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So, it’s time to lower the height of your car, and you heard coilovers can do just that. But is it good for daily driving though? Let’s find out!
For a brief answer – no, coilovers are not really suitable for daily driving because they make your ride extremely stiff and uncomfortable. Although it’s possible to adjust coilovers to make it acceptable for daily driving. I covered that in this article Coilovers For Daily Driving: How To Make Them Comfortable?
If all you want is the lowered look and you are fine with moderately improved handling, then install lowering springs instead. Lowering springs provide all of the above, without going to the extreme and it’s much cheaper.
- Coilover is a suspension component that’s used to lower your car and improve handling
- Coilover can improve handling by a wide margin and are adjustable
- Coilover is not really suitable for daily driving because the ride is very stiff and uncomfortable – although you can adjust them for acceptable comfort
- Lowering spring is instead recommended for your daily driver
- Lowering spring is not adjustable and does not improve handling as much as coilover but they are cheaper and more comfortable
What is Coilover?
Coilover is an aftermarket component – that you install on your suspension to greatly improve the handling of your car. Coilover is essentially a spring coiled over a shock absorber – thus the name “coilover”.
Do you realize that when you make a sharp turn, your car weight will shift to one side? This weight shift causes an uneven distribution of weight between your tires. Which means the other half of your tires do not have good contact with the road – resulting in reduced grip and thus, poor handling.
Coilover fixes this by lowering the height of your car. Lowering your car will lower the centre of gravity of your car. This means, when you take a corner, the weight shift will be reduced. Providing even pressures on all the tires, which then generates enough grip to take that sharp corner easily. A typical coilover can lower your car for up to 4 inches.
Aside from together grip, if your car has less weight shifting when cornering, this means less time is needed for the weight of the car to settle back into place. Allowing you to take consecutive cornering without much problem. Very convenient when racing on the canyon!
Improved Acceleration & Breaking
Weight shifting does not only happen when you take a corner. It happens when you accelerate and break too! Think about it – when you accelerate, the car will lean back. Whereas when you break, the car will lean forward. Physics, my friends 🙂
With a lowered car, the weight shift during acceleration will not occur as much. This is especially good when you are driving a front wheel drive. As you accelerate, the car will not lean back as much – keeping the pressure on the front of the car where the force is delivered. Thus, improving acceleration.
The same applies when braking. A lowered car will not lean forward as much when brakes are applied. This keeps an even pressure on all the tires – producing good grip all tires and thus improving braking performance.
This reduced weight transfer also applies in breaking. When you break with a reduced weight transfer, you will have more even pressure on all of the tires which improve braking performance.
Pros of Coilovers
Much Improved Handling
As we have already discussed, coilover allows you to lower your car. And with a lowered car, you will have much improved cornering, accelerating and breaking. However, these improvements are more apparent for cornering. After installing coilovers, you should be able to take a corner twice as fast.
Very useful if you like driving up a canyon. Enjoy 😉
More Aggressive Looks
This is based on your preference. But it is generally agreed that a lowered car looks better and is associated with car racing. I mean… Have you seen a race car that is not lowered?
Coilovers are adjustable. This means you can decrease or increase the height of your car depending on the situation. For instance, in summer you might want to lower your car for peak handling performance. Whereas in winter, you might increase the height of your car to avoid the snow pile from reaching your engine.
If you are really anal about it, you can fine tune the height of your car with precision. This might be important for you racers who need that optimal handling performance. Anyway, coilovers got your back!
Though, the work of adjusting the height is not as simple as 123. You have to manually do it with your tool box out. The process usually takes a few minutes to an hour (If you have to realign after adjusting height).
I mentioned that coilover is a spring coiled over a shock absorber. Does this mean a coilover comes with a custom spring and shock absorber? That’s right – and it also comes with damper control, camber plate and many other components.
The good news is, these components are all interchangeable. You could customize your coilovers however until it provides you with the optimal handling performance.
Cons of Coilovers
Scraping The Ground
Your car is lowered now and has kickass handling! But with great power comes great responsibilities… Lowered cars have a much higher chance of scraping the ground. I mean duh? Chances are – you will scrape on a concrete within one week of lowering your car. But sooner or later you will get used to it right? Yeah, no. It will still hurt every time your baby scrapes on a concrete, in spite of how many times you have done it already.
The spring on a coilover needs to be stiffer and stronger than a stock spring. This is because a lowered car only has a small gap before the tires hit the wheel arch. Which means the spring on your coilover needs to be strong enough to support the car with a reduced travel distance.
This stiffness will be noticeable right away. You will feel very uncomfortable on every little bump and hole on the road. Though, you can reduce this stiffness by adjusting the height and dampening.
Check out my other article on how to make coilovers comfortable. Coilovers For Daily Driving: How To Make Them Comfortable?
Can Be Expensive
Remember I said that a coilover comes with spring, shock absorber and many other components? While it’s fun to customize and change its parts – this means purchasing a coilover also means purchasing all of the components it comes with.
Depending on the coilover that you get, the price can start at $400 and can go up to $4,000. Though you don’t have to get the best coilover for your car, it’s also not advisable to get the cheapest coilover either. Cheap coilovers you see on EBay could even reduce the stock handling of your car. Not to mention the additional wear and tears and oil leak it can cause.
If you don’t have the budget, but still want to lower your car, I would advise you to purchase a high quality lowering spring instead. We will discuss lowering springs later.
Coilovers And Daily Driving
Coilover is much more suitable for performance users who take their cars to track or to mountain riding (with lots of corners) on a regular basis and are skilled enough to make use of the maximum handling provided by the coilover. Also, they are more suitable for those who need to modify their car exactly how they want it – think racers.
Coilover is also expensive. It is too much investment for you to simply purchase a coilover and try it out as a daily driver. If you want the extra handling and aggressive lowered looks but still want to have their car as a daily driver – then I would recommend lowering springs.
Though, if you are really eager on coilovers – you can actually adjust them to be comfortable enough for daily driving. Check out this article where I cover how to make coilovers comfortable.
What Is Lowering Spring?
The main use of a lowering spring is to lower your car. Unlike coilover, lowering spring does not come with any other interchangeable parts. It is simply a spring that’s shorter and stiffer than the stock spring of your car.
The installation of a lowering spring is simple. Simply swap it with the stock spring in your car. A lowering spring is also cheaper than coilover. A high end lowering spring usually costs the same as a low end coilover.
Low end coilover usually bring more cons than pros. Due to this, It is always recommended to install a high end lowering spring than a low end coilover.
Difference between Coilovers and Lowering Springs
Lowering spring is simply a spring. Unlike coilovers, they do not come with any adjustable parts. This means you cannot increase or decrease the height of your ride after installation.
So be sure to identify the height that you really want and purchase the right lowering spring.
Lowering springs are extremely simple. No additional configurations needed to install – simply swap out the stock ones. Lowering spring is more suitable for beginner enthusiasts who do not participate in races regularly.
Lowering spring is much cheaper than a coilover. A premium lowering spring costs about $500 – which is the same as a cheap coilover. I can’t stress this enough – if you are tight on budget and want to lower your car, please pick a high end lowering springs instead of a cheap eBay coilovers. You don’t want to deal with problems that a cheap coilover brings.
Coilovers are built with solely handling in mine. A good coilover will improve your car handling by leaps and bounds – at the expense of comfort. If you want to lower your daily driver, then look to install lowering spring instead. Lowering spring will lower your car and still provide you with the handling improvement (although not as much). However, this handling improvement is usually enough if you are driving on the street with your daily driver.
Coilover provides more handling performance because of all the parts it’s packaged with. Remember I said coilover comes with spring, shock absorber, damper control and many other parts? These components are designed and packaged to work together out of the box. This will provide much better handling when compared to lowering spring.
Lowering spring comes as an independent install. It needs to work with the rest of your stock parts like shock absorber and damper. This has more margin for error and thus lower handling performance and potentially causing wear and tear on your shock absorber.
The drop rates between lowering springs are sold with 0.25 inch increment. Which means, if the height provided by a lowering spring is not suitable, you could only go 0.25 inch lower or 0.25 inch higher – there’s no in between.
Coilover on the other hand, allows you to adjust as you wish – meaning you can have a perfect accurate height for your ride. This could be important to performance users who know what they are doing and exactly what they need.
Should I Install Coilovers or Lowering Springs?
Install coilovers if you are a performance user who needs the absolute best handling. It’s even better if you install a coilover on your project car that you take to the race track.
I personally think coilovers is a little too expensive if you want to install it on your daily driver. But if you have the budget and you want that coilovers customization on your daily, then go ahead 🙂
Check out the KW V1 coilovers if you are looking to purchase one. I have an article here where I talked about what to look for in coilovers and why the KW coiloveres. Best Coilovers: Which To Buy And What To Look For?
Install a lowering spring if you are a car enthusiast who is not too worried about achieving the absolute best handling. But only look for a decent handling upgrade and an improved appearance.
I also highly recommend you install a lowering spring if it’s for a daily driver. They are not as expensive and can still give you the lowered look. If lowering spring turns out to be a bust for you, at least you did not spend as much as you would otherwise have with a coilover.
Check out the Eibach Pro Kit Springs if you are looking for coilovers. I have an article here where I discuss what to look for when purchasing lowering springs. Best Lowering Springs: Which To Buy And What To Look For?
That’s it! I hope this was a useful and enjoyable read to you. If you want more knowledge on car performance, then go ahead and read my other articles! Cheers.