When a lift kit is way more lift than what you need, or are even looking for, leveling kits will give you a great-looking truck without the many problems that plague lifted trucks. But, since buying a lift kit and getting it installed in your truck can run you a few thousand dollars in the hole, does a leveling kit cost as much?
Leveling a truck is a very cost-effective modification. A basic two-inch leveling kit costs on average between $60 and $100, with more advanced two-inch leveling kits costing between $125 and $1,000. Installation fees for a two-inch leveling kit are on average around $300.
Adding a professionally done leveling kit for around $500 is a great deal when compared to the $3,000 or so that lift kits can cost. However, there is a little more to leveling your truck than just buying the leveling kit and having it installed. Let’s take a look at some of the intricacies of installing a leveling kit, as well as some of the questions myself and many others have asked when considering leveling their trucks.
What is the Total Cost for a 2-inch leveling kit installation?
Barring any complications or discovering parts that need to be changed when going to add a leveling kit, the main costs involved with leveling a truck are:
- The leveling kit
- The installation costs
- Getting an alignment afterward
All things considered, that’s not a whole lot to take into account.
The best part about leveling kits is that you can totally level your truck by yourself if you have the tools. Leveling your truck by yourself can save you anywhere from $200 to $400 dollars in installation fees if you have the right tools for the job. If you don’t have the tools you need, it could potentially end up being more expensive to do it yourself. Fortunately, installing a leveling kit does not require many, if any, special tools.
With how easy it is to install a leveling kit, we are going to compare the differences in cost and time between having a professional install your kit for you and leveling the truck yourself.
With Professional Installation
Should you not have the tools, time, or desire to level your truck by yourself, many places can level your truck for you.
However, not all shops will take third party leveling kits and install them for you!
Some shops may require that you buy a leveling kit from them to install on your truck, so keep that in mind when looking to get your truck leveled by a professional. Sometimes the leveling kits they offer are considerably marked up from what you can get online, so it will likely end up cheaper to go with a custom shop that will just charge you to install the kit you bought online.
A solid leveling kit will run you about $100 to $125 on average.
Professional installation of the leveling kit will be somewhere around $300. Custom shops may charge more or less depending on the complexity of the leveling kit, as spacers and coil overs are much easier to install than springs are. Some shops will include the alignment in the cost of the installation, as you will need an alignment after you install a leveling kit.
The total cost of having your leveling kit installed by a professional will be anywhere from $400 to $600 and above, depending on the shop that installs the kit and which kit you buy.
Installed by Yourself
Installing a leveling kit by yourself is not very difficult, especially if you choose to go with spacers.
However, the kinds of tools you need and the procedure to do it differs with every truck. For example, on a Dodge 1500 2WD, you need a spring compressor, whereas with a Toyota Tacoma you don’t.
Each leveling kit will come with instructions on how to install it by yourself, and what you will need.
When thinking about installing the leveling kit by yourself as a means to save on money, make sure you have the tools you need first. If you don’t have the tools you need for your truck, it may end up costing you the same or more to buy the tools you need than having a professional do it.
The tools you do need are going to generally be some simple tools such as jacks, a torque wrench or two, potentially a spring compressor, penetrating oil, and maybe more, depending on the vehicle.
In the video below by YouTube channel POWERNATION, they go over how to install a 2 inch lift kit on a Toyota Tacoma:
Again, I would like to reiterate, that each truck is different; as each truck is built differently. Look into what it takes to install a leveling kit in the truck that you own, and you will get the information you need on how to install a leveling kit in your truck by yourself.
Do 2-inch Leveling Kits Require New Shocks?
Generally, installing a leveling kit does not require you to replace the shocks in your truck.
A two-inch level is more than likely not enough lift to mandate getting new shocks. Not only should the stock shocks be long enough, but many of the leveling kits, especially the higher-end ones, have shock relocation mounts built-in so you can use your stock shocks.
However, if your shocks have been through a lot, it could very well be time to replace them anyway. Shocks should generally be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, but especially for people like us who really use our trucks off-road, if your shocks are giving you a bumpy ride, replacing your shocks could be warranted.
And, let’s just be real here, you’re already down there, why not just install a decent set of Bilsteins (affiliate link?) while you’re at it? Pretty much any set of Bilstein shocks you get will be of a way higher quality and last significantly longer than almost any OEM set of shocks.
How Much Will a 2-inch Leveling Kit Raise My Truck?
While a leveling kit will not raise your truck near as much as a lift kit will, it will still be a slight lift.
The leveling of the truck brings the cab of the truck up, as the whole point of a level is to bring the cab up to be level with the back of the truck. Because the cab is raised, the top of the truck gets a slight lift.
This lift can be anywhere from 1 to 2.5 inches, depending on how much sag in the front there is from the factory.
Unless your truck already barely cleared your garage, this slight gain in height should not make much of a difference when it comes to fitting in the garage.
An important thing to note is that as a result of lifting the cab a couple of inches, you will want to make sure you adjust your headlights accordingly, so no oncoming drivers are blinded by your headlights.
Will a 2-inch Leveling Kit Affect Gas Mileage?
The gas mileage of a car or truck depends on a few factors:
- The fuel efficiency of the engine
- The weight of the vehicle
- How aerodynamic the vehicle is
When adding a leveling kit to a truck, you bring the front of the truck up, which changes the aerodynamics of the truck. Because the front of the truck is faced more head-on towards the air, and more air is allowed underneath the truck, it increases drag and the amount of work the truck has to do to accelerate and move, which lowers your gas mileage. The harder it is for an engine to get a vehicle to accelerate or maintain speed, the more fuel it will use.
While leveling your truck won’t reduce your gas mileage as much as significantly lifting it or towing a heavy trailer will, it will be noticeable over time.
This reduction of gas mileage could also be counted as a sort of cost of leveling your truck, and it will vary based on the truck, but you can expect a drop in fuel efficiency of around one to two miles per gallon, maybe more.
Is Installing a Leveling Kit Permanent?
One of the key differences between a leveling kit and a suspension lift kit, other than the drastically different size of the truck after, is how permanent the modification is.
Lift kits in trucks are permanent, as they require altering many different parts of the truck, such as the driveshafts, brake lines, and more.
Leveling kits, on the other hand, are a set of spacers or springs that can be easily added or removed. The change to your truck will be reversible, as leveling a truck does not require any altering of the truck body itself.
Even though leveling a truck may be a fairly simple and cost-effective modification, it can have quite an effect on the appearance of your truck. If you decide to level your truck out, we hope you enjoy the fresh look it will have.