ONE TREE PLANTED FOR EVERY LIFT KIT SOLD
Could we? Sure. Will we? No. Let me tell you why: Contrary to popular belief, a bigger lift will not allow you to fit a bigger tire (within reason). The limiting factor in how big of a tire you can fit is the lower spring retainer on the front struts. Over a certain diameter, the tire will contact the strut, regardless of how tall of a lift you install. There is no benefit to going bigger than 1.5" of lift. When we first set out to design a lift for the Prius we aimed for 2.5" of lift, and we quickly found out that the suspension, steering, and drivetrain components were all stressed well beyond factory tolerances. The ball joints, tie rods, CV axles, etc. demonstrated excessive stress making them subject to premature failure. This also provided a harsher ride which greatly detracted from the daily comfort of the Prius. So we went back to the drawing board and stepped it down to 2" and were still unhappy with the angles and strain placed on the components. So we stepped it down again and found the sweet spot right at 1.5". This tends to give the most "bang for the buck" in regards to ride height, ride quality, and overall safety and longevity of all steering, suspension, and drivetrain components. It might not sound like much, but 1.5" makes a HUGE difference in drivability both on and off road. Typically when you think of lifted vehicles you think of trucks and SUVs that START with 8+ inches of ground clearance. Think...RATIOS. A 1.5" lift on a Prius is comparable to a 3"+ lift on a modern full size pickup. The goal is to get the most amount of useable lift without sacrificing reliability, handling characteristics, ride, or safety. While also keeping it subtle and tasteful. We have tried lift heights ranging from 1" to 3" and 1.5" really is the happy median for all of these things. We will not compromise these things in order to gain a little more height.
There is no need to change your tire size and type as the lift is designed to work with your factory tires. However if you do choose to change tires, on average, add 2" diameter to the OEM tire size for the MAXIMUM that will fit after the lift is installed. The MAXIMUM tire size DOES NOT mean this is what we RECOMMEND. Bigger isn't always better and finding the right tire for your needs is paramount. Running the largest tire will also have the largest negative impact on fuel economy, handling, etc., and also leaves very little space for things like tire chains. Also, keep in mind that every tire manufacturer has a slightly different standard of measurement so a 215/70R15 might not be the same overall diameter between brands. Be sure to check your specific tire make/model for exact measurements and be prepared for the potential of minor trimming in order to get the MAXIMUM tire size to fit with some makes and models of tire. Personally we suggest shooting for a size somewhere in the middle of factory size and the maximum size. We like going with a tire that is between the OEM size and the maximum. This leaves room for things like tire chains if you ever need to run them while also minimizing the reduction to fuel economy and power over going with a larger tire.
For the past 3+ years I've received phone calls almost daily asking the same exact question "What tires should I buy?" After countless hours on the phone, in emails, texts, instagram messages, facebook messages, youtube comments, etc. trying to help guide people on what tire might be right for them I realized there had to be a better way to navigate this. I was getting pulled away from manufacturing products, shipping orders, designing new parts, etc. all for something that wasn't putting any money in the businesses pocket and in fact doing the exact opposite by pulling me away from it. Or worse yet l would get that dreaded upset phone call from the person that I spent all that time guiding them on tire choice only to find out they were upset at me because their fuel mileage dropped more than they expected it to, or the tires were too loud on road, or didn't provide enough traction off road, or needed to fit snow chains and didn't leave enough room for them, or a myriad of other complaints. Needless to say it only added salt to an already sensitive wound.
As much as I want to be able to help guide people on this question, everyones preferences are different and it isn't a way for us to stay in business. So I spent thousands of dollars hiring people much smarter than I am to design an app that could guide each customer through the tire gauntlet according to the exact requirements and preferences they might have. If you haven't tried it yet its at the top of our website under the "TIRES" tab. Regardless, it never fails that someone still reads through all the information we have to offer and still want's an exact answer for their specific setup. "What fuel mileage should I expect to see with XYZ tire in 123 size? Long answer short that no one wants to hear is "I don't know." Fact fo the matter is you could take two identical cars with the same setup of wheels, tires, lift, road conditions, wind direction, fuel quality, air temperature, battery life, etc. and two different drivers and yield entirely different results. Compound that with tire diameter, tire width, dread depth, tread pattern, rubber durometer, rolling resistance, etc. and the equation becomes that much more complex. What I do know is that the larger the tire the worse fuel economy, the wider the tire the worse fuel economy, the heavier the tire the worse economy, the more rolling resistance the... you get the point right? If you're concerned with fuel economy, DON'T SWITCH YOUR TIRES. If you still aren't satisfied with that answer and want a VERY ROUGH estimate plan on losing 1mpg off your current MPG for evert 1 pound of weight you add. Again, this is a very rough estimate but if i'm being cornered with a knife to my throat and have to give my best guess this is what I would say.
Personally I suggest that you install the lift first, use your stock tires until they are worn out, then decide if you want to change the size or type of tire. There are countless factors that determine the “right” tire: fuel economy, on/off road performance, road noise, diameter, width, and snow rating, just to name a few. A tire that does well off-road, is quiet and comfortable on-road, and delivers the best fuel economy DOES NOT EXIST. In other words, this is a tough decision!
To help you balance these tradeoffs, we’ve built the PriusOffroad interactive tire guide specifically for vehicles using our lift kits. This handy tool narrows your choices to a short list of specific models and sizes that are guaranteed to fit your car.
Backspacing, offset, diameter, width, weight, etc. Just like tires, the possibilities are endless and everyone's preferences and priorities are different. In our opinion, the OEM wheels that your Prius came with from the factory are hard to beat. Keep in mind that wheel size DOES NOT determine what size tire you can fit. A 27" tire will fit on a 15" wheel just as well as a 17" wheel, or 16" wheel. Finding an aftermarket wheel that is lighter, stronger, and with the correct backspacing/offset/width/diameter is next to impossible. If you are considering purchasing aftermarket wheels, 16” wheels tend to have more oversized tire options available while also balancing out the increase in tire diameter with tire sidewall when running an oversized tire, but once again, we suggest keeping your factory wheels and using those. PRIUS OFFROAD WILL NOT PROVIDE WHEEL SUGGESTIONS.
Contrary to popular belief, our lift does not reduce fuel economy. The majority of our customers have not seen a reduction to fuel economy with our lift alone or have stated if there was a reduction it wasn't noticeable (.5-1mpg) There have even been several “hyper-milers” that have seen a slight increase in fuel economy (.5-1mpg). Their belief is that with the increase in ground clearance they are forced to slow down for bumps and dips less often allowing them to maintain more momentum. However, this is not something that we have extensively tested or promote. Keep in mind that increasing tire size or changing tire type WILL often result in a reduction to fuel economy. We suggest after installing the lift to leave the factory tires on and enjoy the increase in ride height without a reduction in fuel economy prior to making a decision on which tires to buy.
Installation costs vary GREATLY depending on where you're located, the type of shop, and how familiar they are with the Prius. Typical prices range from $350-$600 but we’ve seen shops quote upward of $1000 if they aren’t familiar with the process. Once again this can vary GREATLY. We suggest calling one of the recommended installers listed on our installation page or calling your local Prius specialist since they will be much more apt to handle the installation than an off-road shop that will most likely laugh at the thought of lifting a Prius. Installation is no different than a strut replacement so technically any auto repair or brake and alignment shop is capable of the install. If they are unable/unwilling to do the installation ask them if they have any recommendations on who might be able to handle the installation in your area. As a last ditch effort you could also look for a mobile mechanic. If you plan on doing the installation yourself we have several detailed videos on our website outlining this process step-by-step as well as written instructions.
*PLEASE SEE KYB FITMENT ISSUE NOTICE AT BOTTOM OF THE PAGE*
If you're planning on installing our lift and have over 100k-150k miles on your struts AND are noticing poor driving/handling characteristics, now is an ideal time to consider replacing them since you will be removing them in order to install our lift. We ONLY RECOMMEND using KYB complete strut assemblies since this is what your vehicle and our lift was designed around. www.amazon.com www.ebay.com www.shocksurplus.com www.tirerack.com are great options for purchasing. We do not sell shocks/struts.
POPULAR KYB PART NUMBERS ARE LISTED BELOW:
FRONT RIGHT: SR4223 FRONT LEFT: SR4224 REAR RIGHT: SR4513 REAR LEFT: SR4514
FRONT RIGHT: SR4245 FRONT LEFT: SR4246 REAR RIGHT/LEFT: 349035
2012-2017 PRIUS V*
FRONT RIGHT: SR4520 FRONT LEFT: SR4521 REAR RIGHT/LEFT: 349218
This is one question we don't have a definitive answer for. With thousands of our lift kits on the road and cumulatively millions of miles of testing we have yet to see any parts fail and need to be warrantied. We also have numerous dealerships installing our lifts on brand new vehicles before leaving the showroom floor so our gut says warranty shouldn't be an issue. In all honesty, we feel it would ultimately boil down to the dealership and the part in question. If you install the lift and your window motor fails no dealership in their right mind would refuse replacement. On the other hand if you damage a suspension component rallying your Prius at your local OHV park theres a good chance the dealership is going to have some serious questions. All in all it's a risk we're willing to take and so far so good.
Little known fact: Due to offering more than one wheel/tire option from the factory, the speedometer in the Toyota Prius typically reads 1-2 MPH FASTER than your actual speed at 65mph in stock form. (Check it with an aftermarket GPS like Garmin, or GPS app like Waze next time you're on a trip). Increasing your tire size slightly typically tends to make the speedometer more accurate, and increasing the tire size again typically makes it 1-2 MPH SLOWER than your actual speed at 65 MPH. We have yet to find a way to calibrate the speedometer after larger tires have been installed. Although increasing your tire size will affect your speedometer, this is typically very minimal even going with the largest tire you can fit (ie: 2-3 mph off at 65 MPH). There are many online calculators that can calculate this for you like www.tiresize.com
There are three main components to alignment; camber, caster, and toe. Any time the ride height of a vehicle is adjusted, either up or down, the alignment needs to be corrected. The Prius does not come from the factory with a means to adjust camber or caster, which is why we have built in both camber and caster correction to our lift spacers. Toe on the other hand can only be adjusted physically through your tie rods. After your lift is installed an alignment will need to be preformed in order to get the toe back within factory spec. Typically this translates to .5 degrees of toe. Choosing to forgo an alignment will result in excessive tire wear to the inside edge of your tires.
As with many things the past couple years, international shipping has experienced more than its fair share of delays. We do everything in our power to make sure that packages get delivered to mail carriers as quickly as possible, but once they are in their hands it is entirely out of our control. It is not uncommon for international shipments to take 30+ days to arrive, so please anticipate and expect there to be delays with international shipments and give yourself and your package extra time for it to arrive. Your patience is greatly appreciated.
If you break our lift kit and live to talk about it, just send it back and we'll replace it free of charge. Thats right! We've made sure to cut no corners, leave no stone unturned, and produce the best lift kit for the Toyota Prius on the face of planet earth. We're so confident in the quality of our products we offer a LIFETIME GUARANTEE. If you're unsatisfied with your purchase you can return the NEW and UNUSED item for a refund within 30 days. Buyer responsible for return shipping cost and 10% restocking fee.*
We are firm believers in letting those that are good at what they do shine and simply getting out of their way so they can spread their wings and fly. When we first started offering aftermarket products for the Toyota Prius it was out of necessity; there simply wasn't a good option for a quality Prius lift on the market. When it comes to cat protection, that's definitely not the case, as there are a multitude of options out there. However, out of all the products and companies we have tried for deterring cat theft, Miller Cat had been the best one so far. Personally we suggest the stainless steel option as it's much harder for thieves to cut through than aluminum, and provides the best possible protection. If you order through their site and enter promo code "PRIUSOFFROAD" you'll even get 5% off your order.
Over the past year we have had a couple issues with newer KYB struts on the GEN 3 Prius and Prius V in both lifted and non-lifted form. After replacing the struts a popping/clunking noise would occur when turning or going over bumps. Upon further investigation we noticed the springs rubbing on the small bulges on the inside of the fender well (circled in yellow in the image below) causing the noise. When comparing the old KYB struts and new KYB struts it became apparent that the springs on the new KYB struts had a larger outside diameter than the old ones causing them to overhang beyond the spring retainers (demonstrated in the images below, circled in green and red). The easiest way to observe this is to place the struts on the ground with the side that would be towards the engine facing down and see if the spring touches the ground or the spring retainers touch the ground. If the spring touches the ground then it’s a good possibility that the spring will rub the bulges on the inside of the fender well. We also noticed that the new springs had an additional coil winding as well, with the old spring having 5 windings and the new spring having 6 windings. We have been in contact with KYB about these issues and unfortunately they have been unable to track down and pinpoint exactly where this production flaw is coming from, and haven’t been much help trying to mitigate the issue. Our assumption is that there was some change in the production process or production facility after COVID that created the issue.
CORRECTION: There are a handful of options for alleviating this issue.
1. The easiest and most time and cost efficient option is to take a mallet and tap in the bulges in until they are flush with the rest of the inner fender well (circled in red). This metal is very thin and does not take much effort to adjust.
2. You can disassemble the old and new struts and swap the original springs onto the new struts. This is quite time consuming and frustrating to have new struts and old springs.
3. You can order struts without the springs and use your original springs on the new struts.
4. Order all the OEM strut components (Strut, strut mount, bellow, insulator, spring, seat, etc.) directly from Toyota and assemble them yourself. This is the least cost efficient and most time consuming, but an option nonetheless.
Another thing we typically do on all installs to ensure the most amount of clearance between spring and inner fender well is we install the strut spacer on the strut with the spacer as far TOWARDS the fender well as possible. Then when we install the strut/spacer combo into the vehicle we pull it as far AWAY from the inner fender well as possible before tightening things down. The combination of these two things ensures that the spring and inner fender well have the most amount of clearance possible.
So far we have only seen this a couple times between the GEN 3 (2010-2015) Prius and the Prius V (2012-2017) but without much assistance from KYB to pinpoint and correct the production flaw our assumption is that we will start to see this issue more frequently. It’s always a good idea to check this clearance during the install process in order to alleviate having to disassemble things, fix the issue, and repeat the install process again.
After spending over a decade building prerunners and off-road vehicles we found ourselves logging 60K+ highway miles a year in trucks with the fuel economy of a fully loaded 1984 box van going uphill in a head wind. The need for a fuel conscious counterpart was inevitable and we reluctantly swallowed our pride for the allure of that elusive 50 mpg. It wasn't long before we fell in love with all the Prius had to offer and our once beloved trucks sat collecting dust. Soon after, we found ourselves behind the fuel sipping wheel on weekend off road adventures, even when the environment was better suited for a vehicle with more ground clearance. Determined to breathe new life into an otherwise incredibly well rounded vehicle we began to modify the Prius to better suit our needs, even if it meant sacrificing a little MPG in exchange for not ripping our skidplate off every time we pulled too far forward at a parking block or didn't painstakingly navigate that intersection or driveway approach. A little lift here, larger tires there, a 2" trailer hitch for the bike rack, a cargo platform, etc. It didn't take long until people were stopping us on the street, leaving notes under our wipers, or eagerly inquiring at our favorite BLM/National forest camp spots, where they could buy our products; and thus Prius Offroad was born!
We offer lift kits for the GEN 1, 2, 3, & 4 Toyota Prius, Prius V, Prius C, and Prius Prime. We also offer kits for the Toyota Corolla, Lexus CT200h, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Matrix, Scion TC and XB, and several others. Our lift kits consist of CAD drawn, laser cut, hand welded, American steel, front and rear strut/coil spacers made right here in the USA. All hardware is class 10.9 ensuring it meets or exceeds any and all factory specifications, and FAR surpasses any other kit on the market. Don’t settle for polyurethane spacers that dry out, crack, and fall apart. Don’t put your life in the hands of grade 5 hardware. We offer the only metal Prius lift on the market that also provides camber and caster correction, and most importantly DOES NOT require the removal and replacement of your pressed in factory hardware.
"Why not!?" We whole heartedly believe in the untapped and unsuspecting potential of not just the Prius, but so many other vehicles exiled to the back of the Starbucks parking lot. Our goal is to improve upon an already incredible vehicle by making it better suited for the active and outdoor lifestyle many of us Prius owners thrive in. Our focus is on gaining "just enough" ground clearance to avoid scraping your bumper on driveway approaches and parking blocks, high centering on speed bumps, or adventuring down your favorite dirt road. All without sacrificing fuel economy, drivability, or positive handling characteristics. Our kit also provides enough clearance to run up to a 2" larger diameter tire for even more off-road prowess.
Due to the high volume of calls we receive daily with questions that are answered above, please be sure to read through all of the FAQ, watch the installation videos, check the Facebook Groups, check out our youtube channel, etc. before calling in with questions. If you've made it this far and still have questions feel free to drop us an email or give us a call.
EMAIL: PRIUSOFFROAD@GMAIL.COM PHONE: (530)720-8687