One of the most popular aftermarket upgrades to vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and Dodge RAM are levelling and lift kits. These additions not only give your rig rugged good looks, but they also help improve performance and handling.
You can find both levelling and lift kits from reliable auto parts suppliers in NZ. What’s even better is that if you only need a specific part, you can order that part only instead of the entire kit to save on costs. However, do you know the difference between the two kits? How do you know which kind of kit or components to get? Below are some things to remember.
What is a Levelling Kit?
A levelling kit “corrects” your vehicle’s stock nose-down stance. Also called factory rake, this position is designed to accommodate rear sag. This way, when you load your Jeep or truck with heavy cargo, the nose won’t tilt up. It’s a practical design choice, but not an aesthetically pleasing one for some owners. If you don’t like the nose-down look of your vehicle, you can get a levelling kit to bring front and rear to the same height.
Levelling kits give about 2 to 3 inches of front lift. As such, they will also give you room to install tyres that are one step up larger than stock. Depending on your vehicle’s front suspension, you can either get an add-a-leaf, a coil spacer, a strut spacer, or lifted spring levelling kit. Add-a-leaf kits are for vehicles with leaf spring suspensions, coil spacer kits are for coil-sprung vehicles, while spring spacers are for coil-over-strut suspensions. Lifted springs are for vehicles with either leaf or coil spring suspensions. These lift kits will replace the old springs with leafs with a higher arch or larger coil springs.
What is a Lift Kit?
As opposed to a levelling kit that lifts only the front, a lift kit can lift both the front and rear of your vehicle. If you like the nose-down stance, you should get a kit with the same amount of lift for the front and rear. If you want to correct the factory rake, get a kit with more rear lift than the front. Another key difference between levelling and lift kits is that lift kits add more ground clearance than levelling kits. It’s not unusual to find lift kits that are 6, 7, or even 8 inches. This added height is crucial in improving off-road performance. It also protects the vehicle’s undercarriage from scrapes and bumps. The added from a lift kit also allows you to install not just larger tyres, but also bigger wheels.
Lift kits could either use add-a-leafs, lift blocks, or lifted springs to provide the extra height. To make sure that everything is properly aligned once your vehicle is lifted, lift kits come with additional parts. These include new brake lines, drop brackets, and bigger shocks.
Two Kinds of Lift Kits
If you chose a lift kit for your vehicle, you need to decide if you want a body lift or a suspension lift. A body lift kit will add extra height without increasing ground clearance. This means that you can install larger wheels and tyres without altering the steering geometry, which in turn retains your vehicle’s original handling feel. Body lift kits are more affordable and easier to install than suspension lift kits. However, do note that the added height might affect the stability of your vehicle. While not outright dangerous, it might take a bit of time to get used to. It might help if you drive shorter distances first to get a proper feel of the changes.
Suspension lifts, on the other hand, increase ground clearance and give your suspension more articulation. This means that your wheels will have more room to travel up and down, a crucial factor in off-roading. Similar to body lift kits, you might also notice a difference in your vehicle’s stability when you install a suspension lift kit. This is due to the higher centre of gravity.
Note that suspension lift kits come with more parts, including new shocks and struts, control arms, and even new driveshafts. Thus, they are more expensive and more difficult to install. However, if you’re an off-roading enthusiast, the investment is well worth the price tag.
Levelling kits and lift kits are some of the best ways to give your vehicle a new look and improve its performance. Get in touch with your trusted auto mechanic and auto parts shop now for options on upgrading your vehicle.