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How Much Does a Monster Truck Cost | Buying vs. Building

If you’re thinking about breaking into the monster truck business or are just curious about what those guys are paying, this article is for you. As you might expect, owning and operating one of these beasts is costly, although someone could cut back on some of the up-front costs by “souping up” a used vehicle.

Building a custom monster truck will cost you anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 initially.  Buying a used monster truck costs between $20,000 to $70,000. However, used monster trucks are difficult to find and might not have all the specifications you want anyway.

This article will compare the costs of buying a used monster truck versus building your own. It’ll also outline the cost of each part and where you’re able to get them.

Monster Truck Cost Analysis

There’s no getting around it: Owning a monster truck will cost you a lot of money. When you’re just starting, you have to decide how much you want to pay upfront. Ultimately, though, you’ll probably end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on your truck throughout its lifetime.

Most Expensive Monster Truck

Since monster trucks aren’t typically bought wholesale at an auto store, it’s hard to say what the most expensive monster truck ever built is, but one of the most high-profile costly monster trucks was the Sin City Hustler, which went on sale for one million dollars in 2015, according to Motor Authority.

That’s pricier than most monster trucks will be, but not unheard of, considering that monster trucks are some of the most powerful vehicles out there.

Can You Buy a Real Monster Truck?

You’re unlikely to find a new monster truck for sale. This is because monster trucks aren’t manufactured the same way that regular cars are since they’re so expensive to make.

Monster trucks are either custom-built or refurbished from a pickup truck. If you don’t want to build a monster truck yourself, you’ll have to buy used.

Here’s a rundown of what it can cost to buy a monster truck used vs. how much building one yourself will cost.

Used Monster Trucks

Buying a used monster truck can cost from $20,000 to about $70,000, depending on how large it is, the quality of the truck, and where you’ll be buying it.  

Where To Buy a Used Truck

If you’re looking to buy a used monster truck, you may have trouble finding one unless you know someone who’s selling their old model. Monster trucks are specialty vehicles, and not everyone has one sitting in their garage.

Some websites occasionally have used monster trucks for sale. Craigslist frequently has monster trucks up for sale, so check around your area every few weeks if you want to buy a used truck. Racing Junk is another great resource for used monster trucks.

These can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $70,000, depending on what kind of car you’re looking for. This is significantly more affordable than building a truck of your own and is typically much much easier.

That said, note that used cars can have all sorts of issues that aren’t immediately visible, especially in heavily modified cars like monster trucks. Because of that, you may prefer to buy a truck from someone you know and trust.

What To Watch Out for When Buying Used

If you’re ever buying a used monster truck (or car, for that matter), you want to double-check a few things:

  • How many miles does the truck have on it?
  • What kind of damage has the truck had in the past?
  • When did an auto technician last see this vehicle?
  • Can I take a look at the oil?
  • Is this truck able to tow trailers or other cars?
  • Why are you selling this monster truck?
  • Can I take this for a test drive?

You might think that minor things such as checking the motor oil don’t matter, but if left unchecked, they can lead to a huge amount of extra costs down the road—and tell you a lot about the condition of the car. So, save yourself the headache by asking these questions upfront!

Costs To Build a Monster Truck

It can be tricky to find a used monster truck, so you may find it easier to build a monster truck of your own.

Building a monster truck will cost you anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000. Of course, this could vary depending on the quality of the parts you get.

First, you’ll need to buy each part. Here’s a breakdown of all the costs to build a monster truck you’ll need to anticipate going in.

Body of Truck: $20,000 to $50,000

The first thing you’ll need is the body of the monster truck. There are a few different ways you can go about this.

Pro Tip: The easiest thing to do is to use a donor body. Donor bodies are pickup trucks that are essentially gutted and fitted with the machinery, making a monster truck so monstrous. Find a sturdy car that can fit a supercharged engine, like a Ford or Dodge truck. You can get a used car, but make sure that it’s still in relatively good shape.

The second thing is to create your frame, body, and chassis for the car. This is a daunting task unless metalwork is something you have experience with. Luckily, you can contact companies that can build these parts for you. Patrick Enterprises builds these parts on a private basis. Reach out to a company like this if you’d like to create your frame and body.

4 Large Tires: $12,000 to $24,000

Monster truck tires are huge. Even if you have a donor body from a refurbished pickup truck, anyone will be able to tell that you own a monster truck from these big old tires.

The best kind of tires for monster trucks are called flotation tires. They’re much wider and heavier than regular tires and are meant to keep their grip even while driving over loose dirt.  

Firestone makes flotation tires in many different styles and sizes. However, if you want to buy from the official Monster Jam supplier, BKT is another great, reliable manufacturer.

How Much Do Monster Truck Tires Cost?

Monster truck tires can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 per tire, totaling at least $12,000 to get a full set. Keep in mind that you’re probably going to want to replace the tires of a used monster truck anyway, so this expense will probably be necessary no matter what.

How Much Does a Monster Truck Tire Weigh

A monster truck tire will usually weigh somewhere between 600 to 900 lbs (272.1 – 408.2 kg) and are usually only inflated to about eight to 23 PSI pressure. The official tire size for Monster Jam is 66″ (167.6 cm) tall by 43″ (109.2 cm) wide.

Engine: $5,000 to $20,000

Monster trucks need an engine that will run 1,500 horsepower, significantly more than your average car. In addition, they need to be supercharged with a supercharger component, which provides the engine with more oxygen to burn fuel.

An engine will cost you as little as $5,000 or up to $20,000, depending on whether you buy new or used. Manufacturers like Ford usually have sites where you can purchase an engine directly from them. Make sure to get a supercharger kit as well.

Shock Absorbers: $100 to $1,000

Shock absorbers for monster trucks are also specialty-sized and built for extreme impact. After all, a monster truck is far more likely to make a hard impact with the ground than your average car.

You can buy these from Knight Stalker Enterprises in California or any other specialty shock manufacturer. Prices aren’t listed on their website, but you can expect to pay at least several hundred dollars for them.

Other Odds & Ends: Around $10,000

Those are the biggest things you need to consider when building a monster truck, but you’ll want to buy several other things before taking your newly built truck out for a test drive.  

Costs for these items will vary greatly depending on what you buy, but you should factor in around $5,000 to $10,000 for extras like the following:

  • Fire Extinguishers: Whether you’re driving your truck in a competition or just for fun, keep a fire extinguisher or two in the truck, just in case. These are big, powerful cars, and you want to make sure you’re able to stop a disaster in its tracks.
  • Seatbelts or Harnesses: Even if you just have a donor car, install some secure seatbelts in every seat of your monster truck. Being so high off the ground will lead to some big bounces, and the last thing you want is to get thrown in the air while driving one of these monsters.
  • Custom Seat: If you built a chassis and body, you’d need to install a custom seat inside the shell of your car. Making the seat fit your body will ensure that even if the car is bumped around, the driver will stay snugly in place. Again, expect to pay several thousand for a seat from a reliable company like Butler Built.
  • Remote Ignition Interrupter (RII): Also known as the “kill box,” this small handheld device or switch will help you shut off your car if you’re in a crash. This is critical for high-impact vehicles like monster trucks and will cost you a few hundred dollars. You can buy them from 3Built or other specialty tech companies.

Benefits of Building Instead of Buying

If you know a person with a monster truck that they want to take off their hands, buying a used monster truck is probably the way to go, as long as you know the vehicle is in good shape. Building a truck is costly and requires a lot of know-how. Making a mistake can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

That said, building your monster truck is your best option most of the time. Here are some of the reasons building a truck is better than buying used one:

  • It’s the best way to get auto knowledge.
  • You’ll intimately know your car and how it works.
  • Repairs will be easier since you’ve already worked with all the parts before.
  • It’s difficult to find used monster trucks in good condition.

How To Earn Money With a Monster Truck

Monster trucks do NOT pay for themselves. If you’re taking your truck through tough terrain or driving it over other cars, you’ll have to get parts replaced and maintained constantly.

So how do you afford a monster truck? Many drivers end up using their monster truck in fairs and rallies.

How Much Do Monster Trucks Make Per Show?

Shows like Monster Jam offers no cash prizes but instead pay their drivers for contract labor. As a result, wages will vary based on who the driver works for and how popular they are.

Organizations don’t explicitly state what they pay their highest-paid monster truck drivers, but most stars make money with sponsorships. You only will get a sponsor if you have some experience, though. So don’t go seeking out sponsorships if you don’t even have a monster truck.

How Much Does a Monster Truck Driver Make Per Show?

New drivers can expect to earn anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 per show. Look up monster truck rallies and fairs taking place near you and contact them to figure out how to start participating.

Related What Is the Best Selling Motorcycle of All Time?

Monster Truck FAQ

If you’re considering buying or building a monster truck, there are a few other things you should consider before taking the plunge!

How Fast Can a Monster Truck Go?

The fastest speed a monster truck has gone so far is 100 MPH (160.9 km/h), according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Because of their size, monster trucks might not look like they can go very fast, but they can achieve pretty decent speeds thanks to their engines.

Who Is the Highest-Paid Monster Truck Driver?

Organizations don’t explicitly say what they pay their truck drivers, but  Dennis Anderson is reportedly the highest-paid monster truck driver. Anderson’s car, Grave Digger, has nearly 30 sponsors. 

What Happened to Monster Truck Bigfoot?

The first monster truck was called Bigfoot, and it was created after owner Bob Chandler added enough major updates to the truck that it became massive and began to attract media attention.

Bigfoot has continued partnering with different brands well into the 2000s and has spawned more than 20 other “Bigfoot-inspired” trucks.

Chandler was just an auto repair shop owner in a small town who modified his truck to be exactly what he wanted. Any aspiring monster truck builders can take a cue from Bob Chandler!

Are Monster Trucks Illegal?

You’re probably not seeing a lot of monster trucks out on the road when you drive around your neighborhood. But have you wondered if it’s illegal to drive monster trucks from place to place?

The truth is that in most states, the height of the monster truck will make it illegal simply because the headlights are raised off the ground too high. In states like Alaska and Washington, where the headlights can’t be more than 54 inches (137.1 cm) off the ground, your headlights might be too high.

That said, if you have one of the smallest monster trucks possible, you might be able to take your truck out for a drive. Make sure to check your state’s transportation department website to see if you can take your monster truck on the streets.

Is It Hard To Drive a Monster Truck?

Driving a monster truck isn’t “hard” if you know what you’re doing. If you’re experienced driving a regular-sized pickup truck, you should be able to drive a monster truck with ease.  

The tricky part is maintaining control when you’re taking it out onto the dirt, rolling it over junk cars, and making hard turns. You can get exhilarated when driving such a cool vehicle and accidentally make a quick mistake that turns into a big crash.

You may want to install roll bars on your truck for this reason. Also, never go too fast until you gain some experience!

How Much Does It Cost To Rent a Monster Truck??

If all this sounds like a huge undertaking, or maybe just sounds completely out of your price range, you’ll be happy to know you can still get a taste of driving a monster truck and pay much less. Several services will rent monster trucks out to drive or for events.

Monster truck rentals usually start at $500. Search the Internet for “monster truck rentals” in your area.

What Is The Smallest Monster Truck In The World?

The world’s smallest monster truck is the Bobcat Nanowagon, according to Cosmos Magazine. This nano vehicle from Ohio University is only 3.5 nanometers long and is made out of a compound called pseudorotaxane.

This neat little car obviously won’t fit any people inside it, and it won’t go much faster than a few miles per hour. The size of its wheels compared to its body makes it technically a monster truck, but it’s not one you would want to take to a rally.

Other than the Bobcat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any miniature monster trucks.  After all, the whole point is to go big and go fast.

Final Thoughts

If you’re an aspiring monster truck driver and are looking into getting a truck of your own, it will cost you much more money to build your truck than buy a used one. If you find a quality used monster truck at a reasonable cost, you will save yourself a lot of time and money by buying instead of building.

But if you want to learn about car mods and earn bragging rights for life, you might find it worth it to put together your monster truck. You’ll know exactly when something goes wrong and how to fix it. Now, you’ll have a better idea of whether building a monster truck makes sense for you.

Thanks for reading! For more, don’t miss How Much Does a Used Car Dealer Make per Car? | Average Markup.