Calling attention to the suspension of a car is oftentimes overlooked by vehicle owners. While it’s true that purchasing a set of coilovers and every bolt-in bar may make you happy because of appearance alone, this is nothing more than a massive misconception.
The right suspension setup requires thinking just like you would when picking out the correct pair of shoes. You typically wouldn’t wear a pair of basketball shoes to play football, just like you wouldn’t pick sneakers to play football. But how to choose the right suspension system for your car?
Several types of suspension setups are available, each acknowledging the need to deal with specific conditions. So to decide the right configuration, you’ll first have to learn what options are available to you, their functionality, what conditions they work best in, and what circumstances they aren’t suitable for.
Don’t worry; we have done the job for you, just read through this article and choose your one.
How To Choose The Right Suspension System For Your Car
As we hinted earlier, when you’re searching for the most suitable suspension setup for your car, the first thing is to understand different types of suspension based on the driving conditions. So, let’s first get acquainted with different suspension options for particular driving scenarios.
There is no Harm to Keep in Stock
The stock suspension system in your automobile is developed over the course of many engineering assessments in case you plan to sell it or once it is passed down to another proprietor. It is a continuous battle with purposes that were overlooked during vehicle development to figure out exactly what the suspension needs.
Because of the focus, the suspension components were chosen in order to be equal to other components that would survive for many years without needing to be changed out.
This is why keeping to your car’s stock suspension settings is a good option if you keep your car for enhancing your performance or exploring. All the hard work has already been done for you in arriving at the desired suspension settings, so all you need to do is maintain them as they are.
Enjoy Handling with Track-ready Suspensions
If you want to utilize your vehicle’s handling to the fullest then a track or race-oriented suspension is best. It’s tough to figure out the right setup for your car due to the many aftermarket suspension options out there, but look for research to get the ideal setup.
There isn’t a universal formula here, as everyone will have different preferences. Generally speaking, you’ll search for a coilover setup with slightly stiffer springs coming from the factory. This will help dissipate the roll of the car and give you more precise traction while traveling.
Make certain to acquire a set of coilovers that has just the right amount of damper control options, since too much adjustment can lead to the troublesome procedure of finding the setup that’s the suitable match for your vehicle. What’s more, you’ll want your car to be tuned at a good suspension shop so they’ll know exactly how to tune the coilovers for your car.
You can also explore the capabilities of an air suspension setup for enjoying an adventurous driving experience. Keep in mind that, otherwise, the system may require several adjustments or omits to work altogether if there are active leaks in the system. When you’re on a budget it’s also sensible to focus on a popular set of aftermarket springs and shocks that are compatible with each other.
Suspension for Off-roaders
In off-roading, you must ensure the highest possible degree of flexibility in your suspension system. That’s because having four wheels surface-to-surface at all times allows you to have a superior grip on snow-covered slick or uneven terrain.
To take advantage of this, investing in a suspension lift kit, a removable anti-sway bar, and long-travel shock absorbers are all essential. Off-road driving can be divided further into more specialized forms, but flexibility in the suspension setup is still essential. If you are rallying, you will require a car suspension that can face a number of tough bumps for a short time.
As long as you’re rock crawling, endurance in the suspension setup will be essential. Alongside, you’ll want to find a set of properly matched tires to mount on your vehicle, too. Some vehicles generally come off the road at the factory that can receive the vehicle to create an organized off-road drive.
Suspension For Decent Street Drivers
If you’re more interested in a leisurely drive than smashing your vehicle with an aggressive appearance, you should take a look at shock and spring combo sets. But don’t go with just any set of suspension systems you purchase at random off the web.
Always ensure that you are purchasing shocks from a trusted manufacturer to be certain that they won’t put undue wear and tear on your springs. For those looking for a slightly higher level of adjustment, many new coilovers have been created especially for those drivers seeking comfort while riding daily.
However, some of them may have limited adjustment features. In such cases, it’s wise to invest in a readjustment device like the camber adjuster.
Cool and Low – Suspension for Aesthetics
If you only want a fancy suspension setup or would like your car to have the lowest possible ride height, then you might want to explore an air suspension system. Such suspension setup lets you raise and lower your vehicle’s ride height by as much as you would like to.
Your vehicle can look slammed to the ground during a car show, and of course, you can take it back to the standard ride height for usual driving days. You’ll find air suspension system kits readily available for purchase today. They are going to have a somewhat steeper cost but will perform efficiently.
Once again, remember that they are more complicated to work with in the event of leaks in the system. As a general note, you will need to install the air canister onto your car, if you haven’t already.
However, if you are seeking a lower or show look, be prepared to pony up the cash for a high-quality system. This is because opting for a cheap setup could result in numerous issues in the long run. In that case, a different alternative you can pick is a static suspension.
For this, you can install a high-quality set of coilovers or a combination of good shocks and lower springs. Your vehicle will whirl forward because there is a mechanically fixed height because of this suspension system.
However, you can further tune the car ride’s effectiveness because of all the coilovers and custom configurations that are possible. You can also choose between this system and the track if you want to go in for an all-around suspension installation.
Things to Consider While Searching for the Right Suspension Setup
Of course, the story of choosing the right suspension setup can be ended when what suspension setup works best in a particular condition and driving style, but there is nothing harmful in being extra careful. So, read the following section to learn about some important considerations.
Determine Your Purpose
As you can see we have discussed various suspension setups depending on different driving scenarios. Now, you should first determine what purpose your suspension setup will serve when it rages. So, is it to street race, race down canyons, push your vehicle on uneven terrain, drift, and so on? Each of these often is at a different intensity than the other.
Alongside, the various driving styles put different demands on the car’s chassis, so you must ensure the suspension setup meets those requirements. The stories read online don’t hold the truth all the time since there is no such thing as an unquestionable setup. As adjusting the settings for suspension affects the way the car is driven, these configurations don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.
Ride Quality vs. Performance
- Refers to how smoothly and comfortably a vehicle travels over various road surfaces.
- Higher ride quality typically means better absorption of road imperfections, leading to a more comfortable experience for passengers.
- Systems like air suspension and higher-end coilovers offer superior ride quality.
- Involves the vehicle’s handling characteristics, including responsiveness, stability, and grip during maneuvers.
- Performance-oriented suspensions are often stiffer, providing better handling and reduced body roll in corners.
- Coilovers and performance shocks are popular for enhancing performance, especially in sports and performance cars.
Load Capacity and Durability
- The ability of the suspension system to handle weight is crucial for trucks and utility vehicles.
- Leaf springs are known for their high load capacity, making them ideal for heavy-duty applications.
- The lifespan and robustness of the suspension components under various conditions.
- Durability is affected by materials, design, and the type of suspension. Coil springs and leaf springs are typically very durable.
Maintenance and Longevity
- Regular checks and maintenance can prolong the life of the suspension system.
- Some systems, like air suspensions, require more frequent maintenance due to their complexity.
- The lifespan of the suspension system before major components need replacement.
- Coilovers and standard springs can have long lifespans if maintained properly.
Be Cautious About Tires
The next step is to decide on which tires you wish to use. Yeah, you read it right, we’re talking about tires. As the tires rub directly on the ground, the force of the load transmitted by the tire to the ground depends on the suspension setup. The influence factor is how much traction the tires can reliably grasp.
For this reason, most renowned manufacturers offer different grades of suspensions. Companies that make suspensions during the development process recognize the most essential use for the suspension and match the components to an appropriate tire height.
Commuter-level coilovers tend to have a bullish rate for a low-profile street tire. In contrast, close competition-level suspension components are designed specifically for challenger tires such as high-speed rallies or circuit r-compounds.
Overdoing your suspension will progressively wear down the tires while cheapening your suspension system will prevent you from reaching tire performance.
Think about the Spring Rate or Stiffness
It is crucial not simply to contemplate what tire you are running, but likewise to look at how your suspension will perform along with having the capacity to control your car. Since your vehicle’s job is to turn and steer once your tires have come off, the spring and shock absorber’s stiffness must be in proportion to one another.
Basically, the single biggest rule is the setting of no power, low grip tires, with a stiff suspension. More power and taller grip tires are superior to a point but with a soft setup. Many companies now make suspension systems expressly intended for drifting.
This allows a suspension that possesses better understeer, as most drifters prefer. Whereas in road racing, professional drivers prefer a car whose tires are set up neutrally or with stiffer suspension.
Think about how much money you invest in tool pivots, along with how much vertical assistance the steering arms provide. What you’ll be focusing on as you drift is the steering angle, caster and camber your hardware will give you. In addition, as your skills increase, don’t forget that the further you drive, the greater the lateral forces will be, which calls for sturdy steering devices.
If your vehicle’s suspension is not functioning or if you’re having all-terrain vehicle troubles, you have several choices that depend on the expense of the repair compared to your comfort level by experimenting with the repair yourself. Installing low springs is normally the least expensive choice, but you need to be careful to only install springs built specifically for your vehicle.
Coilovers will cost you more, but you’ll get complete control over where you want the ride to go. Air suspensions are the most expensive, but you’ll get access to top-of-the-line ride comfort and vehicle control, and you’ll even be able to independently control the ride height of the vehicle. Regardless of your financial status, one of these options may be suitable to meet your needs.