So how much does it cost to lower a car? It depends but it can be done for free (believe it or not) or for $10,000+.

This article will give you a quick introduction to the most popular ways a car’s suspension can be lowered, how much you can expect to pay to have someone do it for you, how much it might cost if you did it yourself, and how much labor is involved either way.

In This Article

  • Modify the Leaf Springs

  • Cut the Coils

  • Cover Your Coilovers

  • Install Airbags

  • Hydraulic Suspension

  • Things to Keep in Mind

Modify the Leaf Springs

Almost all older cars tend to use a suspension system called “leaf springs,” essentially layered bands of metal tensioned into shape next to the wheel on the axle. If you want to lower your classic vehicle 2.5” or less, then modifying the leaf springs is the cheapest and easiest way to do so.

Warning: Modifying the leaf springs usually comes with a sacrifice to the handling of the car, particularly during braking and acceleration.

  • DIY kits: $100-$200 for a leaf spring kit, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
    • Additional tools needed: Car jack, a set of wrenches, and a couple of C-clamps.
  • Professional installation: $50-$200 per hour, not including price of materials. Professional installation should take 2-3 hours.

Cut the Coils

Cutting the coil springs is a popular way to lower the suspension on cars without leaf springs 1”-2.5”. The coils must be removed from the car and cut in quarter-turn segments until the desired height is achieved.

Warning: This method is tricky because if not done accurately it can lead to uneven suspension on the car and unusual wear on the parts. Using heat to cut the coils can result in metal fatigue that could cause the coil to fail.

  • DIY kits: An alternative to cutting is to buy shorter coil springs for $100-$700, depending on your vehicle.
    • Additional tools needed: Wrenches, a car jack, a grinder, and cutting wheels
  • Professional installation: $200-$500 for labor, not including price of materials

Cover Your Coilovers

A popular alternative to cutting your coils or installing shorter ones is called the coilover. These are aftermarket suspension parts that completely replace the stock spring coil and feature an adjustable shock absorber that has a coil spring coiled around it. Well-tuned coilovers can lower the suspension of your vehicle down to 4”.

Warning: The more you lower the suspension of your car with coilovers, the greater the chance that the coils themselves will fail because of the constant tension they are under. poorly tuned coilovers can cause unexpected wear on other parts of the car, like the tires.

  • DIY kits: $1,000-$9,000, depending on quality of components and complexity
    • Additional tools needed: Car-jack and wrenches.
  • Professional installation: $600 for labor, not including price of materials

Install Airbags

Another option is to replace the springs with adjustable airbags. This is one of the systems people use to make their cars rise or fall at the flip of a switch. Installing an airbag suspension system means replacing the coil springs with the needed airbags and also adding airlines, an air compressor, an air tank, and wiring it all to dashboard switches. This method is great for getting 3”-5” of adjustable suspension and can be added to any car.

  • DIY kits: $1,000-$4000, depending on the quality and capability of the parts desired.
    • Additional tools needed: Familiarity with car electronics
  • Professional installation: $1,000 for labor, not including price of materials; usually takes about 10 hours

Hydraulic Suspension

Hydraulic suspension can allow you raise or lower your car up to 5” inches or even make it dance in your driveway.

  • DIY kits: $1,300-$10,000+, depending on your vehicle and desired performance.
    • Additional tools needed: Knowledge of suspension systems, electrical work, and even wielding.
  • Professional installation: $2,000-$5,000 for labor, depending on the complexity of the system and your car, not including price of materials

Things to Keep in Mind

After you’ve dropped your suspension a few inches you’ll have to deal with wheel fitment — the design of the wheel and where wheel’s centerline attaches to the axle.

Changing the suspension of your car without getting the appropriate wheels to accommodate the new center of gravity can put undue strain on the axle and all the parts that connect it to the wheel, which will lead to reduced handling, part failures and your tires getting eaten by your car’s bumper.

Be sure to research what kind of wheels you’ll need for your new suspension setup at Keeping your bumper from eating your wheels is also a mostly straightforward DIY project that involves “rolling” some of the mounting tabs of your bumpe, or removing them altogether. Be sure to research the modification needs of your specific suspension/wheel/tire setup before hitting the road.

The Most Popular Companies That Offer Lowering Products

There are a number of manufacturers in the marketplace that specialize in making parts and kits for custom auto suspension.

Eibach is a leading manufacturer who makes suspension coil kits for just about any automobile, averaging around $359.10 for a coil spring kit.

Koni is a brand that specializes in high performance upgrades starting at around $1,223.04.

A high-end brand Bilstein. Kits start around $269 and can cost up to $10,097.75. Prices for these kits vary greatly depending on the make and model of your car.

KYB is lauded for having gas shocks comparable to Bilstein, but at a cheaper price point.

Belltech is another company with more affordable suspension kits, starting at $550.00

QA1 is a manufacturer with a wide range of suspension products ranging in price from $63.97-$887.97

With a comprehensive catalog, Summit Racing Equipment features suspension kits starting at $107.97, all the way up to $4,245.75.

Similarly stocked, Auto Anything is an online retailer whose suspension kits start in the $100.00 range and go up to $2,373.19.

If you’re interested in airbag or hydraulic suspension, then Hoppo’s is a comprehensive stop for parts and kits. Kits start at $1,050.00 and range in price up to $1,450.00.

Similarly, HiJacker Hydraulics can get you started with a basic and affordable hydraulic kit that you can upgrade to meet your needs starting at $899.95. Their high-end “Pro-Jacker” kit starts at $1,699.95.

In Summary

Automotive customization can be done at a wide range of skill levels, and price points. First, choose a method that fits your budget. Next, choose a brand. Finally, either get to work yourself or find a trustworthy shop in your area to do the work. Pro tip: Use forums or get introduced to people at car meets who can lower your car for a lot less than a professional shop can.