Lifting a vehicle is a modification in which the car is lifted higher off the group by adding larger tires. In order to add larger tires, you will need to add some modifications to the car itself, which is where Jeep lift kits come into play.
In this handy Jeep Wrangler lift kit buying guide, we will give you an overview of all of the information you will need to lift your own Jeep Wrangler.
We have put together a definitive guide on what the benefits are of lifting a Jeep Wrangler, what tools and parts you will need to lift your Jeep Wrangler, and how much it costs to lift a Jeep Wrangler.
What Are The Benefits Of Lifting A Jeep Wrangler?
There are many benefits to lifting your Jeep Wrangler (besides it looking totally awesome), such as more clearance, a stronger center of gravity, and better performance for certain off-roading activities. The main benefits for lifting a Jeep Wrangler are for improving off-road performance. Having larger wheels will allow you to have more clearance in bumpy terrains, and the right lift kit will help the Jeep retain a strong center of gravity to prevent the Jeep from flipping over during off-roading activities.
- Add Bigger Tires – A lift kit modifies the vehicle to allow you to add larger tires to the Jeep Wrangler. Adding larger tires will lift the vehicle higher up off the ground. Larger tires have more surface area which gives you more grip during off-roading conditions. Finding tires made for these conditions will be easier with larger tires.
- More Clearance For Off-Roading – Adding larger tires to the Jeep Wrangler will give the car more tire clearance for off-roading activities. This will generally not allow you to drive through deeper water or mud, but it does give you more clearance for climbing over rocks or bumpy terrains.
How Does a Jeep Wrangler Lift Kit Give You More Clearance?
When the Jeep Wrangler is lifted it does not immediately give it more clearance, instead, it modifies the vehicle to accept larger tires which then give you more clearance. A lift kit is made to replace the springs and shocks in the vehicle which helps you to clear tougher terrain by increasing the height of clearance.
This is ideal for off-roading because the Jeep Wrangler will be able to handle bumpy terrains with more ease with the higher clearance and higher center of gravity which is produced by the lift kit. This is great for crawling up rocks and other bumps off-road.
To counteract the effects on the alignment of the vehicle from modifying it’s center of gravity many Jeep Wrangler lift kits will include new trackbars, control arms, or relocation brackets that actually improve the handling of the vehicle.
What Do I Need To Lift My Jeep?
A lift kit will come with everything you need to lift your Jeep Wrangler, and this guide can help you figure out what lift kit is best for you, or how to put together your own Jeep lift kit with the right parts and tools.
Jeep Wrangler YJs (87-95)
The YJ models of Jeeps require a more complicated installation for a simple body lift than the newer models. A suspension lift over 2.5 inches will require a slip yoke eliminator and a CV driveshaft.
For newer models of Jeeps, you can get away with installing new coil spring spacers for a body lift, but for a Jeep YJ, the body mounts will have to all be replaced with taller mounts. For a suspension lift on the YJ Jeep, the leaf springs should also be separated from the axle and replaced.
For a body lift on a Jeep Wrangler YJ you will need to install new lifted body bushings, install new front bump stops, and install radiator shroud relocation brackets in the front of the car.
Remove the sway bar links from the sway bar, remove the track bar, remove the spring to axle u-bolts, and separate the axle from the leaf spring. You will need to also remove all of the frame bolts and shackle bolts while removing the leaf spring from the YJ.
After you have removed all of the parts, you should replace them with the new parts. Do not completely tighten the parts until the Jeep is on the ground, at that point you can make any adjustments to the suspension and secure the parts.
The rear and the front of the car are the same to lift, but the rear is slightly less complicated because you do not have to deal with the steering.
Jeep Wrangler TJ (97-06), JK (07-18), JL (18-Present)
Doing a body lift on the newer models of Jeep Wranglers is easier than doing a suspension lift.
For a body lift on the newer models of Jeep Wranglers you will need to lower the axle to remove the coil springs. After this you can remove the factory spring spacers as well. New coil spring spacers should be installed and then the front suspension can be reinstalled.
Lifting the rear of the car is the same as lifting the front, but has a few differences you should take into account. The parking brake lines and the transfer case breather in the back will both need to be removed and reinstalled as a part of the body lift process.
Choosing the right suspension lift kit can be difficult. A suspension lift kit adds more room for clearance than a body lift kit and can have a more complicated installation process.
The type of suspension lift kit that is used will determine what size tires you can use with the Jeep, which is one way to help you choose between the different Jeep lift kits.
The control arms for the Jeep will need to be removed and replaced with long arm conversions. The brake lines will also need to be updated. New coil springs, spacers, and components will need to be installed.
The manufacturer of the lift kit will include specific instructions for how to relocate the track bar and arm changes depending on the kit. Suspension lift kits can vary greatly and the manufacturer will give further instructions on how to properly install the kit.
For a complicated suspension lift kit installation you may want to leave the work up to the professionals at your trusted local dealership, but if you are planning on doing a DIY lift, you will need some of the following tools.
A heavy duty floor jack should be used, jack stands, sockets, socket wrenches, standard wrenches, electrical tools and air tools such as air wrenches or impact guns all may be necessary depending on the lift kit being used.
The jack and jack stands are required for lifting the Jeep during modification, as well as basic hand tools such as wrenches for tightening the parts into place.
How Much Does It Cost To Lift A Jeep?
A body lift can cost as little as $200 and suspension kits can cost upwards of $1000. A super basic body lift kit for a 1 inch to 3.75 inch lift can cost as little as $100-$200, and a suspension for the same lift can cost about $400.
For a high end suspension kit for a 1 inch to 3.75 inch lift you can expect to pay over $1000. If you are lifting the Jeep Wrangler more than four inches the price will get even higher.
The lower lifts will require new shocks and springs, but the higher lift kits will require you to replace most of the suspension parts on the vehicle. The price range for a lift kit above four inches can be thousands of dollars. For 5-inch lift kits at least $3000 can be expected to be spent to encompass the total amount of parts needed.
Jeep Wrangler YJ kits will be around $1000 for a higher lift kit. A basic body lift on a YJ model of Jeep Wrangler will be the most expensive. For a basic lift kit you can expect to spend more than $500, so you may as well go with a suspension kit for this model of Jeep to make the most out of your budget.
Other Parts to Consider:
For all of the models of Jeep you will need to also consider that some parts may need modification or replacement that are not included in the Jeep Wrangler lift kit.
Adding longer control arms to the Jeep Wrangler can improve the steering, handling, and power for a lifted vehicle and the long arm conversion brackets that are necessary could cost $500 or more.
For all of the models, you will need to consider a slip yoke eliminator kits cost of up to $300, as well as the control arms themselves which are about $500, new track bars for about $300, and modified brake lines for upwards of $100.
All of these costs can add up fast. The JK model of Jeep Wrangler will require new exhaust spacers which cost about $50 and the CV driveshafts for YJ and TJ models of the Wrangler can cost almost $1000.
What Type Of Lift Kits Are Available For A Jeep?
There are different kinds of lift kits that are available for Jeep Wranglers such as a leveling kit or a suspension lift. Suspension lifts are more expensive than a leveling kit, otherwise known as a budget boost.
A leveling kit will add one or two inches of lift to the vehicle for larger tires, whereas a suspension kit will allow for even larger tires and is more complicated, hence the greater price.
Budget Boost (aka – Leveling Kit)
Jeep Wranglers are made so that the front of the car sits slightly lower on the tires. A leveling kit works by balancing things out so that the front of the car and the car both sit evenly, which adds one or two inches of lift to the Wrangler.
A leveling kit is considered a type of body lift. Body lifts involve adding rubber spacers in between the body and frame to increase the distance between the frame and the suspension.
Body lifts are inexpensive, but can take a little more time to install than a suspension lift. If you are looking to add only a small lift to your Jeep Wrangler in between one and three inches we suggest a leveling kit instead of a suspension lift because it is a more cost-effective process that has great results.
Unlike a suspension lift, a body lift is mostly for aesthetic purposes. It does not increase the wheels in the same way that a suspension will.
Depending on the type of lift kit that is used, a body lift or leveling kit can fit size 31-33 inch tires. This type of lift kit for Jeeps will not affect the function of the vehicle in terms of performance, handling, or power (a suspension lift could improve or decrease the power of a Jeep Wrangler), and is quick and easy to install.
New shocks may be necessary depending on the level of lift desired. In addition to installing new shocks, for a larger body lift you will also need to consider the fact that extensions will be required for the radiator, shifter, and other parts of the vehicle including the steering.
A good body lift kit will include all of the necessary extensions, or these can be purchased separately from the lift kit.
You can also use a body lift in addition to a suspension lift if the leveling kit only adds a boost of an inch. An extension may be required for such areas of operation as the fuel filler neck, 4WD shifter, and fuel filler neck to prevent the loss of power and ride quality.
Ground clearance is NOT added from a body lift which is why it should be used in addition to a suspension lift when applicable for an extra boost. A suspension boost
A suspension lift is a good option for most Jeep Wranglers because they are very effective. They are more expensive than a body lift but are still very affordable. A suspension lift will increase the clearance of the vehicle from between two and six inches.
This can be combined with a body lift for an even greater added lift. A suspension lift allows the tires more room for articulation over rocky and bumpy terrains for off-roading. Increasing the height of Jeep may make it more difficult to drive on a regular road.
A good lift kit will add extensions to many of the essential steering components of the car to prevent any loss of handling or power. One type of Jeep Wrangler suspension lift is called a short arm lift, which will require you to install bigger sway bar links, shocks, and coil springs.
For upgrading the steering the control arms should also be updated and extended. Coil lifts are another type of suspension lift, and this type of lift requires larger coil springs in addition to new shocks. A larger lift will also require you to extend the brake lines.
Leveling Kit vs. Suspension Lift: How Do I Choose On For My Jeep?
The two main types of lift kits that are available are leveling kits and suspension lifts. A leveling kit is a type of body lift. Body lifts are a less expensive and more budget-friendly solution to lifting your Jeep Wrangler, however it only adds inches in appearance and not in clearance for off-roading activities.
If you are unsure of whether or not you should choose a leveling kit or a suspension lift for your Jeep Wrangler, this section of the buying guide can help. Consider the following things when deciding between a leveling kit, body lift kit, or suspension lift.
When considering whether to choose a leveling kit or a suspension lift for your Jeep Wrangler you should consider your budget in the early stages of planning.
The price of a body lift is a lot less than that of a suspension lift. If you are looking for a budget-friendly solution, you should go with a body lift or a lift that is less than 3.75 inches.
If you are planning on going off-roading with your Jeep Wrangler, you should be aware that a body lift is only for appearance and will not add any extra clearance.
What Model of Jeep Do You Have
Depending on the model of Jeep that you own, a body lift or a suspension lift may be more or less difficult to install. In the older models of Jeep, a body lift may be just as expensive as a suspension lift because of the amount of parts that need replacing, so you may want to go with a suspension lift to make the most out of your budget.
If you are modifying your Jeep Wrangler for the purpose of going off-roading, you should go with a suspension lift kit instead of a body lift kit. A body lift will level the front tires with the back tires so the Jeep stands taller, but it does not offer much more clearance for off-roading activities.
A suspension installation can be more expensive than a body lift, but it will give you more clearance for going over bumpy terrains. It also will allow you to add larger tires that are optimized for off-roading activities. It is easier to find tires with more surface area and grip for larger sizes.
What Size Tires Can I Put On My Jeep After A Lift?
A 2.5-inch lift will allow you to add 35-inch tires to most Jeep Wranglers, and in some cases, you may need up to a 3.5-inch lift for this size tires.
If you are installing 35-inch tires you will also want to accommodate the Jeep’s geometry by updating the front and rear track bars and the upper and lower front control arms to realign the front axle.
To upgrade to tires that are 37 inches or larger you will need a suspension kit of 4 inches or taller. Most of the suspension in the Jeep Wrangler will need to be replaced for tires of this size.
JK Wranglers can handle 33-inch tires without any extensions, but for off-roading, a body lift is recommended to add the necessary clearance. For a JL Wrangler, you can swap out the stock tires for 33-inch tires by adding a 1.5-2 inch lift.
Does Lifting A Jeep Cause Problems?
There are some problems that could occur when lifting a Jeep, but a high-quality lift kit will counteract these problems and in some cases even improve these areas of function on the vehicle.
In this section of the Jeep Wrangler lift kit buying guide we will give you an overview of the possible problems that can occur from lifting a Jeep Wrangler and how you can prevent them.
- Reduces Power – If you do not regear the axles on the Jeep Wrangler when you are adding a lift you may take power away from the vehicle, lowering the amount of MPG’s as well as how fast you can go. This is why lifting a Jeep is recommended only if you are planning on going off-roading with it, and not purely for aesthetic purposes. Regearing the axles along with the suspension lift can prevent the loss of power.
- Reduces Miles Per Gallon – Another issue that can arise with the loss of power that could possibly occur from lifting a Jeep Wrangler is that it could reduce the miles per gallon which the vehicle runs at, costing you more money in gas over time and being worse for the environment.
- Causes Steering and Handling Problems – Raising the Jeep Wrangler higher off of the ground with a suspension or lift kit can cause handling issues because the higher center of gravity makes the vehicle harder to control. Adding new track bars and control arms can prevent you from losing power or loss of steering when lifting your Jeep Wrangler.
- Could Negatively Affect Tire Alignment – If the installation of the lift kit is done incorrectly or with the wrong parts it could affect the alignment of the tires in a negative way, causing the jeep to dart out of control. To prevent this from happening, new parts should be added to match the size of the increased tires.
What Brands Of Lift Kits Are Most Popular For Jeep Lift Kits?
If you are wondering where to start in your search for the best lift kit for your Jeep Wrangler, you can start by looking at the best-selling brands.
We recommend shopping with accredited brands that have experience and happy customers to back up their claims. The following list of brands are the industry leaders in Jeep lift kits and you can depend on them for reliable products. These are our recommendations for Jeep lift kit brands:
Teraflex is a best-selling manufacturer of lift kits who make various kits for multiple heights and applications. The parts included in Teraflex kits are coated in a rust-repellent finish for maximum off-roading performance over time.
They only use the highest quality materials in the construction of the parts for their lift kits, that are guaranteed to stand the test of time. There are many different customization options available to you through the Teraflex brand.
Another one of the leading manufacturers of Jeep Wrangler lift kits that is currently on the market is AEV. They are one of the industry’s leaders in quality and performance when it comes to lift kits.
All of their parts are manufactured in the USA out of the highest quality materials. Even with extreme modifications, their Jeep lift kits are made to retain and improve the on-road performance of the Jeep in addition to lifting it higher for increased off-road clearance.
Mopar creates high-performance parts for a variety of models and makes of vehicles including the Jeep Wrangler. They have eight decades of industry experience creating some of the best quality products on the market.
They serve consumers all around the globe with high-quality parts and tools for customizing and modifying vehicles. They are one of the most globally-acclaimed manufacturers of Jeep Wrangler lift kits because of their state of the art technology and innovative team.
What Lift Kit Is Best For A Jeep?
Jeep Wrangler YJs (87-95)
These heavy metal suspensions manufactured by Heavy Metal Performance are made to add a two inch lift to the front and the back of the Jeep Wrangler.
It comes with everything you need including an easy to read guide that walks you through the installation process. This is a safe way to lift the vehicle and Heavy Metal Performance only uses the highest grade steel which is guaranteed to last even under harsh conditions.
These parts are made out of high-grade hardware that will not break under pressure.
- Made of high-quality steel
- Lifts vehicle without compromising ride quality
- Two to three hour installation process
- Instructions included
- Two door or four door Jeep Wrangler
- Front Carbon Steel Add-A-Leaf Kit
- Poly Isolator Pads
- Rear Carbon Steel Add-A-Leaf Kit
- Comes with hardware
Jeep Wrangler TJ (97-06)
This lift kit by Daystar is an affordable solution to adding bigger tires to your Jeep Wrangler TJ. It adds 1” to the body which allows you to add bigger tires with more grip and surface area than smaller tires.
The kit comes with everything you need including an easy to read instruction guide. Included with the purchase is sleeves, lift, bolts, hardware, and radiator core supports.
- Parts warranty
- Easy to install
- Adds 1” of lift
- Accommodates larger tires
- Radiator Core Supports
Jeep Wrangler JK (07-18)
This lift kit by Old Man Emu is one of the best on the market for 2007-2018 models of the Jeep Wrangler JK. It fits both the 2-door and the 4-door.
This kit is made in Australia and tested on the rough Australian terrain for performance and driveability. This kit not only lifts the vehicle, but also optimizes the suspension. This lift kit eliminates any problems with stabilization in handling that can occur with a lift of this height.
- 4 inch suspension lift
- Fits 2 door and 4 door models
- Bumpstop Spacers
- Spring Bushings
- NitroCharger Sports Shocks
- Made in Australia
- On-road and off-road
- Suspension optimization
Jeep Wrangler JL (18-Present)
This lift kit is perfect for Jeep Wranglers that are made in the year 2018 or beyond. These lift kits are some of the best-selling on the market and are made by the EVO Manufacturing brand.
They manufacture a variety of lift kits to suit all sorts of customizations. The installation process for these lift kits is super simple which is why so many people prefer these over others.
It requires no drilling or cutting to install this suspension lift kit, unlike other lift kits. This lift kit will add 2.5” of height onto the vehicle, and the same brand makes lift kits that can add upwards of 3.5” or more.
- Smooth on and off road performance
- Fits up to 37” tires
- Improves braking and driveline
- Control arm brackets
- With or without shock extensions
What Size Tires Can I Put On My Jeep Without A Lift?
The stock wheel size for a Jeep Wrangler varies between 15” and 17”. Without any sort of modifications, most JK Wranglers can be driven with 33-inch tires. The difference between a 29 inch tire and 33 inch tires is a lot and will give the car visibly more height without the additional modifications needed for a body lift or suspension lift.
You will want to consider the overall height of the both the rim and the tire put together. The right combination of tires will give the Jeep more eight without interfering with the performance of the other components of the vehicle.
A simple body lift or leveling kit can upgrade the height of your Jeep Wrangler at a cost-effective rate. You can alter the Jeep Wrangler’s fender flares to give more room for larger tires without lifting the Jeep.