The ride stability and performance of a car’s suspension system vary widely from driver to driver, which may be the most crucial part. Which parts work most effectively is the challenge for any designer in the automotive industry.
Air suspensions, magnetic dampers, or something else entirely, consulting a wide range of technologies might help. The most crucial part is determining what configuration will provide the greatest driving comfort with the best performance.
So, should you go for a stiff or soft spring setup? The soft or stiff setup depends on what kind of traveling you’ll be doing in your vehicle. A commuter’s trip differs from a desert racer’s, so the springs and shock absorbers used in the former won’t be entirely effective in the latter.
Similarly, if your race car is used to drive on a track, the suspension tuning required to cater to the softer setting won’t be the same as those for the harsh desert environment. To stay on the safe side, you should first be aware of both pros and cons of a stiff vs soft suspension setup. These are what we’re going to describe in this article.
Is a stiff suspension good?
Yes, the stiff suspension is good, but not for every driver and every driving condition, either. To be straightforward, a stiff suspension is mostly suitable for race tracks. That means when you have a sports car and want to roar on the track with fast speed and conquer all the tight corners swiftly, a stiff suspension is good for you.
The stiff suspension provides the best handling for drivers on tracks. The suspension is designed to keep the tires in contact with the earth at all times, which increases the drivability of the car. The stiff suspension protects the tires from being damaged by high velocities, pressure, and friction during races.
Drivers can get an effective ride if they have their vehicle’s suspension well-tuned. Along with the shock absorbers, drag racers understand precisely how critical a well-tuned modified suspension is. Stiff suspensions can still be customized to the vehicle’s needs, and each shock can be adjusted for a customized bounce. However, they aren’t good on bumpy roads or for off-roading.
Is a Soft Suspension Good?
Once again, you won’t ever find a soft suspension setup efficient in all driving scenarios and cars. In some areas, they’re absolutely terrifying. But, of course, if you choose a soft spring setup on a suitable road condition and vehicle, it will give you the performance and convenience you won’t get from the stiff setup.
A soft spring indicates that the probability that the vehicle will roll is low with a decreased spring rate. As a consequence of this, more force is exerted on the tire when you are driving over a bump in the road. This allows the tire to keep the required location intact when encountering a bump on the road.
At the same time, your tires will have more area of contact with the ground, even in significant drops along the pathway. In short, the soft spring setup is better at diverting any sort of road irregularities. This is why off-road vehicles lean towards soft spring settings.
Stiff Suspension Pros And Cons
Here comes the main point. So, let’s have a look at both pros and cons of stiff suspensions so that you can make your decision wisely, thinking of what consequence you’re going to experience.
Below are some of the notable benefits of stiff suspension:
Improved Handling at High Speed
To guarantee you have the optimum control over your vehicle at high-speed driving, you need a suspension system that is at least a bit stiff. If your suspension system is too supple, the wheels may lose traction if you encounter a hinder or bump in the road. As a consequence, your vehicle may become a whole lot more unsafe.
Facilitate Better Cornering or Taking Sharp Turns
With an adequately stiff suspension, the driver of a high-end vehicle enjoys better control at sharp turns or sudden stops, as the suspension can better maintain the track of the wheels and counteract the inward inclination of the vehicle.
Less Tire Wear
Stiffening the suspension of the automobile will help tires last far longer. The shocks will be able to soak up the compression and bounces without being transmitted to the vehicle, which will preserve your vehicle’s brakes, shocks, and tires. This will enable you to lower your maintenance expenses and have better vehicle operation.
If you stiffen the suspension system more than the wheels, your automobile’s wheels can turn sideways in the street hence letting you accelerate quicker. This becomes particularly important for sports vehicle owners because it will allow you to drive it at its peak potential.
Better Gas Mileage
Maybe it’s an indirect benefit, yet you can’t overlook it in the long run. If you have little to no control over the suspension system of your car, it’ll veer from side to side excessively.
Consequently, the tires will minimize their contact with the road, resulting in poor gas mileage. If you want excellent gas mileage (the vast majority of car drivers do), then getting an even sturdier suspension system will have the potential to lower gas consumption.
So what are the cons of a stiff suspension? Check them below:
The most significant drawback of a stiff suspension is an uncomfortable ride. You’ll feel every bump or other road irregularities with a stiff suspension. That is why drivers with stiff suspensions often have to sacrifice ride comfort.
Loss of Control
A stiff spring may make steering a vehicle too tricky, so you might cause the car to handle it in an unexpected way if the stiffness is too high.
Soft Suspension Pros And Cons
Now it’s time to pay attention to the pros and cons of soft suspensions.
Starting with the positive sides of a soft suspension. Check them below:
An age-old belief among motorists is that soft suspension settings provide a smooth ride no matter how rough the surface is. A soft suspension will do a better job at controlling elevation changes than a stiffer one, as it will have more ability to keep the tires on the ground.
When you have a soft suspension setting, you won’t feel road irregularities as the suspension will absorb them more efficiently.
Progressively, the shocks and the springs are more dynamic as the road becomes more uneven, presenting a more evident hint when the vehicle reaches greater speeds. And in due course, the somewhat softer shocks and springs will adapt to road irregularities far quicker than stiffer shocks and springs without affecting safe fore and rear end grip.
Here are some of the negative aspects of soft spring setup.
Generally, stiffer suspensions and stabilizer bars help a car cope with body roll. A car with a soft suspension will tend to lean and roll more, especially if the driver takes faster cornering speeds. As a result, the vehicle feels as if it is bobbing up and down. In comparison, stiffer suspensions and stiff stabilizer bars bring resistance to leaning and the car being rolled on.
When the suspension in a vehicle is exceptionally soft, the car or truck is apt to experience a great deal of bobbing back and forth over small irregularities in the road. This motion is unsettling and can make passengers feel unwell.
Monster truck drivers often experience a high level of movement in the cargo and cab halves as they move up and down. Contrary to popular belief, this is not really an issue with regular cars. Nonetheless, it’s pretty unpleasant even to most drivers.
Unusual Floaty Feel
A car whose ride settings are too loose can, at times, appear to be it’s floating. Enthusiastic drivers sense uneasiness since it feels like the car is detached from the road. And if the driver doesn’t get much feel or feedback, he or she will eventually become overcautious. Because if you can’t feel what the car is accomplishing, you lose a sense of control.
Stiff Or Soft Suspension For Racing
Stiff suspension versus soft suspension has become an age-old issue. Each system has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is prudent to be aware of the specifics of this arrangement before making a decision. Soft suspension is generally thought of as being more controllable and stable.
The vehicle’s wheels remain in constant contact with the ground, resulting in a smoother ride for the driver. The soft suspension also provides efficient ride comfort, even on slippery surfaces. However, a soft suspension may also cause problems, such as bounce and understeer on high-speed tracks.
Because softer springs also wear out more quickly than stiff ones, engineers commonly reason that stiff suspension is superior to softer suspensions. Stiffer suspension mostly provides a better grip and helps keep the tires firmly on the ground, leading to quicker lap times and better cornering speeds. Stiffer springs also tend to apply more strain than the softer ones, but they last longer than softer suspensions.
However, car race vehicles typically move along race courses. As a rule, these courses are made to be smoother than rough surfaces, so a large amount of body lean and roll is avoided. To that end, flat, streamlined surfaces are preferred. While the advantages of avoiding body lean and roll are taken into consideration, stiff setups are regularly liked because aerodynamics are of significant interest.
Stiff Or Soft Suspension For Off-Road
When you’re traveling off-road, the terrain can be unpredictable. You may find yourself in rough terrain one moment and on dirt or a shallow area the next. That’s why it’s important to have a suspension that can adapt to the terrain you’re on. But there’s a difference between how stiff a suspension is compared how soft.
Which one should you go for? If you decide to go with a soft suspension, it’ll handle dirt or a shallow area of land much better. Stiffer suspension settings will allow you to control your automobile more finely, but they can result in a bumpier ride. Softer suspension settings will detract from the jolts from the terrain but wouldn’t be able to respond to your input as effectively.
How do you find the most comfortable off-road suspension set-up, and will this always be the case? It depends on your preference. If you like to know how your vehicle handles in all environments, a softer setup with more tolerance is probably best for you.
But if you want a bit more control over your car’s behavior and don’t mind sacrificing the feeling of comfort, then a more rigid setup may be more appropriate for you.
Does stiffer suspension help acceleration?
If you’re getting stiffer springs on your vehicle, that implies your vehicle will be lower than usual. As a result, less weight will be transferred to the gas pedal or brake pedal. As a result, you will have quicker acceleration and faster stops.
Is soft suspension good for offroad?
Yes, softer suspensions are good for off-roading. This is because a suspension with a soft spring setup can absorb road irregularities more efficiently
Is soft suspension more comfortable?
For your daily driving or even off-roading, a soft suspension will give you the utmost comfort of riding regardless of the road condition. However, the scenario can be changed in terms of high-speed driving.
Is soft or stiff suspension better for cornering?
A stiff suspension is always good for cornering. A stiff spring setup holds the car along with the suspension system, and there is less chance of learning the car.
Cars typically used for daily travel will tend to have softer spring setups because it’s critical that they safeguard the comfort level of passengers. Softer springs ensure that external motions are diverted to the car and do not radiate into the vehicle’s interior. Therefore, most of the regular and luxury cars that we see presently are instances of soft suspension setups.
In yet another instance, if an automobile company states that a car is due to its driving dynamics and its sturdy springs are the main pillars of the car, then the stiffer springs are prioritized.
This is because it is a main priority to titillate the driver’s senses on the road. Should the vehicle stay unshaken while hurtling around the curves, it can give the driver confidence and a strong sense of security.