How Much Does It Cost to Lift a Jeep? Benefits, Drawbacks & FAQ
Jeeps and lift kits were made for each other. A lift kit is a simple and often out-of-place aesthetic adjustment on any other vehicle, but on an off-road-ready Wrangler, it dials the ruggedness up to 11.
Lift kits are popular among Jeep owners trying to catch attention and gain an edge to go even further in their wilderness excursions. Lifting a Jeep starts at around $1,000, so it isn’t a cheap investment. Before deciding which kit to use on your Jeep, it’s crucial to understand your driving goals and the pros and cons of making the upgrade.
The Benefits of Lifting a Jeep
Inexpensive body lift kits are a great way to enhance the look of your Jeep, but many kits will also give you a notable performance boost. With the appropriate products and proper installation, a lift kit will enhance your Jeep’s off-road capabilities.
Lifts bump up the ground clearance by 1–6 inches and allow you to add larger tires. With a taller height and heavy-duty tires, your wheel articulation will improve, and the approach and departure angles will increase. You’ll have an easier time going over tall rocks and logs, up steep inclines, and through deep water.
The Drawbacks of Lifting a Jeep
The off-road benefits of a lifted Jeep come with considerable trade-offs in other situations. If you drive on paved streets and highways, the higher center of gravity will cause stability issues, particularly around turns, and increase drag. Braking becomes more challenging, and on-road handling and smoothness typically suffer.
Lifting can reduce performance, slow your Jeep’s acceleration, and lower the fuel economy. Larger wheels will also strain the engine and drivetrain, and you may face costly repairs down the line.
You can mitigate many of these downsides with better parts, additional modifications, and professional installation, but it all equals higher costs. That’s why it’s crucial to consider your driving needs before settling on a lift option. If you strictly want the look and have no real off-road need, a modest lift of 1–2 inches will keep costs and potential issues to a minimum.
How Much Does It Cost to Lift a Jeep?
It can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $10,000 to lift a Jeep. The cost will depend primarily on the type of lift kit you need, where you go for your installation, and any additional modifications you may need.
Most Wranglers can fit tires up to 32” in diameter, while anything wider will usually require a lift. There are various lift kit levels to accommodate a range of budgets and needs.
Body lift kits raise the Jeep’s body while keeping the original suspension and wheel configuration intact. As the least expensive options for raising your Jeep, these kits provide 1–3 inches of lift for aesthetics but don’t offer many practical benefits.
A body lift is sometimes called a spacer lift because it’s an upgrade to your car’s bushings. Standard Jeep bushings are rubber rings that cushion the vehicle’s body on its frame and are usually about an inch thick. A body lift kit replaces those factory pieces with thicker, higher-quality bushings that bump the body up a few inches.
Body lift kits are the most straightforward kits to install and contain the simplest components. All you need in a complete kit are the bushings and the applicable mounting hardware. Most body lift kits for Jeeps cost $150–$500, but you can find plenty under $100.
Coil Spring Spacers
Coil spring spacers are another easy-to-attach and primarily cosmetic modification that run around the same price as body lift kits. Instead of adding height where the body meets the frame, a coil spring spacer about 1–2 inches thick attaches to the coil springs on your shocks. Suspension and ride quality doesn’t change much, but you don’t get any additional off-road power either.
A coil lift kit swaps the factory coils for longer, stiffer springs and a new strut assembly. These kits provide 2–3.5 inches of lift and can cost anywhere from $150 to over $1,000. Because they upgrade the shocks rather than augment the factory springs, coil spring lift kits offer better articulation and improved off-road performance.
More expensive options allow for additional lift and often include upgraded control arms and sway bar connections. These inclusions help improve the driving experience while reducing the stability and drivability issues that follow a lifted Jeep.
The top-end coil lifts are available in either short or long-arm varieties. A short arm kit allows for better lift and wheel travel. You generally don’t have to worry about inadequate parts because it replaces the suspension components that might otherwise have issues. The kit is less expensive and easier to install than a long arm, and you can generally get up to 3.5 inches of lift without reducing ride quality.
A long arm kit employs a longer arm between the axle and frame to provide even better articulation while maintaining a smooth ride. Long arms attach to points set farther back so you can drop the wheels (or lift the vehicle) further without compromising the suspension angle. That allows you to keep moving over extreme terrain. These kits are the most expensive, costing around $500 at the low end and over $4,000 for top-quality products.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Body lift and coil spring spacer kits are inexpensive and easy to install for an experienced DIYer. With some spacer kits, you may not even have to disassemble your suspension.
Replacing your struts and arms with a coil lift kit is where the installation gets complicated, and for assurance, it’s best to work with a dealership or professional installer. A long arm kit involves the most advanced installation, requiring welding and fabrication to change the essential structure of the Jeep’s frame. Depending on the product and complexity, labor costs for a professional lift kit install can range from $400 to over $4,000.
A complete kit, by itself, doesn’t guarantee that your car will perform better. You will need additional modifications to offset the performance degradation a lift kit brings. For instance, you might have to regear your axle to move the larger wheels, or you may need to get better brakes. Ensuring you’re making the necessary upgrades is another reason to work with a professional to lift your Jeep.
Will Lifting My Jeep Affect My Warranty?
It’s hard to resist jumping into your new Wrangler and testing its legendary limits, or lack thereof. Lifting their Jeep is priority number one for some buyers eager to beef it up before the brand-new car smell wears off. But before you take the budget-friendly DIY route to lift your Jeep, it’s crucial to consider what it will do to your vehicle warranty.
A professional installation usually maintains the warranty on your Jeep. Manufacturers will still honor warranty claims on unaffected components, such as your engine, unless they can tie the failure of that system to your modified suspension. For example, you’ll likely be able to put in a warranty claim if your lights go out. But if your aftermarket tires put too much stress on your transmission and blow it out, you probably won’t get any help paying for repairs.
If your needs are low or your budget light, you can get 1–2 inches of lift for your Jeep for under $1,000 and with little effort. It may not seem like much, but the minor difference will give you better visibility and at least upgrade your Jeep with a more rugged appearance.
Expect to pay a few thousand dollars to lift your Jeep if you want looks plus performance. The costs can get high, but for Jeep enthusiasts and serious off-roaders, it’s well worth the investment to take your ride further than you ever thought possible.
Featured Image Credit: ElyPenner, Pixabay