The cost of lifting your truck depends on what you want or need if for. For instance, if you just want an inch or two more height to clear larger tires it's going be much less costly than if you want an 8-inch long arm lift kit designed for extreme off-roading.
I remember how overwhelming it was when I was shopping for a lift kit for my first rig. So, I thought why not write a blog that can help other people going through the same process.
First Thing First
Why do you want to lift your truck? The main reasons people lift their truck is to fit larger tires for appearance or for increased performance for things like rock crawling, mudding and jumping their trucks.
If you just want to get that aggressive looking stance and to fit a larger tire you'll only need a levelling kit or a body lift which might cost around $200 to $1000 and they're easier to install than a suspension lift kit making the cost of labor less as well.
If you want to build a capable truck that can conquer challenging technical trails you will need a suspension lift which could cost between $1000 to $15000 because they are more technical and labor intensive with install times varying from 6 hours to 16 hours.
Something to consider is each lift kit brand has varying prices for a similar product for various reasons. We strongly urge that you do some research and check out customers reviews of the brands you are interested in. There are some low cost but quality brands out there to chose from, but that's a different topic for another blog.
Let's start off with the lower-cost options and work our way up.
Levelling Lift Kits
Leveling kits are a relatively low-cost option that lifts the entire frame and body, whereas a body lift will only raise the body and the frame will remain at the same height. Levelling kits were designed to level out your trucks angle if you have a heavy load on the back or if it rides uneven for any reason. However, they're also handy to give your tuck an extra inch or two more height giving you more ground and tire clearance allowing both better approach angles and larger tire diameter.
Most levelling kits are simply spacers you place above or below your springs thus lifting your trucks frame 1 - 2 inches.
Body Lift Kits
Body lifts as mentioned will only lift the body of the truck by placing spacers or blocks between the frame and body thus raising the body while the frame remains at the same height. This is a great cost-effective option if you just want to add larger tires and gain an aggressive looking stance. However, if you’re looking to go off-roading then body lifts won't give you any extra ground clearance other than what the larger tires will offer, which might not be enough for you.
Suspension Lift Kits
Suspension lifts are the priciest option, the reason being they are more complex because they have more parts, require more modifications, and more labor is involved during the installation. A lift kit replaces your trucks stock suspension with larger springs, control arms, and shock absorbers.
Because the angles change dramatically after 4 inches of lift you will also need to drop the t-case, get longer driveshafts, and extend brake lines. And, because of the geometry changes, the steering will have to be addressed as well, usually with a longer pitman arm and a track bar relocation bracket.
So, as you can see a suspension lift kit will give you greater off-road ability but there's a price to pay for that ability.
One of the biggest factors to the cost of lifting your truck is labor. If you have a shop and some know-how or a friend with a shop and some know-how you can save a lot of money, but you'll be giving up some time and will likely be frustrated with the surprises that arise.
If you don't work on vehicles often then you’re going to have a learning curve at your disadvantage. Also, if you’re installing the kit on an older vehicle you’re definitely going to run into hidden costs such as broke bolts, rotten brake lines etc., all which will increase the time and money needs to complete the installation.
If you're going with the suspension lift option then you’ll 100% need to go get an alignment after which will cost approximately $150 to $300. We strongly recommend having your installation checked over by a professional to ensure the safety of you, your family and the other motorists on the road. Depending on the shop it shouldn't cost more than a couple hundred to have them double-check your work.
If you decide Installing the kit yourself is not an option, a quick Google search should find many garages out there that would be happy to help you. Their prices range from $100 to $200 per hour and if your kit installation time is 16 hours you can end up spending as much or more than what you paid for the lift kit itself.
The plus side to getting the lift kit professionally installed means no frustrations for you and peace of mind that it's done correctly, and if any issues arise they are there to help you. Also, it frees up your valuable time.
Other important things to consider are warranty, and what size of lift is legal in your location. We strongly urge you to check with your local authorities to make sure your tuck won't end up getting a vehicle inspection. It is not a fun process to go through, especially when they make you remove the kit you've just spent 1000s on and then you have to get the truck re-inspected before it can be insured again.
We also strongly urge you to check with your dealership on what type of lift kit will not void the warranty because this can also end up costing you more down the road when the truck needs repairs, and we all know that is inevitable. A lot of the time you can find OEM lifts that won't void the warranty and they will be happy to install them for you, saving you the frustration and time.
A levelling kit or a body lift just to clear bigger tires will be your cheapest option running you about $200 to $1000. And, a suspension lift kit for increased performance can range from $1000 to $15,000 depending upon the brand of kit you choose and whether you install it or hire a professional.