Lifting a Toyota Tacoma: What You Need to Know
Here's what you need to know if you want to give the most popular midsize pickup truck a bit of a lift.
The Toyota Tacoma is popular for its capability, reliability, and rugged looks — which happen to be backed up by a fair amount of capability right out of the box. Like Toyota's 4Runner SUV, all Tacoma trims (including the off-road-ready TRD Pro versions) have the same ground clearance. You'll find 9.4 inches for both two- and four-wheel drive models, but a bit more on some of the redesigned 2024 Toyota Tacoma models. That's fine for people who do light off-roading, but if you want to explore the more adventurous side of off-roading, a lift may be worth considering.
The Best Type of Lift for Your Toyota Tacoma
You can get an inexpensive body lift kit if your goal is to make your Tacoma look taller or want to add larger tires. 4Wheel Parts offers body lifts from two to three inches priced from around $400 to $800 for the latest models. There is some advantage to fitting larger, more aggressive tires when off-roading, but ground clearance remains the same. You must install a suspension lift for more ground clearance, which raises both the frame and the body from the axle, leaving more room for larger tires and allowing your Tacoma to clear larger obstacles (such as rocks) when off-roading.
A TRD Kit Lets You Lift Your Tacoma and Keep Its Factory Warranty
You can snag a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) suspension lift kit and keep your warranty in check if a Toyota-certified technician installs it. If you want to go higher than the TRD lift kit, you can turn to the aftermarket, but you may void parts of your factory warranty. The TRD lift kit will raise the truck's front suspension by two inches and the rear by an inch. The kit comes with Bilstein shocks and has been designed to work with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced driver's aids.
However, the TRD kit only works with some trims or model years of this Tacoma. You may also need an additional wiring harness. You can check for compatibility by entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the Toyota parts website. The cost of parts — without installation — is about $1,800.
If you want a higher lift, check out the six-inch aftermarket lift kits from Fabtech Motorsports. The Basic kit is about $2,600 and includes rear add-a-leaf springs, a differential skid plate, upgraded tie rods, and more. The Performance kit runs about $4,700 to $5,400, and adds upgraded shocks, with or without remote reservoirs.
Other Considerations When Lifting a Tacoma
With any suspension lift kit, you'll likely need new wheels with a specific backspace and width. Backspace is the measurement from the wheel's mounting surface to its back lip. You might also need to modify the Tacoma's exhaust or add longer brake lines. Re-gearing and a speedometer recalibration may also be necessary if you add larger tires.
Be ready to drop the differential, upgrade your CV joints or likely both, depending on the resulting geometry, as the angle of your axles could be too steep. You'll also want to add a new set of front upper control arms to help with high-speed stability and retain your alignment.
Lifting your Toyota Tacoma can give you more off-road capability, but its higher center of gravity could make it feel unstable. If paired with notably larger tires, fuel economy will likely suffer as well. Those are the sacrifices for gaining even more off-road capability.