Lexus IS: Lowering Modifications

Here are some of the common lowering modifications for the Lexus IS.

By Brett Foote - November 17, 2014

This article applies to the Lexus IS (2005-2013).

Whether you are looking to improve your handling or simply drop your car in the weeds to show off, there are a number of ways to achieve that ground scraping look. This guide will give you a rundown on what you can do to lower your Lexus, starting with some simple and inexpensive upgrades and progressing on to what can turn out to be major projects.

Coil-overs vs. Springs: The Big Debate

There is a lot of debate on Internet forums over the best method for lowering a Lexus: coil-overs or springs. Coil-overs are typically more expensive and can have a shorter life span depending on your driving habits. They do allow for precise adjustments, which make them a necessity for those looking to get their car as close to the ground as possible. Springs are cheaper, but usually must be accompanied by new shocks. The OEM ones don't last long under upgraded springs.


Figure 1. A set of coil-overs for an IS 250.

DIY Cost – $500-$1,600
Professional Cost – $1,000-$2,500
Skill Level – Moderate to advanced: requires a decent amount of skill and some specialized tools.

Coil-overs aren't the cheapest way to lower your Lexus, but they offer the ability to make finite adjustments. This is important if you want to get your car as low as possible. They may only last you 2-3 years depending on the type of roads you drive on, and depending on how much you drive.

Springs and Shocks

Figure 2. A set of lowering springs for a Lexus IS 250.

DIY Cost – $200-$300 for springs, $320-$500 for shocks
Professional Cost – $400-$700 for springs, $500-$700 for shocks
Skill Level – Moderate: requires some technical know-how and specialized tools to complete.

Springs are the cheapest and easiest way to drop your Lexus. Though OEM shocks can be used, it is recommended to purchase special lowered shocks as well when putting in a set of springs. OEM shocks typically wear out very quickly once the vehicle is lowered, as they weren't designed to handle the added stress. The trade off is you won't have the ability to make adjustments that you would with a set of coil-overs, but the cost difference is significant and those just seeking a slight drop likely won't need that capability.


Figure 3. An IS with an airbag suspension.

DIY Cost – $2,800-$4,000
Professional Cost – $4,000-$6,000 for parts and installation
Skill Level – Advanced: requires technical know how and specialized tools.

Airbags have a lot of advantages over the other methods for lowering your Lexus, but they come with a pretty high price tag. Airbag setups provide the ability to adjust your car's ride height with the push of a button, which is key for people who want to be able to daily drive and show off their ride. Airbags also have a reputation for a smooth ride and basically maintenance-free operation. If you can afford the initial price of entry, "bagging" your ride is a great choice.

Featured Video: Lexus IS Lowering Mods

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