As you probably already know, aftermarket coilovers are one of the most common ways improve the looks and handling of any vehicle. The whole idea behind an aftermarket coilover is to reduce ride height and decrease body movement, however, not all coilovers are equal. Some coilovers are very basic, while others have innovative features.
Understanding the Basics
Aftermarket coilovers are fundamentally very similar to the OEM struts you’ll find on many vehicles. An aftermarket coilover is typically comprised of a spring, damper, and top-hat. The package is pretty compact compared to old-school spring and shock suspension systems. Compared to an OEM strut, an aftermarket coilover is typically lighter, smaller, adjustable, and offers more performance overall.
Most OEM suspension systems are designed to offer great ride quality. The average person doesn’t want a harsh riding vehicle, so OEM struts typically use low spring rates and very gentle damping. Unfortunately, soft springs and gentle damping provides pretty poor performance if you’re trying to go fast.
Different Types of Springs
On the surface, it may appear as though all springs are the same, however, there are different types of springs available: linear and progressive. Many high-end and track-oriented coilovers you find will use linear springs, because their constant spring rate creates very predictable handling when pushing your car to the limits, however, progressive springs are generally better for street use.
With progressive springs, the suspension starts out very soft and begins to stiffen up as the suspension compresses. This allows for lower spring rates overall and much better ride quality, while still providing superb handling. To put it simply, unless you’re installing coilovers on a dedicated track car, progressive springs are the better option.
Twin Tube vs Monotube
One of the main components of any coilover is the damper. Without any damping, your suspension can compress and decompress freely, resulting in a bouncy ride and very poor handling. With aftermarket coilovers, you’ll find two different types of dampers: Twin-Tube and Monotube.
On most coilovers, you’ll find the twin-tube design. This type of damping uses an inner and outer tube. The inner tube holds the piston shaft, valve, and oil. The outer tube holds damper oil and nitrogen gas. This design allows for more suspension stroke without increasing the height of the body, providing better ride quality.
Very high-performance coilovers use a mono-tube design, which holds everything in one tube and separates components with a floating piston. Although this design is simpler than the twin-tube design, it allows for bigger and stronger parts, better heat dissipation, and quicker response.
One of the biggest benefits of an aftermarket coilover compared to an OEM suspension system is the adjustability. With height adjustment, spring rate adjustment, and damping adjustment, you have the ability to fine-tune your car for your style of driving and modifications. Some coilovers offers minimal adjustments and some offer a lot of adjustments.
Aside from coilovers, we also have a complete variety of performance suspension components like leaf springs, lowering springs, air suspension kits, shocks & struts, and more that you can use to customize your ride the way you want to!