Are you thinking of upgrading your car’s suspension system to coilovers? You are on the right track as coilovers have several benefits over other suspension systems. However, there are many coilover brands, designs, and styles. Therefore, you need to be careful about quality. Though, not all coilovers will match your car and your needs. Read on for useful tips on how to purchase coilovers for your vehicle.
1- Quality is Important
For your car to serve you well, it needs quality parts. So, when purchasing coilovers, consider reputable and respected suspension manufacturers such as Fortune Auto and Bilstein. Quality manufacturers use the best materials and coilover technology.
The material is the first indication of quality. Good manufacturers use anodized aluminum. This material is light and resistant to corrosion. Other quality materials in coliovers, especially in the damper piston, are stainless steel and chromium alloys.
It is vital to do your research before making a purchase. Create a list of possible options. Then, search the web for reviews. In addition, you can ask your mechanic for recommendations.
2- Understand the Spring Rate
When purchasing any suspension system, understanding the spring rate is very important. The spring rate is a figure representing the amount of weight needed to compress the spring one inch. For instance, the spring rate of a coilover could be 200 lbs. per inch.
So, how does spring rate affect handling and performance? A high spring rate figure provides better handling but a stiff ride. On the other hand, a low spring rate provides a softer ride, but more body-roll when cornering.
One advantage of coilovers is that they allow you to alter the spring rate to a certain extent. Ideally, you can move the spring up and down for a smoother or stiffer ride safely without re-valving the shocks. However, if you do it wrong, the coilover will give you a bouncy or extremely stiff ride.
Most coilovers have been designed with a high spring rate for the front wheels, and a low spring rate for the rear wheels. Such a setup is ideal for street driving as it reduces oversteering. Coilovers with a high rear spring rate are for drift racing, where oversteering is often needed.
3- Consider Rubber Upper Mounts
The upper mount is the joint between the strut assembly and the car. Its therefore one of the components that determines the smoothness of your ride. Most coilovers have either a pillow-ball upper mount or a rubber upper mount.
A pillow-ball upper mount provides better handling. However, it transfers vibrations from the harshness of the ride through the suspension easily. In other words, such a mount will produce a harsh ride during street driving.
Modern coilovers use rubber upper mounts. The rubber absorbs some of the impact, thereby providing a smoother ride. Some of the brands that use rubber mounts include BC Racing BR Coilovers and Powertrix Sport Street.
4- Helper Springs Provide a Lower Ride
One of the main advantages of coilover suspension systems is the ability to lower ride height. Most coilovers allow ride height adjustments by loosening the lock collars at the end and twisting the shock body. The upward and downward movements unscrew and screw the shock body into the lower mount, often called the cup.
However, even after screwing the shock body into the cup completely, you may still find the ride height not to be as low as you want. The only remaining option is unloading, which is basically spinning the lower mount of the spring. However, you will end up with a loose spring. That is why you need helper springs.
Helper springs are light springs installed between the spring mount and main spring. These springs maintain constant tension even after unloading. Therefore, you can have a low ride without the dangerous effects of unloading.
5- Check the Warranty
A warranty often indicates the durability and quality of a product, and a manufacturer’s accountability to design flaws. Therefore, it gives you peace of mind when purchasing a new product. Before buying a coilover ask if there is any warranty offered. Good manufacturers offer reasonable warranties. For instance, Fortune Auto provide coilovers with 5-year limited warranties.
6- Buy Tested Coilovers
Find out of the coilover has gone through a dyno test. During this test, the coilover is calibrated on a dynamometer. Also, good manufacturers will provide rebuild, servicing, and calibration services for their products.
Upgrading to a coilover suspension is a good choice. Only if you pick the right suspension. So, gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision. You can start by considering the tips outlined above.