Short Answer: The cost of lowering a car varies greatly depending on how you want to do it — you can do it yourself for the price of equipment and a kit, which will cost anywhere from $100 to nearly $10,000, or you can get a professional installation, the price of which will vary based on parts and labor. The cheapest lowering modifications involve modifying existing parts or installing simple lowering springs, coilovers, or spindles; the more expensive (but also more customizable) options include installing a complex suspension system that uses airbags or hydraulics. For more information about the costs associated with each of the most common car-lowering techniques, see below.
How Much Does It Cost to Lower a Car?
Depending on the extent of the modification you want to use to lower your car, you can choose to modify existing components (which is generally the cheapest option), install different suspension components, or install a hydraulic system. Doing the modification yourself can be cheaper than professional installation, but your car will not be drivable while you are working on it; professionals can usually complete the work much faster. For do-it-yourself kits, you will need to purchase the kit as well as any other necessary tools, if you do not already have them.
For a brief overview of each modification technique, see the table below, then click any modification or scroll for more details.
Modify the Leaf Springs
Almost all older cars tend to use a suspension system called “leaf springs,” which are 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, modifying the leaf springs is the cheapest and easiest way to do so. There are various online resources and guides that explain how to do simple leaf spring modifications.
- DIY kits: $100 to $200 for a leaf spring kit, depending on the make and model of your vehicle
- Professional installation: $100 to $400 for labor, not including the price of materials; service time is about two to three hours
Note: Removing or adding a leaf will generally not affect the car’s handling, but cutting or applying heat to leaf springs can affect the integrity of the springs and potentially cause them to fail.
Install Lowering Springs
Lowering springs are essentially the same as the springs that are already part of your suspension system, but they are slightly shorter than the stock springs (usually about one to three inches). There are plenty of online resources that explain how to install lowering springs.
- DIY kits: $100 to $700, depending on your vehicle
- Places that sell lowering springs: Amazon, Belltech, Eibach, QA1, and Summit Racing Equipment
- Additional tools needed: Floor jack, jack stands, chocks, metric and fractional sockets and wrenches, a ratchet, a pry bar, and an impact wrench. Some vehicles require a spring compressor, but using this tool can be extremely dangerous; if your car needs it, you should consider taking it to a shop.
- Professional installation: $200 to $500 for labor, not including the price of materials to install shorter springs
A popular alternative to installing shorter springs is using coilovers. Coilovers are aftermarket suspension parts that completely replace the stock spring coil and feature an adjustable shock absorber that has a spring coiled around it. Well-tuned coilovers can lower the suspension of your vehicle up to four inches.
- DIY kits: $300 to $9,000, depending on the quality of the components and complexity
- Professional installation: $600 for labor, not including the price of materials
Note: 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. Poorly tuned coilovers can cause unexpected wear on other parts of the car, including the tires.
Install Drop Spindles
If you want a lowering option that does not affect any other suspension components, you can consider installing drop spindles. These parts raise the wheel mounting point, thereby lowering the car by about two to three inches.
- DIY kits: $150 to $1,300, depending on the brand and car make and model
- Professional installation: $300 to $500 for labor, not including the price of materials
Replace the Springs With Airbags
Another lowering option is to replace the springs with adjustable airbags. This is one of the systems people use to allow their cars to both raise and lower; airbags can provide three to five inches of adjustable suspension. As with other suspension lowering modifications, there are online videos and step-by-step instructions that explain the airbag suspension installation process.
- DIY kits: $300 to $4,000, depending on the quality and capability of the parts desired.
- Professional installation: $1,000 for labor, not including the price of materials; usually takes about 10 hours.
Note: The added complexity of the airbag suspension system can cause the car to be less reliable and require more maintenance. Consider taking your car to the shop to ensure proper installation.
Install Hydraulic Suspension
A hydraulic suspension is highly adjustable and customizable. With a hydraulic system, you can raise or lower your car up to five inches, and you can make it “hop” by raising and lowering the car quickly.
- DIY kits: $1,300 to $10,000+, depending on your vehicle and desired performance.
- Professional installation: $2,000 to $5,000 for labor, not including the price of materials; the cost depends on the complexity of the system and your car.
Note: As with airbag suspension lowering, hydraulic systems add complexity to the car’s suspension and there is a higher chance that something could fail or require additional maintenance in the future.
Potential Added Costs
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, damage to the exhaust system or other components underneath the car, and poor wheel fitment. Repairing any of these issues will require you to funnel more money into the modification project.
You can solve poor wheel fitment by getting new wheels and tires for your car. You can see what kind of wheels you’ll need for your new suspension setup using the calculator at WillTheyFit.com. Buying all new wheels and tires can be a significant investment — perhaps even more than you paid to lower your car. For tires that you don’t have to pay for upfront, we list the best rent-to-own tire and rim places.
You may also be able to fix wheel fitment issues by rolling out your car’s fenders; our article has more details about how much it costs to roll fenders and/or widebody a car.
Beware: Cutting Coils is Not Recommended
Cutting the coil springs is a popular way to lower suspension on cars without leaf springs. It is a method of lowering that does not require you to purchase additional parts. However, doing this can cause uneven suspension and unusual wear on some of the parts, and it can ultimately lead to an increased chance of rollover and other dangerous situations.
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 much of a liability. Your car’s springs were designed to carry the weight of the car exactly as they were made from the factory. Cutting them impacts the engineering effort that was put into their design. EATON Detroit Spring, a leaf and coil spring manufacturer, explains the dangers of cutting springs, as well as how to do it correctly, if needed.
You can choose from a number of techniques for lowering your car, including modifying the leaf springs, installing lowering springs, coilovers, or drops spindles, or installing complex suspension systems that use airbags or hydraulics. In general, the more complex the modification, the more expensive it will be to do yourself or at a shop. For as little as $100 to $300 you can modify or install new springs, and for a few thousand dollars, you can install a customizable hydraulic suspension system.