Best Leveling Kits for the Toyota Tacoma

Updated on Jun 11, 2024

So, we hear you’re looking to increase tire clearance without drastically changing ride height—that you want to boost aesthetics without sacrificing towing and hauling performance. What are your options? 

These qualifiers make your Tacoma the perfect candidate for a leveling kit: a simple, bolt-on suspension system that increases front ride height, alleviating your truck of its factory rake for a rugged, balanced stance. 

Leveling kits are a popular choice in the modified suspension world. In this guide, we share some of our favorite leveling systems on the market. Stay tuned to learn about the best leveling kits for the Toyota Tacoma, from budget-minded strut spacers to performance-oriented strut replacements.

Leveling Kit Benefits

So, what are the benefits of a leveling kit? Over, say, a conventional suspension lift or body lift, for example?

Improved Stance

The first and arguably most cited benefit of installing a leveling kit is improving your Tacoma’s stance. From the factory, most pickup trucks, your Tacoma included, feature a raked ride height—meaning the front end sits noticeably lower than the rear. While this stance has some functionality, since it increases rear suspension up-travel while loaded, it also offers a characteristically unattractive appearance. 

Leveling kits address these ride height qualms, raising the front end by 1-3 inches for a balanced, uniform stance. The taller front ride height also promotes tire clearance, allowing you to run larger, more aggressive tires without rubbing or scrubbing.

Improved Off-Road Performance

Leveling kits don’t just improve your Tacoma’s looks but also its off-road performance. The taller front ride height provides clearance for oversized, aggressive tires, improving traction through challenging obstacles. Leveling kits also improve ground clearance, preventing rubbing and high-centering over obstacles. 

If you opt for a performance-oriented leveling system, like an adjustable strut setup, improved shock damping and tuned spring rates may also improve overall articulation and on/off-road comfort.

Benefits of a Lift, without Downsides

Lastly, leveling kits offer most of the benefits of a prototypical suspension lift without the downsides. Suspension lifts provide lift at all four corners, and more of it, than a leveling kit. While a 3-in. and up suspension lift may look aggressive, it also makes climbing into your Tacoma more challenging, raises its center of gravity for poor on-road handling characteristics, and may reduce towing and hauling performance. 

Alternatively, leveling kits provide minimal front lift and zero rear lift to keep your Tacoma’s ride height reasonable. Leveling kits also maintain your Tacoma’s factory rear suspension components and, thus, its towing and payload capacities.

Leveling Kit Types

With some benefits covered, let’s jump into leveling kit styles. Along the way, we’ll touch on our favorite leveling products in each style, offering the best build quality and performance. 

Strut Spacer

Strut spacers are affordable, reliable, and easy to install. These products consist of fabricated steel, milled aluminum, molded composite, or polyurethane spacers installed between your Tacoma’s factory front struts and strut mounts, thus increasing ride height by the thickness of the spacer. 

Strut spacers do offer a couple of downsides, however. First, they rarely increase suspension travel, considering the shock body and coil spring remain the same length. Depending on the material, they may also slightly reduce ride quality. Regardless, strut spacers are an excellent option for the budget-minded Taco owner, but don’t expect mind-blowing performance gains.

Expert’s Choice: Superlift Leveling Kits

Superlift is a household name in the aftermarket suspension industry, renowned for its high-quality, American-made suspension systems. The company’s leveling kits are no exception, featuring robust alloy constructions, simple bolt-on installations, and industry-leading limited lifetime warranties. 

Features: 

  • Lifts the front of your truck for a level appearance

  • Lightweight, corrosion-resistant aluminum construction

  • Allows clearance for oversized wheels and tires

  • Fast and simple installation

  • All mounting hardware included

  • USA-made

  • Limited lifetime warranty

Replacement Leveling Strut

Next, we have bare replacement struts—not including springs or top mounts. These products require you to reuse your Tacoma’s factory coil springs and top mounts and install them onto the new, longer struts to increase front ride height. 

Leveling struts offer relatively simple installations. However, caution and experience are required, as disassembling coilover struts can be dangerous due to the immense pressure coil springs remain under. 

Aside from mild installation difficulty, replacement struts offer several benefits over standard strut spacers. For instance, most lift struts alter damping for improved on and off-road performance. Several lift struts also feature adjustable coil spring perches, allowing you to adjust ride height during installation.

Expert’s Choice: Bilstein B8 5100 Adjustable Lift Struts

Boost performance and ride height with Bilstein B8 5100 Adjustable Lift Struts, offering exceptional ride quality and between 0 and 2.75 inches of lift. 

Bilstein B8 5100 Adjustable Lift Struts utilize performance-oriented digressive valving, improving ride quality on the trail or pavement. Their zinc-plated steel bodies offer exceptional durability and corrosion resistance. Adjustable spring perches allow you to adjust ride height during installation, which is an easy, bolt-on process. 

Features: 

  • Performance-oriented digressive valving

  • Ride height adjustable (0–2.75-in. lift)

  • 46-mm gas-charged monotube design

  • Offers fade-free performance on or off-road

  • Durable zinc-plated steel bodies

  • Direct-fit installation

  • Sold individually

  • Limited lifetime warranty

Leveling Strut Assembly

Similar to a replacement leveling strut is a leveling strut assembly. Complete strut assemblies offer a direct bolt-on installation. They come pre-assembled with dampers, coils, and mounts, requiring no disassembly of your Tacoma’s factory struts—just unbolt the old assemblies and bolt these in their place. 

One of the most notable benefits of a complete strut assembly is balanced valving between the damper and coil, ensuring maximum ride quality on and off-road. However, price is usually a downside. Complete strut assemblies are roughly four times more expensive than traditional leveling spacers or double the cost of bare lift struts.

Expert’s Choice: Rough Country M1 Adjustable Monotube Leveling Struts

Rough Country M1 Adjustable Monotube Leveling Struts are a premium leveling solution, offering ride height adjustability, digressive valving matched to pre-installed coil springs, and simple bolt-on installation. 

Whether ripping down a fire road or cruising down the freeway, Rough Country M1 Adjustable Monotube Leveling Struts make for a smooth, controlled, and comfortable ride.  

Features: 

  • Adjustable for up to 2 inches of leveling

  • 46-mm pistons

  • 18-mm rods

  • Digressive valving for stiffer low-speed shock absorption—ideal for off-roading

  • Monotube shock design efficiently dissipates heat, reducing fade

  • Appropriate for highway and trail use

  • Sold in pairs

  • Limited 3-year warranty

Tacoma Leveling Kit FAQs

Q: How difficult is installing a leveling kit? 

A: Leveling kits offer simple, bolt-on installations. Still, some basic mechanical knowledge and access to hand tools, jacks, and jack stands are required. 

Q: Which leveling kit type is best for off-road use? 

A: Replacement leveling struts, whether loaded or bare, are best for off-road use. Due to longer shock bodies, they offer improved damping and travel and are vastly superior on the trail. 

Q: Do leveling kits impact towing performance? 

A: Typically, no. Since leveling kits retain your Tacoma’s factory rear suspension components, towing performance should remain similar. However, you may notice excessive rear suspension sag. We recommend upgrading the rear suspension with towing airbags or load-leveling springs if this is the case.

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