How much does it cost to lower a car? The cost of lowering a car varies greatly — you can get it done for free or for up to $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 do it yourself, and how much labor is involved either way.
Ways to Lower Your Car
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 two and a half inches or less, then modifying the leaf springs is the cheapest and easiest way to do so.
- DIY kits: $100 to $200 for a leaf spring kit, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
- Additional tools needed: Floor jack, jack stands, chocks, 9/16 through 3/4-inch sockets and wrenches, a ratchet, a torque wrench, and a pry bar
- Professional installation: $50 to $200 per hour, not including the price of materials. Professional installation should take two to three hours.
Warning: Modifying the leaf springs usually worsens the car’s handling, particularly during braking and acceleration.
It is worth noting here that removing a leaf, or adding a leaf is fine, within the handling ability of the car, but putting heat on leaf springs to change the coil or cut them apart (seized center bolts, ect) damages the integrity of the leaf, and will cause it to fail.
Understand also that some newer vehicles have triple square bolts in the suspension. Make sure you have the proper tools before starting the job.
Cut the Coils (Not Recommended)
Cutting the coil springs is a popular way to lower suspension on cars without leaf springs, one to two and a half inches. The coils must be removed from the car and cut in quarter-turn segments until the desired height is achieved.
Warning: Doing this can lead to an increased chance of rollover and other dangerous situations. 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. It will be hard to find a reputable shop to cut your springs, as it’s too big of a liability. You must also keep in mind that the springs were designed to carry that weight of the car exactly as they were made from the factory. Cutting them erases the engineering effort that was put into their design. Cutting the springs is strongly discouraged by the automotive community.
Install Lowering Springs
Buying shorter springs as opposed to cutting your springs is safer, and your car will handle better than it would if the springs were cut.
- DIY kits: $100 to $700, depending on your vehicle.
- Additional tools needed: Floor jack, jack stands, chocks, metric and fractional sockets and wrenches, a ratchet, a pry bar, and an impact wrench. A spring compressor will be needed for some vehicles; if it is required for your car, we highly recommend taking your spring assembly to a shop to have the springs installed professionally, as it can be extremely hazardous. If a compressed oil is released and hits you, it can kill you.
- Professional installation: $200 to $500 for labor, not including price of materials to install shorter springs.
A popular alternative to cutting your coil springs or installing shorter ones is called a coilover. Coilovers 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 four inches.
- DIY kits: $1,000 to $9,000, depending on the quality of the components and complexity
- Additional tools needed: Floor jack, jack stands, chocks, sockets, open-end wrenches, a breaker bar, a ratchet, a torque wrench, a pry bar, and a tape measure
- Professional installation: $600 for labor, not including the price of materials
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.
Replace the Springs with 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 three to five inches of adjustable suspension and can be added to any car. The con of airbags is the added complexity means the car may be less reliable and require more maintenance.
- DIY kits: $1,000 to $4000, depending on the quality and capability of the parts desired.
- Additional tools needed: Floor jack, jack stands, chocks, allen wrenches, sockets, and a ratchet
- Professional installation: $1,000 for labor, not including the price of materials; usually takes about 10 hours
Install Hydraulic Suspension
Hydraulic suspension is highly adjustable and customizable. With a hydraulic system, you can raise or lower your car up to five inches and can make it hop or “dance” by raising and lowering the car quickly. The con of both air bags and hydraulics is that the additional complexity of the systems increases the chance of having something fail, and will have additional maintenance for the respective systems.
- DIY kits: $1,300 to $10,000+, depending on your vehicle and desired performance.
- Additional tools needed: Knowledge of suspension systems, electrical work, and even welding are required for this type of installation. Consulting a professional installer is recommended.
- Professional installation: $2,000 to $5,000 for labor, depending on the complexity of the system and your car, not including the price of materials
Things to Keep in Mind After Dropping Your Suspension
After you’ve dropped your suspension a few inches, there are several potential issues you’ll need to watch out for including uneven tire wear, damaging the exhaust system or other components underneath the car, and wheel fitment.
Poor fitment — or 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. This can lead to reduced handling, part failures, or your tires rubbing on other parts and becoming damaged.
You can see what kind of wheels you’ll need for your new suspension setup at WillTheyFit.com. Keeping your bumper from eating your wheels is also a mostly straightforward DIY project that involves “rolling” some of the mounting tabs of your bumper or removing them altogether. Be sure to research the modification needs of your specific suspension/wheel/tire setup before hitting the road.
Think you’ll have fitment issues? If so, see our article: How Much Does It Cost to Widebody a Car? DIY, Kits, & Shop Prices
Where to Buy Car Lowering Products
There are several manufacturers that specialize in making parts and kits for custom auto suspension. Kits can be found from specialized retailers, automotive retailers, and even Amazon.
- Products sold: Airbag suspension kits, coil springs, coilover kits, leaf springs, suspension leveling kits, and more
- Price range: $70 – $10,000+ depending on the product or kit type and your vehicle
- Shop Amazon
- Products sold: AirLift Air Suspension Leveling Kits
- Price range: $100 to $400
- Shop online at AutoZone
- Products sold: Airjack suspension, coil springs, coilover kits, leaf springs, and more. Complete kits and individual components are available, with a focus on products made for sport trucks and SUVs.
- Price range: $150 to $1,350 depending on the type of kit and vehicle
- Shop online at Belltech
- Products sold: Coilover suspension kits
- Price range: $269 to $10,000+. Prices for these kits vary greatly depending on the make and model of your car.
- Shop online at Bilstein
- Products sold: Suspension coil kits
- Price range: $360+
- Shop online at Eibach
- Products sold: Hydraulic kits
- Price range: $900 to $1700
- Shop online at HiJacker Hydraulics
- Products sold: Airbag and hydraulic suspension kits
- Price range: $650 to $2,000
- Shop online at Hoppo’s
- Products sold: Coilover kits and other suspension kits; specializing in high-performance upgrades
- Price range: $1,000+
- Shop online at Koni
- Products sold: Shocks and coilover kits — comparable to Bilstein but cheaper
- Price range: As little as $20 for individual components (like struts); up to about $600 for kits
- Shop online at KYB
- Products sold: Coilover shocks and suspension kits
- Price range: $500 to $2,000 for kits, depending on the make and model year of your vehicle
- Shop online at QA1
Summit Racing Equipment
- Products sold: Variety of suspension parts and complete kits
- Price range: $200 to $5,000
- Shop online at Summit Racing Equipment
How much does it cost to lower a car? You can decide which method you want to use, but $350 to $1,000 will get you a simple, safe setup from a reputable company. 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.