is a sign of instability, tire misalignment, component wear and potential damage to steering and braking.What type of suspension is best for towing? ›
Your truck's suspension is the key to your towing experience, and the best setup you can have is air suspension.How high can I lift my 4WD? ›
NSW: Like Victoria, any vehicle you register in NSW can now be lifted to 75mm with a maximum of 50mm diameter (25mm lift) and 50mm from suspension.Can you go off-roading with a leveling kit? ›
In short, yes, you can off-road with a leveling kit. Leveling kits increase the ground clearance, thereby allowing you to install larger tires and drive comfortably on tricky terrains such as dirt, sand, mud, and rocks.Is it better to drive in 4WD High or 4 wheel low on snow? ›
The low range provides maximum traction on off-roads, while the high range is the default setting for daily driving. High range can help when driving on gravel, loose sand, snow, or ice. Full-time four-wheel drive sends power to all four wheels at all times.When should you not use 4WD? ›
Do not use 4WD on flat, smooth and dry roads, as it can damage your vehicle, according to Consumer Reports. Family Handyman adds that 4WD uses up more fuel to get the gears and drive shaft going. Turn it off when you don't need it to save on gas.