In the modified car community, lowering your ride is one of the first modifications that majority of people do. When done properly, lowering your car can have a lot of benefits other than looking good. But this depends on how you lower your vehicle. Cutting or “chopping” the springs or any suspension components is a big no no!!!. Starting with the most common form, lowering springs.
Lowering springs are the most cost effective way to drop your car. Most companies designed there springs to work with factory shocks as well as aftermarket options. Lots of companies offer different springs that will drop the height of the car at set heights. These set heights differ from different makes and models but normally will start at around a 1.5 to 2 inch drop.
Lowering springs can be custom made as well, with some companies offering different spring rates (the stiffness of the spring) and also heights. When a custom made spring is ordered, aftermarket shock absorbers are recommended as most companies offer a short stroke shock. This means you can go lower but retain a good ride quality and improved handling.
These options are perfect for the daily driven street car and is a very cost affective modification to start the modifying game or for someone wanting to improve the look of their car on a budget.
Coilovers are a more hard core way to lower a vehicle. Coilovers have been used in race cars all around the world for years. This option is for the more serious car modifier where they can’t get the look they need with springs, weekend toys that are driven on the road and at the race track or just for the pure breed track car (circuit, drift, etc).
Coilovers are an adjustable shock absorber. The body of the shock is threaded and depending on the design can be “base” adjustable or “spring” adjustable. Coilovers can be a bit harsh on the road as they are meant for performance application but there are ways to make them comfy for a street car if preferred.
With “base” adjustable coilovers, the height of the car can be changed by rotating the shock body through the base of the coilover body. This does not affect the spring tension which means doesn’t make the car overly bouncy or overly soft. If this happens, coilovers have adjusters on the tops or base depending on the brand that can change the valving of the shock absorber. This lets you change from a softer, smoother ride quality to a very harsh, bouncy ride. That being said the harder settings are not recommend for road use and are meant for the race track.
“Spring” adjustable coilovers are adjusted by rotating the spring up or down on the shock. The positives about this is they are easy to adjust the heights. The companies that offer these coilovers take into consideration that the spring tension changes with height adjustments and designed the spring rate to suit.
Coilovers are perfect for the people that enjoy their cars on the road and at the race track. This option is for the people with medium range budgets with the more serious brands having expensive track only products.
Air bag suspension:
Air bag suspension is exactly as its name suggests. Air filled rubber bags to raise or lower the car at a flick of a switch or press of a button. Common in new high end SUV’s and widely used in the mini truck scene, where Air bag suspension gave people the freedom to slam there rides millimetres off the ground but can still raise it up to drive around. Air bag suspension can be costly and also requires engineering if not fitted from factory.
Air bags come as a kit or in some cases, need to be custom designed to suit your vehicle. Things that are required in Air bag kits are:
- The air bags- this can come in a bolt in “shock” style bag or just the bag itself where fabrication is needed to make mounts.
- Compressors- this is what creates the compressed air to lift the bags up when deflated
- Air tanks- this stores compressed air so the compressors don’t need to run all the time.
- Air lines- air lines are normally metal but some do have rubber lines, this connects the compressor to the tank and then the tanks to the bags.
These are the 4 main parts needed. Rest of it is all wiring, switches, regulators and valves. Air bags are recommended to be installed by professionals, more so when designing a custom kit to suit your vehicle. If fabrication of mounts is needed, make sure they are made by a qualified welder and fabricator.
This article is just a guide on some different ways you can lower your vehicle. If you would like more information on any of the options given, contact us here at AutoCraze on 1800 099 634 or email us at [email protected]
And remember, cutting springs is a big NO NO!! Stay safe and talk to us about options for your ride.