To Level or to Lift?
The Eternal Question for All Truck & Jeep Owners
If you are considering this difficult question yourself, let one of our finest reviewers break it all down for you so you can really decide what is best for your ride: lift kit or level kit? It may well depend on your aesthetic views, what activities you often do in your rig, and your pocket book.
Endless Struggle: Lift Vs. Level
The great debate on whether to lift my truck or level my truck is finally over! Well, ok, maybe not, but at least from here you can make the decision for yourself. Today we will be discussing the difference between leveling your truck with level kits made from aluminum and/or polyurethane spacers or lifting your truck with body kits and/or suspension kits.
The arguments between the two each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I'll explain my vote for what you should do and why. The end result is up to you! Mostly because I can't tell you what to do with your money, and also I don't own your vehicle. In other words, the final decision might have a lot to do with what vehicle you own and what you want to do with it.
So let's begin, shall we? First off let me level with you. No really, let's first talk level kits. Now if you've read our article on the science of level kits and function well this might be a refresher for you with some information. If not, then welcome new comer! Now, most level kits are a simple spacer that mounts between the strut and the mount. Think of it like wearing some platform shoes that give you a little extra ride height; however, that ride height is only affecting the front end of your vehicle. These spacers come in a few different sizes and materials, but most are a circular shape and usually made of aluminum, rubber, or a polyurethane material.
There are also torsion keys or doing a full strut swap up front to help level your ride. Now I won't really cover torsion keys in this article, maybe that is for another read in the near future! Like I said before, another option is a full strut swap like the Rancho Quicklift level kit. Taking this route essentially upgrades your suspension up front and replaces your stock struts while leveling your front end to the ride height you need! (Pics provided by Rancho and ICI.)
Consider Budget & Suspension Needs
If you're looking for advice on which option would be best for you well it comes down to a few things: first off your budget, and second your suspension needs. If you have plenty to spend and you don't mind swapping out some front end parts, then doing a full suspension level kit might be the way to go.
If you have the need for some more clearance and performance up front then this might be your best option as well. Now for most guys out there looking to level their truck, I suggest going the spacer route. It is usually the easiest and cheapest route to level your vehicle. Now I don't mean cheap as in the quality, I mean cheap as in less stress on your wallet.
Like I mentioned, these spacer kits can either be aluminum or rubber like material. The aluminum may seem like a smart choice right now, but down the road you may not like the metal on metal contact point from where these guys sit. That may also mean a noisy ride in the future as well.
The polyurethane spacer has been our suggestion for some time now mostly because it ensures a comfortable ride, has no metal to metal contact points, and is very cost effective.
Hopefully some of the information from up above will help you decide on what level option best fits your needs. Overall the things you'll want to consider are cost and function. The level kit world is full of many different options and brands. If you have some specific questions or are unsure what is right for you, reach out to us and hopefully we can narrow your choices down for you and get you setup with the right product for your vehicle, your need, and your desired activities.
Going rock climbing in the Jeep? Might want that full leveling kit. Just want to raise up your pickup bed a little bit? Spacers might get that done for less.
The Decision to Lift: Highly Suggested
So let's say you aren't needing a level kit because you want to lift your vehicle entirely. Well, thank you for staying with us this long because now the lift kit discussion begins.
The lift kit world is another large group with many different options and ride heights. Basically anything you can think of from a 2 inch body lift all the way to a 12 inch suspension lift that replaces your control arms and ball joints among other options falls into the category of "lift kit."
First off, I'll cover the less expensive option--the body lift kit. These usually consist of spacer or block kits that increase the ride height on the frame of the vehicle without having to alter any suspension geometry. The body lifts are pretty straightforward, and most folks looking to install them are seeking to add ride height and usually add larger sized tires. Keep in mind though that the ground clearance with a body lift does not change. So don't go expecting to save a bunch of money with a body lift and then assume you can off road or rock crawl now.
Body lifts are good options when looking to add larger tires if you can't fit the size you need already. Personally I wouldn't recommend them, for every vehicle, especially for the DIY person. Some of these body lifts can be extremely difficult to install and can cause you more trouble in the future. This is why for most circumstances, we like to suggest a suspension lift kit.
Cutting to the Chase: The Lift Kit Install
Now I'll save you the suspense, mostly because a suspension lift kit is pretty self explanatory. It's a lift kit that alters the full suspension and ride height of your vehicle. This is done by altering the ride's height and altering the geometry with regards to the struts, shocks, and in some cases the control arms and ball joints.
With that being said, not all suspension lift kits are created equal though, and some will have better benefits than others. If you want best performance and ride clearance, suspension lifts are the way to go. The majority of the suspension lifts give you the base options that consist of front struts and rear shocks that will help alter the ride and performance of your vehicle.
Now as your increase in price range, more options and extras will be included with the lift kits. In many regards, we like to suggest buy nice or buy twice, especially when this could make or break your ride's performance in the long run.
With this all in mind, consider what activities you often use your vehicle for. If your truck is mostly for hauling or driving on street/pavement, then you might be able to scrimp a bit on cost and quality, not that we'd recommend such a thing. We tend to go with the best quality product for the price--what's going to last and be effective. This is especially true if you are off-roading.
For instance, consider these Jeep pics from Rancho. You are going to want the top quality suspension lift kit if you are attempting anything like this in your rig.
Still Have Questions: Hit Us Up!
Hopefully this article wasn't too long winded for you. Hopefully it helped narrow down some ideas of how you would like to upgrade your vehicle's suspension. Not everyone needs a lift kit, so maybe a level kit is just what you need to raise that front end and keep your stock suspension.
Maybe you like to do some off-roading and need that extra ground clearance and would like to have that performance grade suspension. Whatever the case may be, we have a wide variety of brands that you can browse through to find one that interests you. If browsing is not your thing, then feel free to give us a call, and one of our experienced sales members can level with you and get you the right part for your rig.
We carry a number of leveling kits and top of the line suspension lift kits. We have featured Rancho pretty exclusively in this article because we feel they manufacture some top of the line products in regards to quality but also because their pics are pretty damn sweet!
But we carry other manufacturers also and a number of suspension parts that are both replacements/upgrades for OEM as well as aftermarket add on's to make your ride look sweet and perform great in all terrain activities.
We understand that just like so many aspects of automobiles, be it exhaust systems, coolant and intake additions, or even shocks/struts and suspension kits, your vehicle is both a complex machine and unique. If you ever are uncertain if you are shopping or considering the right product for your vehicle, just hit us up. You can contact us via phone, by the live chat on the website, or even via email. We, here at Midwest Aftermarket, want to get you the right parts at the lowest possible price to make your vehicle the vehicle of your dreams. Hit us up anytime.
Upgrade your Suspension Today
Whether Lifting or Leveling, upgrading Shocks or Struts, let us show you the Way!
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