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What is a Suspension System for?

Basically, a suspension is a system of springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connect a car to its wheels. It allows relative motion between the two.

Moreover, suspension systems must at all times support both roads holding and ride quality, which is more often than not at odds with each other. The tuning is in finding the right compromise.

But finding the right compromise can be at times expensive. That is why most cars that are made to go from point A to point B have very light steering and dull reflexes. They are just made to ferry you from one place to another without any drama. Case in point: The Toyota Camry.

If you have a sports car, however, it will have beefy springs to deal with the dynamics of the car and it will almost always have a harsh ride that will jiggle your fillings. For example: BMW M4 Competition.

Again, you want to find the right compromise between having athletic reflexes and subdued, relaxed damping when just cruising even on pockmarked roads. Cars such as the Jaguar XF and the Alfa Romeo Giulia are very good at this. And the suspension system of these cars are what every car and car nut long for.

We do not need to mention the superior chassis engineering of the McLaren 670S and Aston-Martin DB11 because anything that costs upwards of $80,000 should be excellent.

Anyhow, this brings us nicely to the world of …

Aftermarket Suspension Systems | Why do I need them?

Remember the 70’s when Muscle Cars have upwards of 300 horsepower but they get beaten around the racetrack by BMW’s with less than 200 horses?

Yes, that was suspension tuning. It doesn’t matter how fast your car goes in a straight line because if you haven’t noticed yet, not all roads are straight.

The Japanese drifting scene, Formula 1, DTM, the Dakar Rally, Group B Rally, and Le Mans are some of the most prestigious activities where a superior suspension set-up is a must. It is where chassis engineers and suspension companies learn a lot of things about control and damping and rebound and apply it to our humble streetcars.

So, why must we need to change our suspension when our cars are being tuned? Because more power comes with even more responsibility.

And in this particular case, control is responsible for handling all the power our cars have. Because if it's not taken account of, failing suspension components can severely impact your capacity to maintain control over your car, especially while stopping or turning. For this reason alone, maintaining your suspension system is critical to safety and on-road performance.

What Type of Suspension is Right for your Car?

The type of suspension depends greatly on what you drive and what you want to accomplish.

Performance Coilovers & Adjustable Coilovers

Aftermarket coilovers are fundamentally similar to the OEM struts you’ll find on many vehicles. With that said, an aftermarket coilover is typically lighter, smaller and more adjustable – and offers better overall performance than an OEM strut.

It’s a complete set to replace your whole car’s stock suspension if you want a sharper, more controlled, or more comfortable and smoother ride. Not to mention, most aftermarket coilovers strike the perfect balance between comfort and handling.

There are two types of coilover springs: the linear springs and progressive springs

Most high-end and track-oriented racing coilovers will use linear springs, as the constant spring rate of linear springs creates very predictable handling when pushing your car to the limits. Progressive springs, on the other hand, are generally better for street use.

With progressive springs, the suspension will start very soft and begin to stiffen as the suspension compresses. This allows for lower spring rates and much better ride quality, while still providing the superb handling you expect from coilover suspension kits.

Aside from the springs, dampers also have their differences.

Most coilovers you’ll see employ the twin-tube design. This uses and outer tube which holds the damper oil and nitrogen gas while the inner tube holds the piston shaft, valve, and oil. This is ideal for most street cars as it doesn’t need for the ride height to be raised while providing better ride quality.

And then on most sports and motorsports oriented set-ups, we have the monotube dampers. It holds everything mentioned above in one tube but separates the 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. An example of a car with a wonderful monotube suspension is the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Lowering Springs

If you want improved aesthetics and an overall lower stance from your car, the most cost-effective way to this is with lowering springs. There will be improvements to the handling of your car since it now sits lower to the ground, especially when paired with performance wheels and tires.

But do not expect your car to be an instant corner carver when you just swap springs and not give any regard to your car’s damping.

Lift Kits

If you can lower your sedans and sporty coupes, you can most certainly do the opposite for your trucks and SUVs.

A Lift kit is essentially a collection of parts required to lift a vehicle and give it a higher stance. It also includes some instructions on how to use the components in raising the truck or SUV. The kit is vehicle specific. Lift kits work to increase the overall height of a vehicle and provide additional inches of ground clearance.

Fortunately, many off-road vehicles can easily be lifted with an aftermarket lift kit. Lift kits come in all sorts of shapes and sizes coming with different bits and pieces. Some kits are very basic and only include springs, while some replace every suspension component from the factory. Lift kits provide numerous advantages to your overall driving experience, from unique off-road capabilities to improved safety. You can find different kinds of lift kits here.