People love Jeeps because of their looks and performance. Oftentimes, both aspects can be improved by installing a lift kit on the vehicle. A lifted Jeep looks great, improves off-road performance, and allows for larger tires.
On average, you can get a body lift kit for around $350. For a suspension lift under 4 inches, you will pay between $900 to $1,100.
Levelling kits are the lowest cost option and can be purchased for under $100.
Finally, if you need to purchase extras like long arm conversion brackets, control arms, and brake lines, you may have to pay in the range of $1,000.
Unfortunately, a lifted Jeep can also have poor on-road performance, tire balancing issues, scary vibrations and can cause steering issues.
It is clear then that whether you are planning to lift your Jeep for better off-road traction, or because you want bigger tires or aesthetics, you have multiple choices you will have to make.
An analysis of the types of lifting you can do to a Jeep follows below. Considerations will be made for the costs and benefits of each, and alternatives will be considered.
The first choice will be between hiring a professional or going the DIY route. Next, you will need to choose the type of lifting you will do: Body lift, suspension lift, both, or levelling.
To get a reasonable idea of cost, you will consider the level of lift you will get, understanding that you will pay more the higher you go. Finally, there will be some consideration of other costs associated with lifting a Jeep.
Should I Hire a Professional to Lift My Jeep?
Hiring a professional to install a lift kit on your Jeep is a safer bet than doing it yourself. However, it is by far the more expensive option, all things being equal.
In fact, if you were to install a lift kit improperly in your own garage, it could damage your Jeep, and the damage could wind up being more costly than if you had taken the vehicle to a mechanic.
If you are confident in your mechanic skills and you can do the install properly, the DIY cost to you will be the cost of the kit and the cost of any tools you may require. At most you may need to purchase a couple hundred dollars in tools.
On the other hand, if you hire a mechanic, you will still have to pay for the cost of the kit, but you will also have to pay for labor. Consider that it may take up to 8 hours for the install and you will see that it could be quite costly.
If the labor rate in your area is close to the nationwide average, you could be paying for 8 hours of labor at a rate of $100 an hour, or $800.
In the end, it comes down to whether you want peace of mind or a heavier wallet. A professional has the tools and experience to ensure a safe installation with minimum damage to your Jeep. A DIY install is vastly cheaper. Your call.
Methods, Costs, and Benefits of Lifting a Jeep
When you are trying to decide how you want to lift your Jeep you will first have to decide which lifting method you will employ.
You can choose to just lift the body, or you can lift the suspension. Further, you can employ both methods for maximum effect.
Alternatively, if you only care about lifting the front end of your Jeep so that it is inline with the rear, you can opt for a levelling kit.
When you lift the body of a Jeep, you are also changing the tire size. You can get from 1 to 3 inches of lift from this method. A body lift is faster to accomplish and costs less than a suspension lift.
Further, installation is easier and there are less adjustments to make in the end. The biggest problem with a body lift is that it simply does not get as much height as a suspension lift.
Further, regardless of which method you choose you will have a higher likelihood of rolling, and the center of gravity will be altered.
A body lift is the most cost-effective option for your Jeep. You can get one for as little as $100, but for most of them you will probably pay in the $350 range.
If you are doing the install yourself, you only need some basic mechanic’s tools and the kit itself to complete the task.
It will probably take around 6 hours for the install. Finally, you should consider that you may have to make other alterations to your suspension. Depending on which kit you use, this may cost $350 to $450 extra.
By using a suspension lift kit on your Jeep, you will potentially get twice as much clearance as compared to a body lift. A suspension lift will also increase the off-road performance of your vehicle.
Finally, if you are lifting your Jeep for aesthetic reasons, the suspension-lifted Jeep is probably the look you are going for.
The problems that arise from doing a suspension lift are basically the same as for the body lift, just more extreme. Your Jeep’s center of gravity will be drastically altered, and you will be much more likely to roll the vehicle.
Further, lifting your suspension can damage your Jeep and cause it to become unstable.
The cost of a suspension lift kit can vary dramatically based on brand and complexity. Further, the cost rises as your Jeep does.
The more you want to lift, the more you will have to pay. Lifting your Jeep 2 inches may cost half as much as lifting it 4 inches.
If you are getting a suspension lift of less than 4 inches you might expect to pay in the $900 to $1,100 range, but you could pay quite a bit more depending on brand.
If you are lifting your Jeep higher, you will likely have to replace most of your suspension, thus raising the cost. You can easily spend somewhere in the range of $2,500 to $3,500 when you consider all the alterations together.
Suspension and Body Lift
In the end, if you have the financial ability, your best option for lifting your Jeep is likely some combination of both forms of lifting. You can combine both methods to get the type of lift and performance you desire.
Usually this will enhance the pros of lifting and decrease the cons. Unfortunately, this will be the most expensive option for you, especially if you are hiring a professional.
You will need both kits and it will cost more labor.
You may be choosing to lift your Jeep because you do not like the look of the raised rear-end. Jeep produces their vehicles with the rear lifted for utilitarian reasons.
When you put weight in the rear of the vehicle, the back-end sags down closer to the road. Jeep raises the rear to compensate for this.
Even though there is a good reason for it, many people find this extra rear height to be ugly. If you are one of those people, a levelling kit may be just the thing.
A levelling kit costs way less than a lift kit, is easier to install, and is very unlikely to cause any damage to the vehicle. You can find levelling kits for under $100.
Other Cost Considerations
Besides the cost of the lift kit and install, there are other costs you should consider. First, depending on what exactly you are doing you may need to alter your suspension.
Next, if you are getting long arm conversion brackets, you can tack over $450 to your bill. Also consider control arms in the $450 to $550 range and alternative brake lines at around $90.
Further, you will likely have to get a wheel alignment because after the vehicle is lifted you will have problems steering. A wheel alignment can cost between $100 and $200.
You may also have brake, tire or steering box servicing you will need to do. Finally, realize that your Jeep model will affect your cost. It will likely cost more to lift a Wrangler as compared to a Cherokee, for example.
In the end, there is a lot to consider when choosing what method you will employ to lift your Jeep. Hiring a mechanic and getting a suspension lift is more expensive. Likewise, it costs more the higher you go in height or quality.
Your lowest cost option is a DIY levelling. The next lowest cost option is a DIY body lift. Beware however, that if you decide to install a lift kit in your own garage you must be sure that you have the mechanical skills to do the install in a safe manner.
If you do a poor job installing a lift kit onto your Jeep, you could eventually spend much more fixing damage than you would have if you had initially hired a professional.
In the end, a lifted Jeep looks great and can be something to be reckoned with off-road. Just make sure you know what you are getting into, and you have considered all the potential costs that go with your decision.
An undamaged Jeep that is not lifted is preferable, and cheaper, to a lifted, but damaged, Jeep.