Leveling kits are devices used to increase the overall ground clearance of your 4 x 4 truck. However, many truck enthusiasts ask, 'can you off-road 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. Moreover, it will prevent the front bumper from damage due to rocks and debris.
This article will explain what a leveling kit is and how it works to improve the overall off-roading capabilities of a 4 x 4 truck. Moreover, it is important to remember that while a leveling kit has various advantages, especially with regards to off-roading, it comes with various disadvantages as well. This article will outline all these aspects of a leveling kit so that you can make the right investment for your 4 x 4 truck.
Our team of experts in 4 x 4 trucks has compiled the content contained in this article to bring you the best information about leveling kits out there. So, let's get into it!
What is a Leveling Kit?
During the manufacturing stages of most trucks, car producers tend to intentionally lower the front part of the truck's body to create what is called a raked stance. This is when the front part of the body lies at a lower horizontal level relative to the rear part.
A leveling kit is a device used to give your truck an increased overall ground clearance. The leveling kit is added to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suspension to bring the front end of the truck's body on the same horizontal level as the rear end, thereby offsetting the raked stance.
Since most stock 4 x 4 trucks come with a raked stance, the installation of a leveling kit is a great way to provide a greater lift, increase ground clearance, and hence, provide the ability to install larger tires to the truck.
How Does a Leveling Kit Work?
A leveling kit comes with many perks for your 4 x 4 truck. For starters, by increasing the ground clearance, you are increasing the amount of load your truck can handle. Furthermore, by installing larger tires on your truck, you can increase the level of handling, thereby making your drives smoother.
Furthermore, by offsetting the raked stance and making your truck's body level relative to the axles, you can add a more enhanced aesthetic feel to your truck.
However, not all leveling kits are created equal as there are different leveling kits used for trucks, SUVs, and jeeps. Importantly, we recommended steering clear of universal use leveling kits, as these are typically fakes.
Moreover, the specific type of leveling kit to install depends on many factors but primarily depends on the type of suspension system your truck uses. A truck with a torsion bar suspension system would ideally require a Torsion Key leveling kit, for example.
Meanwhile, a vehicle with a coilover strut on the suspension system, like SUVs and mid-sized trucks, would ideally require a Strut Extension leveling kit. Conversely, vehicles that use coil spring suspension systems ideally require a Coil Spring Spacer leveling kit.
Can You Off-Road With a Leveling Kit?
Now we finally come to the question of the hour, which is whether one can off-road with a leveling kit. This is a question asked by many truck and off-roading enthusiasts who are looking to install a leveling kit in their 4 x 4 truck.
The short and simple answer to this common question is: yes. You certainly can off-road with a leveling kit. Not only is it possible to take your truck off-roading with a leveling kit installed, a leveling kit actually enhances the off-roading capabilities of your 4 x 4 vehicle by quite a large margin.
As mentioned, by installing a leveling kit in your vehicle, you can increase the overall ground clearance, which in itself increases the vehicle's off-roading capabilities by creating more room between the body and the axles. Moreover, leveling kits allow for the installation of larger tires to your truck, which enhances the level of handling and increases your truck's performance on tricky terrains, including mud, dirt, rocks, and sand.
That's not all! By installing a leveling kit on your 4 x 4 truck, you manage to raise the front bumper another 2 or so inches above the front wheels. During off-roading, this will help protect your vehicle's front bumper from possible damaging collisions of rocks and debris against your front bumper.
Notably, regular off-roaders will know that there are times when a peer's vehicle breaks down and needs to be towed. Here, leveling kits come in extra handy as they allow you to add a winch to the front, from which you can pull a very heavy load without worrying about your truck sagging or becoming damaged.
Advantages of Leveling Kits
Now that we have covered what a leveling kit is, how it works, and whether you can off-road with a leveling kit, we can discuss some of the key advantages and disadvantages of a leveling kit.
The advantages of a leveling kit include:
Allows You to Fit Larger-than-Stock Wheels
If you appreciate the look, functionality, and enhanced handling that comes with larger-than-stock wheels, a leveling kit allows you to fit them without any problem.
Allows Truck Owners to Operate a Plow at the Front
If you occasionally run a plow on the front of your truck or even a towing mechanism, a leveling kit will allow you to operate this without causing any sagging or damage to any part of your truck.
Improves Overall Truck Handling
A leveling kit allows your truck to handle better when turning corners. You will see this improvement in handling capabilities most when turning corners when your vehicle is carrying a very heavy load. Leveling kits provide an overall enhanced driving experience.
Leveling Kits are Easy to Install and Remove
Unlike most equipment for a 4 x 4 truck, a leveling kit is very easy to install and remove when necessary. While we certainly recommend outsourcing the task of installation and removal to an experienced professional, if you have some mechanical experience under your belt, you can even install and remove a leveling kit as a DIY project.
Reduces Braking Pressure During Emergency Braking
A truck with a higher rear end tends to cause problems with increased braking pressure, especially during emergency braking. A leveling kit helps to achieve more overall balance, thereby reducing the pressure on the brakes and the front suspension.
Disadvantages of Leveling Kits
Notably, leveling kits do not only come with a list of advantages for your 4 x 4 truck. Some of the most important disadvantages of a leveling truck to consider include:
Installing Leveling Kits Can Make Your Warranty Void
Most truck manufacturers dub the installation of a leveling kit an unauthorized modification to the vehicle. This can also lead other truck components to wear out faster. Therefore, installing a leveling kit could make your warranty void, so you should ideally check with your manufacturer before installing any such modifications.
Leveling Kits Can Wear Out Your Suspension Faster
Leveling kits tend to put more load on your truck's suspension, resulting in a faster-wearing suspension system than usual.
Leveling Kits Reduce Fuel Economy
A leveling kit changes your truck's profile by raising the front nose of the vehicle. This results in your truck experiencing more drag or wind resistance, thereby reducing the fuel economy of your vehicle. If your truck is a natural gas guzzler, this can prove very costly in the long run.
About THE AUTHOR
Corey has been off-roading all his life, starting from a very young age on ATV's and dirt bikes. As he's grown older, his interests have focused more on larger off-roading vehicles like Jeeps and Toyotas. He lives for the slow and calculated crawl up (or down) steep terrain.Read More About Corey Brooks