Expensive Vs Cheap Coilovers: Are Cheap Coilovers Any Good?

By June 15, 2021Coilovers

Expensive coilovers are worth it. They offer much more adjustability and they last for a really long time – even hundreds of thousands of miles on track use. 

Cheap coilovers, on the other hand, are not recommended. They are not as adjustable and can break quickly due to poor materials. Things like blown coilovers and suspension bottoming out are common in cheap coilovers. 

Personally, I have used many different brands of coilovers on my cars. When I first got my Civic many moons ago. I went to the store and bought the cheapest pair of coilovers. 

I was still in high school then, so the cheap ones did their job. I couldn’t adjust much and it was good enough while brand new. 

However, as time passes, the limitations become much clearer. I made the conclusion that there is no comparison between the cheap ones and the expensive coilovers. The difference is enormous!

In this article we are going to dive into the problems behind the coilovers and why you should go the more expensive route. 

We will compare cheap brands and also more expensive brands. Also, we will see their strong sides and downsides. Then we will make a conclusion from all that we learned in this article and sum up the most important things.

Comparing Expensive Vs Cheap Coilovers

I will summarize the main differences between cheap and expensive coilovers in this table.

  Cheap Coilovers Expensive Coilovers
Adjustability Limited

 

Much more
Lifetime (miles) 15,000 – 30,000 miles 150.000+ miles
Warranty 1 year or no warranty at all Lifetime
Price range $300 – $1,500 $1,500 – $3,500
Resale value Low High
Ride quality Very stiff Adjustable

Adjustability: Expensive vs Cheap Coilovers 

Expensive coilovers tend to offer more options to adjust things like compression, rebound, ride height and preload.

While cheap coilovers are lacking when it comes to adjustability. Typically, cheap coilovers only allow you to adjust the ride height.

Believe me, these settings matter if you want to refine your driving experience on the road, and also on the track.

 

Lifetime: Expensive vs Cheap Coilovers

Expensive coilovers have better quality material like springs, shocks and bushings – allowing them to last much longer than cheap coilovers.

The problem with cheap coilovers is the build quality and the stress endurance. They do not last very long. Typically,  because a lower budget is available to design them and lower quality parts are used.

Low quality parts in cheap coilovers like shocks are prone to leak. These leaks usually start appearing after a few thousand miles. The hydraulic fluid inside them leaks out from the poor seals and bushings. 

Cheap coilovers last for around 15-30 thousand miles and depending on how much stress they have to handle.

 Expensive coilovers on the other hand last for much longer than cheap coilovers. Their build quality and engineering are on point and most of them are created to last for a lifetime.

Expensive coilovers have lifetime warranty and they usually last a couple hundred thousand miles without issues. 

Warranty: Expensive vs Cheap Coilovers

Warranty is also a big factor for going the more expensive route, since expensive coilovers have a lifetime warranty compared to cheaper ones that have short 1 year warranty or do not have warranty at all. 

Many companies offering warranty for cheap coilovers are typically not that serious with their intentions to replace hard-to-find parts. Especially true for cheap and brandless coilovers from Ebay. 

 Expensive coilovers depending on the manufacturer come with a lifetime warranty. They are made by brands that have put their name out there in motorsports and in the aftermarket. 

We all know about BC Racing, American, KW and other brands that have created huge names for themselves.

Their coilovers last for a lifetime, and even if they don’t. They will happily replace the damaged coilover for you if it’s under a warranty.

Image of KW Coilovers

KW Coilovers (reputable company) provide lifetime warranty.

Price Range: Expensive vs Cheap Coilovers

Cheap coilovers start from $300 and go up, depending on their quality. Whereas expensive coilovers go from $1,500 to $3,00 like the KW V1 – V3.

You can get a pair of coilovers on eBay for cheap. Depending on the make, model and quality, they go for between $300 – $1,500. 

Expensive coilovers like KW are famous for their top-of-the-line quality and the huge adjustability they offer to the customer. 

$1,500 – $3,000 i’s a hefty investment but don’t forget about the quality and the lifetime warranty they provide. I have had cases between me and my friends where KW are happy to replace our damaged coilovers with new ones. 

Resale Value: Expensive vs Cheap Coilovers

Resale value is also a strong point on the more expensive coilovers, since they do not lose much of their price through the years. While cheap coilovers have low resale value. 

Resale value of expensive coilovers depend on the mileage and condition – typically the resale value goes at around 30% less than MSRP depending on the condition of the coilovers and their brand.

While cheap coilovers could resell at only about $200 because not many people are willing to risk buying coilovers from unknown brands. 

Which muffler is your car right now?

Also, the parts on the cheap coilovers are hard to come by. There aren’t any companies that make them at all – which means once broken, you need a new pair!

 

Ride Quality: Expensive vs Cheap Coilovers

Ride quality on more expensive coilovers is not comparable to cheapers variants because they give you a much more premium feel and options that the cheap ones don’t even have.

Cheap coilovers typically cut cost and use low-quality springs with low spring rate. They fail easily and when they do, your car bottoms out on regular potholes.

Expensive coilovers on the other hand use higher quality materials. And overall, they are engineered by experts who tested them on the track and also on the road. They ride much better than the cheap counterparts.

cornering without body roll

Coilovers from reputable brand can give you amazing ride – especially during cornerning.

Are Cheap Coilovers Any Good?

Cheap coilovers are not recommended if you don’t want problems with quality, warranty and adjustability. Here are 5 reasons why cheap coilovers are no good: 

  1. Limited  adjustability. Cheap coilovers only allow you to adjust ride height. Things like rebound and compression control are most likely not available. 
  2. Does not last long. Cheap coilovers use cheaper quality materials. They typically start leaking after a couple of thousand miles. 
  3. Limited warranty. Cheap coilovers mostly do not offer warranty. Although some offer 1 year of limited warranty. Major components like shocks are usually not covered.
  4. Low resale value. Forget about reselling cheap and brandless coilovers. There’s no market for it.
  5. Bad ride quality. Cheap coilovers use low quality springs and shocks. They can break easily and cause your car to bottom out on regular potholes.

If you don’t have the budget, buying used coilovers from a reputable brand is also a good choice – you could get a premium experience for a fraction of the price.

Though there are many things to consider when buying used coilovers. I personally went deep and thoroughly researched this issue. You can find that article here.

Is It Okay To Buy Used Coilovers: 10 Things To Know

My Recommendation On Cheap Vs Expensive Coilovers

So, to sum this up, my take is to go for a more expensive option. There are many brands that offer quality coilovers at an affordable price point. Like KW & BC Racing I mentioned above.

If you are looking for coilovers, then you should read my other article: Best Coilovers: Which To Get & What To Look For?

Remember, it’s not about how expensive the coilovers are. But it’s about getting coilovers from reputable and trusted brands – H&R, KW, Eibach Pro, etc.

Ifandi S.

Ifandi S.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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