Lowering springs are special springs used to replace stock springs that are initially installed by the vehicle manufacturer. They are shorter and have more coils than regular springs hence, able to create more tension between the frame and the suspension system.
This way, the body of the car can rest further downwards and closer to the wheels to reduce the centre of gravity. As a result, the vehicle becomes easier to handle, and the lower rider appearance creates a stylish look.
These springs are installed in the front and the rear of the car but only lower the front end of the vehicle to create a somewhat aggressive stance. The springs also reduce the car’s fender well gap, i.e., the distance between the edge of the wheel well and the top of the tire.
When buying the springs, ensure they are not too stiff because the vehicle may sit too low on the suspension. You can measure the distance between the top of the wheel well and the top of the car’s tires.
Buying a spring whose lowering is greater than this distance is unsuitable. You can add an extra inch to cater for the margin of error. When purchasing a kit, choose one that has matched shocks and springs from the same manufacturer with drops of ½-1 inch.
This way, the spring rates and the damping rates can be matched. Kits that include the spring rates only are cheaper, and the compression rates are close to the original factory rates to enhance compatibility with the factory shocks.
As a result, the spring only lowers the suspension and reduces travel without increasing the damping force or the spring rate to avoid damaging the shocks. That's why vehicles with lowered suspensions are ideal for smooth roads. Rough terrains and uneven surfaces require automobiles that have near-stock ride height to function well.
Types of Lowering Springs
They come in three varieties, each designed for unique performance. Thus, before buying, identify the specific reason for replacing the springs.
The Normal Spring
For this type, the distance of every coil remains the same irrespective of its weight. As such, a normal spring delivers a specific compression rate.
Step Linear Spring
Unlike the normal spring where the distance between the coils is equal, the step linear has coils whose distance between them is shorter by half. It makes the step linear spring ideal for racing vehicles because the shorter distance delivers a higher spring rate. The distinct responses of the short and long coils also enhance the performance of the car.
The coils for this type have different distances, making the vehicle more sensitive to small road bumps, braking and when making hard turns. Progressive springs are ideal for street vehicles that are used every day because they offer more comfort than step linear springs.
Choosing Between Progressive and Step Linear Springs
The step linear spring is easy to understand as it compreses an amount directly proportional to the load. Thus, if the spring has a rate of 100 lbs per inch, it compresses 3 inches when 300lbs are applied.
Most performance oriented vehicles like those used for racing use linear springs due to their consistency that causes the racing care to remain stable and predictable for the driver.
Progressive springs are also referred to as variable springs. They have a lower initial spring rate, which increases as the spring gets compressed.
This feature allows the car to travel smoothly on road imperfections and bumps while offering good handling. Progressive springs are great aftermarket springs for vehicles on public roads.
How the Springs Improve Car Performance
Apart from the obvious aesthetic appeal that the springs create on the vehicle, they also improve the suspension adjustment. Most vehicles experience wind drag, which causes lots of air to go underneath the car.
The installation of the springs reduces this drag, creating a better outcome for the wind drag on the vehicle. It explains why sporty vehicles sit only a few inches above the ground. The springs also improve traction, i.e., having the automobile sitting extremely low from the ground increases the grip of the tires on the road and makes handling easier.
Additionally, a higher centre of gravity increases the vehicle’s chances of tipping over. Installing the springs reduces this risk as the centre of gravity is minimised. Some cars also feel more comfortable due to the additional stiffness created by the lower suspension systems. Here are useful tips you should consider after installing the springs:
• Choose springs from the best brands. They are known to sell the best performing springs in the market. • Avoid cutting the stock springs to lower the vehicle. The compression rate becomes uncertain, and other parts of the car may get damaged • Since the car rides close to the pavement, it is essential to factor in the bumps on the road when driving as they can cause scratches.