Lifted trucks are no doubt one of the coolest vehicles around and also one of the most popular mods done to 4WDs. Once your truck is lifted your big wheel upgrade sizes are immediately opened up to so much more options. The only problem is, that you have a truck that’s still under warranty and would like to know if fitting a leveling kit or a lift kit will void your warranty.
The short answer…
No, fitting a leveling kit will not void the factory warranty unless something breaks as a result of the upgrade kit. Yes, fitting a complete lift kit will void your warranty, but only for suspension components of the aftermarket lift kit, or if the kit is not approved by the manufacturer.
As you can see the short answer is, that it depends, and the long answer is, twofold and really depends on which option you go with. In many cases, it pretty much comes down to the dealership and what they deem as acceptable.
The next part of this article will sketch a few scenarios to help you better understand what your limitations are and what manufacturers are prepared to accept when it comes to fiddling with aftermarket suspension upgrades while the truck is still under warranty.
Does a Lift/Leveling Kit Void GM Warranty (CHEV SILVERADO & SIERRA)
With so many aftermarket kits available, people have so many options and can upgrade their trucks in a variety of ways. In many cases, the upgrades are outside the manufactures specification and engineering design which can cause complications when it comes to warranty claims.
Let’s look at claims from a dealership/manufacturer perspective first.
Scenario #1 Dealership Voiding a Claim
What can cause a dealership to deny a warranty claim?
Well, as mentioned above, a simple 2” leveling kit will not and should not void any warranty claims, unless said kit has caused additional strain on other OEM components causing it to fail. This could be caused by a variety of reasons. The onus will then be on the dealership to prove that fact beyond any reasonable doubt.
Always must make sure you understand your truck’s warranty and limitations since manufacturers can insert these types of caveats on their warranty, which is perfectly acceptable and reasonable.
If, however, you installed the kit yourself or had an aftermarket place do it, the fact remains you are accepting that anything going wrong with related components as a result of the modification would be on you.
Scenario #2 – Component Failure Caused by Modification
If your truck is an IFS (Independent Front Suspension) it is not recommended to exceed a 2.5” leveling kit.
Once you exceed 2.5” in the front you are drastically altering the geometry of the suspension. Components such as ball joints, upper control arms, and CV angles are all compromised. Anything higher than 2.5” and your ride comfort is compromised since the down travel of your dampers is limited resulting in a very harsh ride. This of course can be rectified with an adjustable Upper Control Arm to rectify the angles.
So for example, a 2” Rough Country leveling kit doesn’t alter the factory suspension so much that the downward travel is compromised. The droop and jounce stop still operates within the factory spec thus not compromising the range of motion. So, since the factory range of motion is not different, the suspension simply sits 2” higher at the wheel at rest.
What about a 6” lift kit?
With such an aggressive kit, you can expect suspension components to wear out. Also, the responsibility is on the company installing the lift kit to warn you well ahead of time about that fact.
Scenario #3 – Dealership Approval
On the surface, the level kit will not void the warranty, but it’s important to remember that the level kit could potentially add strain to the existing components of the vehicle.
Also, a leveling kit can’t void an unrelated component like a wiper motor or locking mechanism, etc. This still comes down to different dealers, some are very lenient and others go by the book.
If you don’t come right at your dealership, the dealership in the next town might just approve the claim.
WATCH – DOES LIFTING A TRUCK VOID THE WARRANTY
Differences between a lift kit & leveling kit
It’s quite simple, a leveling kit is an engineered bracket, usually 2” or 2.5” high, which is usually placed above your strut to raise the front of the vehicle thus making it level with the rear. It offers very little advantage apart from looks and is an affordable option if you want to increase your wheel size.
A lift kit is a complete suspension upgrade that consists of springs, dampers, rear leaf packs, and all related components. This can be anything from 2”, 4”, and 6” upwards. This option is expensive, however, it offers many advantages such as improved clearance, GVM upgrades, load-carrying improvement, off-road capability, and more.
CHEV & GM User Experience/Feedback
Let’s look at a few real-world experiences and owners’ feedback from dealerships.
User Experience/Feedback #1
My dealership told me that anything the mod touches is subject to a warranty claim being denied on that part. I wouldn’t expect warranty coverage on the front shocks if they fail….nor would i ask them to cover it
User Experience/Feedback #2
Many dealer, mine included, offer lift kits before or after the sale of a truck. While GM could deny a claim, the actual installing dealer is taking it upon themselves to honor any claim since they put the parts in.
User Experience/Feedback #3
My dealer has no issue with leveled trucks, and even sells trucks with 4-6inch lift kits installed on new trucks on their lot.
User Experience/Feedback #4
My local dealer usually has at least one Colorado on the lot leveled, and I know of a couple guys who had the dealer level them when bought new….
There has been a variety of modifications and tweaks that GM has implemented on their Silverado and Sierra models. According to GM, the Colorado after-market and GM performance systems will void the warranty.
The good news to take from this is with the Colorado and Canyon re-designs, you can be sure they will develop a lift system for the twins that don’t void the warranty.