I've been asked more than a handful of times, "how much does it cost to lift a Jeep Wrangler?" I always say it depends and it's the truth.
Most people will give you a ballpark figure for the lift kit itself and leave out the lift kit installation cost.
People never think about the added costs associated with lifting a Jeep Wrangler. A lot will only look at the sticker price of the lift kit. There is a whole lot more to lifting a jeep wrangler besides the lift kit.
In this post, we'll cover the costs of lifting your Jeep Wrangler so that you know what you are getting into. It's more than you think.
Table of Contents
What Types Of Lift Kits Are Available For A Jeep?
Body lift kits
A body lift kit will lift a Jeep Wrangler by adding taller body mounts between the body and the frame. Some kits have brackets for linkage adjustment and radiator brackets. A cheap, old-school way is adding hockey pucks instead. These are considered a budget lift kit.
- 1 - 3 inch lift.
- Cost between $90 - $400.
Spacer lift kits are coil spring spacers. The spacer lift kit will lift a Jeep Wrangler by having a spacer above the coil spring that rides on the upper coil spring bucket.
They can also be used in the front only as a leveling kit. These are great if your Jeep Wrangler has a winch or aftermarket bumper.
- .75 - 3 inch lift.
- Cost between $45 - $250
Spring suspension lifts
Spring lift kits replace the coil springs or leaf springs entirely. Depending on the height, these may come with control arms (some fixed and some adjustable), drop pitman arm, longer sway bar links, brake line extensions, transfer case drop kit and shocks.
- 2.5 - 6 inch lift.
- Cost between $400 - $2500+
Long arm lift kits
Long arm vs short arm has been a hot debate since they came out. The long arm suspension lift became popular with the TJ models. The long-arm type of lift kit does provide for a better ride than the short arm in my opinion.
It is an entire subframe that attaches to the frame rails and has new control arm mounting locations. It will have adjustable control arms for both ends, uppers and lowers. Will normally come with everything needed.
Besides Wrangler lift kits, there are a few companies that sell upgrade kits if you already have a suspension lift installed on your Jeep Wrangler.
This kit will require cutting and possibly welding.
- Lit of 4 - 6 inches (Sky Jacker used to make an 8" lift kit.)
- Cost between $2300 - $4200+
Other Parts to Consider
Depending on how high you lift your Jeep Wrangler will determine the other components that will need to be addressed. This list is not all inclusive, but a dang good start when adding a lift.
Motor Mount Lift
When adding a body lift kit to your Jeep Wrangler, the body will be higher off the frame. Some applications will require a motor mount lift. This difference in elevation misaligns the radiator shroud and the mechanical fan on the engine.
- The cost to lift the engine will cost between $129 - $200 on top of the body lift kit.
Body lifts and even a suspension lift can sometimes cause linkage issues. Most Jeep lift kits will come with the brackets to correct linkage. I've seen it where I had to buy a correction kit after kit installation.
- Shift linkage correction kits will cost $110 - $200.
Transfer Case Issues
Lifting a Jeep Wrangler will increase your driveline angles. On the newer transfer cases, the rear output is a slip spline. These have been known to slip out and jam back in, shattering the splines.
If you were to lose the rear driveshaft for some reason, you would be stuck due to losing gear oil. Companies have been producing slip yoke eliminator kits to solve this problem. The kit allows for the use of a new CV driveshaft for the rear.
The SYE kits due require a tear down of the transfer case. The installation process is super simple. I've done it on two different NP-231 transfer cases.
If you own a Jeep Wrangler in the Rubicon trim, you don't need a SYE kit with suspension lifts.
- The SYE kits will cost between $250 - $600.
When you lift a jeep wrangler using a suspension lift kit, the geometry will change and your driveshafts will need to be longer. This will require upgrading your driveshafts to custom ones.
Custom shops are what I use. You may want to check out Tom Woods driveshafts.
- You can expect to pay between $750 - $1000 for front and rear driveshafts.
The reason people lift a Jeep Wrangler is to make room for larger tires. Some will cruise the strip and a few majorities will see serious off-roading. Either way, you will want to re-gear your axles for the taller tires.
If you don't re-gear, your Jeep Wrangler will suffer performance issues. To correct this, you'll need a lower ring and pinion gear to put the engine back into its optimal RPM range.
If you think that you'll want lockers for rough terrain, now is the time to install them.
- Ring & Pinion for front and rear will cost between $750 -$1000.
- Selectable lockers will cost between $1800 - $2400.
- Installation process will cost between $800 - $1300.
With bigger tires, you may find that you need to upgrade to a stronger clutch in manual transmission Jeeps. The stock clutch was fine for 31" tires, but once I went up to 35" tires my factory clutch was wearing.
Since I had to replace it, I went with a Centerforce dual friction clutch and have been rocking it since.
- An upgraded clutch will set you back $450 - $800.
With bigger tires comes bigger issues. The suspension will still need to flex completely to have good off-road performance. You will probably need to replace the factory wheels with aftermarket wheels with the proper offset or backspacing.
The proper backspacing will allow the front wheels to turn when the front suspension is fully compressed on one side. The amount of backspacing needed will vary depending on the tire combo.
There are some cheaper alternatives to new wheels. Some companies offer wheel spacers. The spacers bolt to the hubs extending the axle away from the frame. You can gain around 1.5 - 2 inches on each side for a total track gain of 2 to 4 inches.
- Cost for wheel spacers are around $180 - $250.
- Cost for new wheels including spare $450 - $2250.
When people think of performance parts, it's generally for go fast and not slow fast. With a suspension lift and larger tires, you may find that you need more stopping power.
It takes a lot more holding power when climbing and descending rough terrain with the larger set up.
- A performance brake kit will cost $480 - $2400.
Consideration before Lifting your Jeep Wrangler
The number one thing you need to consider before buying a Jeep Wrangler lift is, why do you need it? I'm being serious. Is it to look cool? Is the Jeep your daily driver? Is it a weekend warrior? Do you plan to hit the trails and ORV parks hard?
It's a lot of money to invest. It becomes even more when going from mild to wild. Truly think about what you will use your Jeep for and the answer will help you choose the right lift for your Jeep.
Cost of a DIY Lift Kit
The DIY cost savings is for the installation process. I find that I spend about the same when it comes to building a suspension system. The true benefit to a DIY suspension lift kit is that you get exactly what you want.
There are somethings that you'll have to buy:
- Coil springs
- Threaded bungs and joints
- SYE kits
I'll answer how much does it cost to lift a Jeep the DIY way in a future post. When I start the operation "Golden Dragon," I'll document all hours of the install and price lists so you can see what a DIY build costs.
Cost of A Suspension Lift Professional Installation
Depending on the shop rate, you're looking at around $600 - $950 in labor. Some shops will give a deal on installation if the suspension lift is purchased from them.
One such shop that comes to mind is 4wheelparts.com. I've bought a few parts from them at the local shop; however, I've always performed my own install.
How Much Does It Cost To Lift A Jeep FAQ's
What Are The Benefits Of Lifting A Jeep Wrangler?
Better off-roading capabilities
Lifting your Jeep Wrangler will give you better off-road capabilities for different situations.
When you lift a Jeep Wrangler and add larger tires, you'll be able to cross ruts, logs, and boulders with greater easy due to the higher ground clearance. You'll be less likely to high center your Jeep Wrangler on obstacles.
Better approach angle
One of the many benefits of a Jeep Wrangler lift kit is the better approach and departure angles. Picture yourself attempting to climb up a steep embankment only to strike the ground with your front bumper before your 32" tires even meet the obstacle.
Now imagine the same Jeep with a 4-inch suspension lift kit and 35" tires. With your front bumper riding 5.5 inches higher from the ground, your tires are able to make contact with the embankment taking your Jeep Wrangler to new heights.
The same applies to departure angle except you'd be coming down off the embankment.
Increased ground clearance
I've beaten this dead horse to well, death. I can't whip it anymore. Increased ground clearance is great for off-roading and places where lake-effect snow dumps by the foot.
You'll gain it with a suspension lift. With a body lift, you only gain ground clearance by the increase in tire size. Either way, you'll gain more than the stock Jeep ground clearance.
Deep fording capability
The current Jeep Wrangler has a water fording depth rating of 30 inches. Simple math would be 30 inches + Lift kit height + ((new tire size - old size)/2) = new fording depth.
For example: 30 inches + 2.5 lift kit gives you 32.5" of fording capability. If you jumped up to a 35" from a 32", that gives you an increase of 3 inches of tire height. Divide that by 2 gives you 1.5 inches of lift. That added to the 32.5" gives you a total of 34 inches as your new fording depth.
Cons of lifting a Jeep
Reduce Ride Comfort
You will almost always get the best ride quality with the stock suspension unless it's sacked. Often times, aftermarket springs that come with lift kits are stiffer. They have to be to meet the demands of rough terrain.
Metalcloak makes a progressive spring that I'm going to use on the Golden Dragon build once we get the shop built this spring.
Reduced fuel mileage
You'll re-gear your Jeep Wrangler to adjust for large tires to keep the engine in the RPM range. This will help, but the larger tires weigh a lot more and the exposed running gear will increase your drag. Sorry but your Jeep Wrangler will not have the same fuel mileage after installing a suspension lift kit.
A short wheelbase Jeep Wrangler lifted is often a squirrely bumpy and swaying ride. If you drive on snow and ice on the highway, this can be a real adventure. Scary at the least.
Off camber riding is a little sketchier due to the higher center of gravity. You are more susceptible to roll over in a lifted Jeep.
What Brands Of Lift Kits Are Most Popular For Jeep Lift Kits?
How Does a Jeep Wrangler Lift Kit Give You More Ground Clearance?
A body lift will give you more ground clearance by the tire size increase. A suspension lift will give you more ground clearance by the suspension height increase and the tire size increase.
A lift is simply raising the body, frame and undercarriage to allow for larger tires. The taller the tires, the more ground clearance your Jeep will have.
Can you put bigger tires on a Jeep without a lift?
Yes. How much bigger? It really boils down to how large of a tire you are wanting to run and the off set of your wheels. When I first bought my TJ, it came with 30 inch all weathers. I was broke as a joke and found a used set of 31" tires for sale that I stuffed on it. No problems. A lot of Jeeps are this way.
If you are willing to buy tube fenders or larger fender flares, you could get bigger tires to work. A saws-all or grinder could be used as well. Think competition cut.
How much does it cost to lift a Jeep depends on what year and model Jeep you have. It also depends on what you're building your Jeep for. Are you planning to rock crawl, run the dunes or cruise the strip? If you're looking to get into extreme off-road driving, the cost will significantly increase.
Ask yourself what your Jeep needs to accomplish and go from there. Trust me. From experience, the higher the lift, the more it will cost. Not only in lift cost, but tires, brakes, gearing, tires, drivelines and the 100% sure gonna happen break downs at some point.
I've always tried to stay as low of center of gravity as possible, while accomplishing my Jeep builds. You would be wise to do the same. If this is your first Jeep build, driving a lifted short wheel-based Jeep takes some getting used to. This is more prevalent on snow and ice.
Out of the box lift kits will be easier for the first-time builder. On the other hand, if you have some welding skills and a little know-how, you could build a custom suspension that will meet or exceed your needs. DIY can be cheaper if you have the skills to perform all of the work yourself.
Hopefully this post has been helpful explaining the question how much does it cost to lift a Jeep and what type of lift kit to get. If you've got other ideas or have found it better to build than buy, let us know below.