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Lowering Springs vs Coilovers

Style and performance are some of the largely considered aspects at the time of buying a car. While most cars suffice these things in the form they are in at the time of their purchase, some people go on to customize their cars for even better performance and more stylish looks. A car with lowered altitude not only looks cool but also performs cool by offering a better handling performance.

Lowering a car by few inches is usually done with the help of an upgrade. Such upgrades are aftermarket and are only offered by third-party vendors with the help of lowering kits. This lowering kit either comprises of lowering springs or coil overs as a part of the upgrade package and helps serve the cause of lowering an assembly’s altitude. The use of both these gears has been a point of debate amongst automobile enthusiasts for quite a long time; mainly because of their different features, limitations, and advantages they bring to the table.

While both of them serve the same purpose of lowering your car; they do so uniquely. However, both of them work differently and offer different car handling characteristics to car owners. Here’s a detailed explanation of how they work:

What is a lowering spring?

Lowering springs are an advanced version of basic suspension springs. They not only support the weight of vehicles in a better way but also lesser altitude while fitting properly in place of original springs. Lowering spring’s similarity with standard springs ends here.

What makes them distinct is their shorter footprint. They are remarkably smaller than the original equipment manufacturer’s springs; explaining why they fit so easily. However, such springs suffer from a high spring rate due to less pound per inch than it needs to be for appropriate compensation. All in all, this leads to a slightly harsh driving experience due to a firm spring.

However, the performance benefits of installing a lowering spring far outweigh its cons. Lowering springs greatly improves the handling and stability of a car by lowering the center of mass. It also straightens the car by balancing it during serious cornering situations by offering a lesser body roll through high spring rates. This makes lowering spring a worthy investment for driving enthusiasts.

What do lowering springs offer?

Apart from getting a better handling performance, robust stability, and firm cornering; here’s what a lowering spring can do to a vehicle:

  • Offer an economic way of reducing the altitude of a car.
  • Better corner handling.
  • Compatibility with existing assembly. A technician just needs to replace the stock spring with the aftermarket accessory.
  • Preset construction of lowering springs ensures that no one has to adjust post-installation.
  • Ride height is preset by default – restricted for rise and fall.
  • Available in either progressive or linear rate configuration assembly.
  • Since they look similar to standard spring assembly, they are ideal for daily driving.
  • Their looks can potentially avoid authority problems and prevent potential void of warranties, save for the damages related to shocks and struts.

Cons of lowering springs

  • Lacks proper adjustment features.
  • The damper rate and spring rate are matched always.
  • Stiffer springs can lead to a rough driving experience.
  • Can quickly damage components like struts and shocks.

What is a Coilover?

Coilover, better known as “coil spring over strut” is an enhanced solution for reducing the altitude of a vehicle. It looks similar to the standard strut and spring that is pre-installed in every car. What makes it different is its structure and how it works. Custom performance dampers and springs replace a vehicle’s entire strut/spring combination, allowing coilovers to offer a comprehensive set of features like pre-loaded spring, rebound, shock dampening, and custom ride height. An all-alloy construction makes them lighter than the stock components. A lighter assembly brings advantages like better handling and lesser unsprung weight.

Coilovers offer much better control through their fine-tuning. Its control allows users to change each and every corner for improved car control and balance. Coilover beats lowering springs in terms of offering stiffer spring rates. This sacrifices ride quality in favor of improved cornering performance. One can further improvise adjustment and tuning by adding springs with better spring rates at an extra price.

What do coilovers offer?

Here’s what adding coilovers can do to a vehicle:

  • Flexible damper settings.
  • Easy to adjust ride height.
  • Smoother spring rates than standard assembly and lowering springs.
  • Freedom to switch softer springs with firmer springs and vice versa.
  • Matching different spring and damper combinations.
  • Modular construction allows switching dampers, pillow ball tops, springs, perches, mounts, etc. independently without having to worry about other components.

Cons of coilovers

  • Uncomfortable rides may be a possibility. If low-quality coilovers are used and are improperly configured’ then they can significantly affect how cars perform on roads and put the safety of people inside the car in danger.
  • Poorly made coilovers may also be subject to a possible operational failure. Sleeve type Coilover designs are known to be highly vulnerable to failure.
  • Installing a Coilover without proper knowledge can lead to excessive maintenance costs. Some coilovers consume a lot of space that can lead to a lot of restructuring jobs before the car could get back on the road.
  • Coilovers can disturb components by twisting cables, jamming a sway bar, stopping antilock brakes, and potentially halt tyres by damaging their sidewalls during a journey.

Verdict – what to choose

The car is one of the most modular inventions of the automobile industry. They allow car owners to customize every little aspect of the car and tweak it as per their needs. Hence, it sometimes becomes overwhelming for car owners to make the right choices. Where it be a lowering spring or a Coilover, there isn’t a universal solution that fits all needs of a customer. Hence, one must make a choice on the basis of their preference and budget.

Lowering springs are an ideal solution for people who are just looking to improvise the stance of their cars and better handling. Improved handling; is, however, not guaranteed. On the other hand, the development of suspension technology has led coilovers to serve as a great alternative to the conventional spring-shock-strut setup. A coilover assures flexibility in handling and smoother driving performance; given that they are of good quality.

The final purchase decision boils down to what a user intends to do with the car. Level of comfort and features play a crucial role in choosing the right installation for the car.

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