The Differences Between Leveling Kits and Lift Kits

May 2024

Whether you’re interested in leveling your truck for a balanced look or lift it for off-road adventures, understanding the differences between these suspension upgrades is important. In this guide, we will break down the differences between leveling kits and standard lift kits, helping you make an informed decision about which upgrade best suits you and your vehicle.

In summary, leveling kits are perfect for minor adjustments and aesthetic improvements. Lift kits can offer extensive enhancements in ground clearance, aesthetics and off-road capabilities. Whichever you choose, investing in quality products and professional installation will ensure you get the most out of your suspension upgrade.

Something to be mindful of, is that there are a lot of options out there for leveling kits and lift kits. Quality varies. This guide is written to compare the average leveling kit and average lift kit. Not any brands specifically.

MC Customs Truck Accessories specializes in lift kits, leveling kits and installation of the two. We offer great brands to choose from at different budget levels. Please contact us with any questions you have regarding suspension upgrades for your vehicle.

What is a Leveling Kit?

A leveling kit is designed to address the factory rake of trucks, Jeeps, and SUVs. Most vehicles come with a higher rear end to accommodate heavy loads. A leveling kit raises the front of the vehicle to match the rear, providing a balanced, level stance.


Types of Leveling Kits

There are two primary types of leveling kits:

  1. Spacer, Puck, Strut Extension Kits, and Torsion Key
  2. Front Strut Assembly Leveling Kits
Leveling kit installation

Spacer, Puck and Strut Extension Kits

  • Spacer Kits: These are simple, cost-effective solutions that add a spacer between the vehicle’s strut and the chassis, raising the front end. They are often made of metal or high-density polyurethane.
  • Puck Kits: Similar to spacer kits, puck kits use small, cylindrical blocks placed on top of the vehicle’s strut to achieve the desired lift.
  • Strut Extension Kits: These kits include a strut extension that mounts on top of the existing strut assembly, effectively increasing the front suspension height.


  • Affordable and easy to install
  • No need for additional modifications


  • Limited to lifting the front end
  • May not provide sufficient lift for larger tire upgrades

Torsion Key Style

These kits are designed for vehicles with torsion bar front suspensions. They replace the factory torsion keys with aftermarket versions that allow for increased adjustability and lift.


  • Adjustable lift height
  • Relatively straightforward installation


  • Can cause increased wear on suspension components

Front Strut Assembly Leveling Kits

Front strut assembly leveling kits replace the entire front strut with a taller, aftermarket version. These kits often include new struts, springs, and necessary mounting hardware.


  • Provides a more comprehensive suspension upgrade
  • Often includes improved struts for better handling and performance
  • Suitable for moderate off-road use


  • More expensive than spacer kits
  • More complex installation process

What is a Standard Lift Kit?

A standard lift kit is designed to raise both the front and rear of the vehicle, providing a significant increase in ground clearance. Lift kits can range from mild (2-3 inches) to extreme (6 inches or more), depending on the desired outcome and vehicle capabilities.

There are several types of lift kits ranging from: Standard Lift Kits, Suspension Lifts, Air Suspension, and Adjustable Suspension Systems. Among other suspension upgrades. 

Truck Lift Kit

Components of a Standard Lift Kit:

  • Lifted Springs or Coilovers: These replace the factory springs or coilovers with taller versions, providing the primary lift.
  • Longer Shocks: Necessary to accommodate the increased height and ensure proper suspension travel.
  • Control Arms and Extended Brake Lines: Often required to maintain proper suspension geometry and brake function.


  • Substantially increases ground clearance
  • Allows for larger tire upgrades
  • Improved off-road capabilities


  • More expensive and complex installation
  • Can affect vehicle handling and fuel economy
  • Requires more maintenance and potential component upgrades

Comparing Leveling Kits vs. Lift Kits

Leveling Kits

Purpose: Ideal for balancing the vehicle’s stance, accommodating slightly larger tires, and improving aesthetics without major modifications.

Cost: Generally more affordable, with a straightforward installation process.

Installation: Can often be installed in a few hours with basic tools, sometimes even DIY-friendly. Alignment required.

Impact on Ride Quality: Minimal impact (depending on quality of parts), maintains factory ride characteristics.

2023 Ford Bronco Leveling Kit

Lift Kits

Purpose: Best for off-road enthusiasts and those seeking significant ground clearance and the ability to install oversized tires.

Cost: Higher cost due to the comprehensive nature of the upgrade and more complex installation requirements.

Installation: Typically requires professional installation to ensure proper fitment and required alignment.

Impact on Ride Quality: Can both negatively and positively impact ride quality and handling. Proper installation and quality of components are important.

Lift Kit
Choosing Quality Products and Professional Installers

When it comes to upgrading your vehicle’s suspension, choosing high-quality products and professional installation is crucial. Here’s why:

  1. Safety: Quality suspension components ensure your vehicle remains safe to drive, especially when navigating rough terrains or carrying heavy loads. Having your suspension upgrades installed by professionals significantly decreases the chance of improper install and problems because of it. 
  2. Performance: Top-tier products enhance your vehicle’s performance, offering better handling, stability, and ride comfort.
  3. Longevity: Premium parts are built to last, reducing the likelihood of premature wear and costly repairs.

At MC Customs Truck Accessories, we only use suspension kits from reputable brands known for their durability and performance. Our team is dedicated to providing precise, professional installations, ensuring your upgrade delivers the best possible results.

Visit our shop or contact us today to learn more about our suspension products and services!