What Is The Best Lift Kit For A GMC Sierra 1500?
The GMC Sierra is a well-rounded and capable full-size pickup. It comes with many available engine options, a robust transfer case, and good offroad performance. But, once in a while, you might feel that it doesn’t live up to par.
Perhaps the ground clearance isn’t enough, or the ride could improve. That’s where lift kits come in. This article will explain what some of the best lift kits for the GMC Sierra are.
What Is The Best Lift Kit For A GMC Sierra 1500?
There are three types of lift kits that work best for the GMC Sierra: suspension, leveling, and body. Determining what you’re looking for will help you decide which of the three, or which combination of the three, is the right choice for you.
Some of these provide subtle upgrades, while others allow for more extreme modifications. There are so many brands out there, and with multiple options, it’s essential to understand what exactly you’re looking for in a lift kit.
As their name suggests, lift kits raise the clearance between the lowest point of the vehicle and the ground. But, they do so with different objectives. Some, as we’ll see later, improve on factory specifications. Others solely intend to provide more space for bigger tires.
So, this article explains what each kit does and gives some of the better brands out there. Let’s start with the functionality behind each kit.
What Do Lift Kits Do?
A lift kit is designed to increase the clearance between the vehicle and the ground. There are three general types:
- Leveling lift kits
- Suspension Lift kits
- Body lift kits
In this section, we’ll explain each. First, let’s talk about the leveling kits and why they’re important for the GMC Sierra.
You might not have known this, let alone notice it. But, GMC Sierras can suffer from a sagging front end. Given the truck’s construction, the front carries considerably more weight than the back.
In this truck, the front carries at least 58% of the weight, and in some cases, this increases to 60%. Now, this might not seem like a lot, but over time it is. With this difference, the nose can begin to droop.
To fix this, many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have created leveling kits. Now, this kit comes with three benefits.
First of all, they are spacers. So, they’re easy to install and relatively cheap. Secondly, they raise the front end and level the ride. And, finally, they add just enough lift if you want to fit 33-inch tires. Some of these kits can also raise the truck a maximum of 2″.
Suspension Lift Kits
To lift a truck, you need to increase the length in which the suspension can stretch. This is called travel.
Increasing suspension travel allows for trucks to handle challenging terrain with more ease. Not only does the vehicle have more clearance, but the suspension helps the axles stay on the ground in steeper inclines (this is called articulation).
A suspension lift kit is a step above a leveling kit. Not only does it create space underneath the vehicle, but it also comes with better suspension. Usually, these springs are softer because you need them to travel longer.
So, you might feel a change in the handling on highway conditions, as the truck can become bouncy.
How much you increase the suspension depends on the kit. Starter kits usually add 1″ to 2″. More expensive kits can increase up to 3″ or even 4″. Installing these is relatively easy.
Body Lift Kits
Let’s imagine that 1″ or 2″ of lift isn’t enough for you. You want to fit the biggest tires possible, and the previous kits just don’t cut it.
Well, that’s where the body lift kit comes in. As its name states, this option lifts the body from the frame. So, the wheel well is wider. Now, it’s important to highlight that some of these kits do not increase the suspension travel.
But suppose you want to increase your ride’s height considerably. In that case, you need a combination of a suspension and body lift kit. This allows for up to 7″ but affects handling and compromises stability at high speeds.
Now that we’ve seen what each kit does let’s talk about the best options for the GMC Sierra are.
What Are The Best Leveling Kits For The GMC Sierra?
In this section, we’re going to cover some of the best kits in each category. Let’s keep in mind that these aren’t the only ones available.
Best Leveling Kits For The GMC Sierra
Like we said before, these kits are usually cheap and easy to find. The most basic kits cost around $60 to $70, but more advanced systems can reach up to $400.
Here are some examples:
MotoFab Front Levelling Kit (65$ approximately)
This kit lifts the GMC Sierra by a true 2.5″ (true refers to the total lift after the installation). It’s easy to install and should take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
Rough Country Levelling Lift Kit ($50 approx.)
This kit not only levels the Sierra but adds enough space for you to easily fit 32-inch tires.
SkyJacker Levelling Kit ($75 approx.)
With a full 2″ lift and leveling, this kit also provides a visual improvement. Easy to install.
Rancho Front Level IT System ($320 approx.)
This kit includes spacers and shocks. It’s slightly more complicated to install but still manageable. You can expect improvements in handling as well.
ReadyLift Front Levelling Kit with control arms ($900 approx.)
With 2″ of lift, plus upgraded control arms, this kit levels, lifts, and improves handling.
Best Lift Kits For the GMC Sierra
Lift kits are so varied, it’s hard to list all of them. For the sake of this article, we’re going to mention 3″ kits only. Basic lift kits can range from $500 to $900, while more expensive kits can cost up to $3000.
SuperLife Suspension Lift Kit ($700 approx.)
With the addition of Bilstein Shocks and 3″ of lift, this kit is a great economical alternative for those looking to modify their Sierra.
FabTech Lift Kit ($700 approx.)
3″ of lift, upgraded shocks, and excellent handling make this one of the best cheap kits out there.
AirLift Lift Kit ($305 approx)
This kit is an excellent addition for those looking to tow and haul heavy loads. Thanks to the airbags, it allows for a level ride when working hard, preventing sag.
Best Body Kits For The GMC Sierra
Body kits are usually more expensive because they require more labor. Just like the options before, there are so many out there, it’s hard to narrow them down. So, we’ll give just some of the better brands out there.
It’s also important to highlight that some of these kits fall under the lifting category as well. Some brands approach them by parts. A leveling kit uses some, then the lift adds, and finally the body.
Performance Accessories Body Kit ($700 approx.)
This kit includes all components to lift the body but doesn’t come with suspension upgrades.
ReadyLift 4″ Body Lift Kit ($1000 approx.)
Includes control arms, you can easily fit 33-inch tires, and the installation is easy.
Rough Country 7″ Body Lift Kit ($1500 approx.)
You read this right. This kit has a 7″ lift and includes nitrogen shocks for more stability. One of the more extreme on this list, but it’s still relatively easy to install.
As we said, there are just some of the kits out there. Be sure to check out forums and user reviews to find which one is the best for you.
Best Lift Kit For GMC Sierra 1500
This article aims to provide some of the best lift kits for the GMC Sierra. There are three general types: leveling, lift, and body.
Since the GMC Sierra has a cumbersome front end, sagging can occur. It happens so frequently that OEMs have created a multitude of leveling kits. These are easy to install and are usually the least expensive option.
Most of these add a slight 1″ or 2″ lift if any. In general, these aren’t designed to improve on looks, but rather, they improve functionality.
Then, there are the lift kits. These start at 2″ and can often include upgraded shocks and other components. These are also easy to install, and they might affect handling (improving it on certain conditions, like off-roading).
Body and lift kits are the most extreme. Some kits can lift as much as 7″ (or more). They’re harder to install, but in general, it’s not a complicated process. With such lifts, it’s important to note that the handling will change.
Plus, most of these kits allow for bigger tires underneath. In fact, with only a 2″ lift kit, you can easily fit 32-inch and 33-inch tires.
So, as you can see, upgrading your GMC Sierra is not only easy but cheap in some cases. Plus, it’s important to remember that the Sierra shares a platform with the Silverado, so there are plenty of kits out there.
You can find anything from fixing factory issues to more extreme modifications. So, it’s time to start wrenching away.