Spring rate is how much force is needed to compress the spring by 1”. In simple terms, spring rates control two things:
- How much body roll a car is going to experience on a corner.
- How much pressure can the car absorb from bumpy roads.
Higher spring rate means your car ride will be good at cornering. Your car will be steady and won’t have much body roll when you take a corner.
In exchange, you will have a very stiff ride. Your car will not absorb much of the pressure when you go through bumpy roads.
Actually, spring rates also play a role in speed – but the impact will not be as much as the handling. Plus, if you are looking for coilovers, handling is generally what you want.
That being said, I think this factor depends on your preference. Do you want the absolute best handling?
Or you are fine with moderately improved handling but a comfortable ride? For me, I would prefer coilovers that have reasonable spring rates.
I use my car as a daily driver – which means I must balance the handling improvement and comfort.
Generally, spring rates above 350 front / 250 rear are considered as stiff.
If you want improved handling while still being comfortable as a daily driver, then get coilovers with spring rates of about 280 / 160.
Coilovers could offer you adjustability for any of these:
- Height of your car (Height Control)
- How fast weight moves away from your tires (Rebound Control)
- How fast weight moves towards your tires (Compression Control)
The price of coilovers differ greatly depending on the adjustability they offer. In my opinion, you only need rebound and compression control if you are very serious about handling and you regularly go to track. Otherwise, height control alone is sufficient to adjust the handling. Even more suitable if your car is also a daily driver. Things like driving lower in the summer or driving higher in the winter.
Good coilovers should be made with anodized aluminium or stainless steel. Coilovers are placed at the bottom of the car – often in contact with water. Rusting or corrosion could be your biggest enemies – or not, if you get anodized aluminum or stainless steel 🙂
Find coilovers that provide a long warranty – lifetime is preferred. Generally, the warranty defines how confident the manufacturer is to the coilovers. Plus, a lot of coilovers brands provide lifetime warranty. Nothing much to say here, aim for a lifetime warranty with your purchase. Otherwise, at least a 5-year warranty.
Ease Of Installation
Performance mods are fun and exciting until you have troubles installing them. Your coilovers of choice should be easy to install.
They should also come with installation instructions – if they don’t, you should at least be able to find some installation videos on YouTube.
Pro Tip: look at the customer reviews for your coilovers of choice. Customers usually include their installation experience when they review.
If you can’t find any of them, then look for information in the forums.
I am sure you can find some information on them. Unless your coilovers of choice has no recognition at all…
Below is an example of KW coilovers installation video on YouTube.
Last but not least, always read the reviews on your coilover of choice. Best way to find reviews is to look at online stores like AutoAnything or Amazon and see what people are saying. If you can’t find the reviews, then look for YouTube videos or forums. You shouldn’t skip this because real customer reviews are always the best!