When it comes to focusing on performance and achieving optimal handling, suspension is one of the first things any car enthusiast tends to look at. Lowering your ride can result in better, sharper cornering and a more responsive feel for the road, as well as that imposing look many car modifiers love to achieve. Achieving all of this can be done in two ways. You can install lower, smaller springs or install coilovers, and each option has it’s own pros and cons, so Spares Box is here to help you make your choice.
Coilover suspension really is the ultimate performance-focused suspension upgrade. They replace the entire suspension set up, including the dampener, shock absorber and spring, with one single unit that bolts in and out on its own, consisting of the spring coiled over (hence the name) the shock. Because of this, coilover suspension systems are often lighter and more compact, saving you vital weight.
Because the entire unit is performance based, coilover suspension systems are designed tuned and built to standards which allow you to get the best handling out of your car, providing you with the very best when it comes to body roll, responsiveness and travel. In many cases, coilovers naturally lower the ride height of your vehicle as well, which saves the problem of having to maintain both lowered springs and the shock absorbers you had to install to suit them. Coilovers often provide a greater level of customisability, allowing you to adjust things like ride height and damper to meet your specific requirements. If performance and handling is your first and foremost priority, a set of coilovers is worth the investment.
Performance costs money, and unfortunately suspension is no exception. Coilover systems are made out of the best materials, the best R&D goes into them, and as you can imagine the cost reflects it. There’s always a trade-off between performance and comfort too, and for every day driving a coilover suspension system also may often prove to be too harsh in terms of ride quality compared to independently lowered springs. They travel less, are much less forgiving when going over rough road will provide a much stiffer feel when cornering on even normal roads.
Lowered Springs & Upgraded Shocks
The main advantage to keeping a conventional (but lowered) shock/spring system is that it’s a great compromise. It delivers many of the performance and handling benefits that are associated with a lower ride height, but not quite as extreme if you’re a more casual enthusiast looking for more responsiveness from your vehicle. When paired with correct shock absorbers to match, lowering kits will often deliver much better ride quality and comfort from every day driving.
Despite the fact that it requires the replacement and maintenance of more parts, the nature of a conventional spring system makes modifying and updating it much cheaper than installing coilovers. Overall, if you want to maintain a better balance of ride and handling, or simply want to lower your vehicle for aesthetic reasons, Lowered springs are generally the more sensible option.
The 2 main problems with lowered springs are customisability and application for performance. Once you install some lowered springs, their spring rate is set, their height is set and their dampening is set. You also just won’t get the level of handling you would out of a coilover set up, and you’ll need to invest in a performance-oriented shock absorber to get any beneficial effect on your handling from lowering your car.