On the surface, a lift kit might seem like a no-brainer. After all, every lift kit serves the same purpose: it lifts your vehicle from the ground to provide more ground clearance or provide room for larger tires. Not all lift kits are created equal, though. In this post, we'll cover the three main types of lift kits and explain the benefits of each type.
To understand how a leveling kit works, you must understand something called "rake." When a truck comes from the factory, the rear of the truck sits higher than the front. The angle is known as a "rake," and it's designed to become level when the truck's bed is fully loaded. A leveling kit simply lifts the front of the truck until the front and rear of the truck are completely level. That means that a leveling kit is typically installed on the front wheels only.
The benefits of a leveling kit are simple: you get a higher overall suspension without making significant alterations to your vehicle. Of course, a leveling kit won't provide the kind of heavy-duty off-roading capabilities of other kits. Still, a leveling kit will also be more cost-effective than a more elaborate option.
Typically, increasing the height of a car or truck means installing struts (or strut spacers) to raise the suspension from the ground. In a coil-over lift kit, however, the vehicle is lifted by a shock with a spring around it. That allows for greater adjustability in the truck's height, as well as other performance factors. For example, you can adjust the dampening to either soften or stiffen the coil-overs, which will allow you to customize your suspension for either on-road or off-road use.
These extra features can make coil-overs a bit pricey, however. Some vehicle owners opt for simple struts to avoid the price associated with this lift kit; though, others find the customizable options worth the initial investment.
Dropdown lift kits are ideal for vehicle owners looking for more than a few inches of clearance. With a dropdown lift kit, a bracket, and other hardware are installed to lift your truck higher off the ground; you'll get six additional inches of lift. This extra lift can usually allow a half-ton pickup truck to clear 35-inch tires, making it the best option for those looking for the highest-profile available.
The downside of a dropdown is the price. Dropdown kits will be more expensive than leveling or coil-over kits, but if you're looking to give your truck maximum lift or to accommodate larger tires, there is no other option available.
The amount of lift you need will determine which lift kit you choose to install. There's no better option than a dropdown lift kit when you need maximum height or need to install larger tires. For customizable features to allow for on or off-road use, though, coil-overs provide an affordable alternative, and a leveling kit can provide a cost-effective solution, though without offering a boost in performance.