Driving enthusiasts and automotive enthusiasts alike are always on the lookout for ways to enhance their vehicle’s performance and handling. One crucial component that can make a significant difference in a car’s dynamics is the suspension system. Among the various suspension upgrades available, “coilovers” stand out as a popular choice. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of coilovers, understanding what they are, how they work, their benefits, and more.
Coilovers, a portmanteau of “coil springs” and “shock absorbers,” are a specialized type of suspension system designed to improve a vehicle’s handling, ride quality, and adjustability. Unlike the traditional stock suspension, which typically consists of separate springs and shock absorbers, coilovers combine these elements into one unit, providing a compact and efficient setup, you can find various sizes of it as per the vehicles such as coilovers for 350z.
The Components of Coilovers
To comprehend the functionality of coilovers, let’s break down their key components:
At the core of every coilover, there are coil springs. These springs are responsible for absorbing and distributing the impact of road irregularities, such as bumps and potholes. Coil springs come in different rates and lengths, allowing for various stiffness levels and ride heights.
Shock absorbers, also known as dampers, work in tandem with the coil springs to control the oscillations caused by uneven terrain. They help maintain tire contact with the road surface, providing stability and minimizing body roll during cornering.
Mounts and Bushings
Coilovers are equipped with mounts and bushings that serve as connection points to the vehicle’s chassis. These components play a vital role in ensuring proper alignment and absorbing additional vibrations.
One of the defining features of coilovers is their adjustability. They come with various adjusters that allow users to fine-tune the ride height, damping force, and overall suspension stiffness to suit their preferences and driving conditions.
How Do Coilovers Work?
The operation of coilovers is based on the principles of mechanical engineering and fluid dynamics. When encountering an irregular surface, the coil springs compress and release, while the shock absorbers dampen the movement, preventing excessive bouncing or rebounding.
Types of Coilovers
Coilovers are available in several configurations to accommodate different vehicle types and driving needs. The main types include:
Full coilovers are complete suspension kits that replace the stock suspension entirely. They offer the most comprehensive adjustability and are popular among performance-oriented drivers.
Slip-on coilovers are designed to be installed over the existing strut assembly. They are less intrusive to the vehicle’s original suspension and provide moderate adjustability.
Shock and Spring Kits
Shock and spring kits are a combination of performance shocks and lowering springs. While not as adjustable as full coilovers, they offer an affordable way to improve handling and appearance.
Benefits of Using Coilovers
The adoption of coilovers can significantly enhance a vehicle’s performance and driving experience. Some of the key benefits include:
Improved Handling and Performance
Coilovers deliver superior handling characteristics, reducing body roll and improving cornering capabilities, making them ideal for enthusiastic driving.
Adjustable Ride Height
With adjustable ride height, drivers can lower their car for a sportier appearance or raise it to navigate rough terrain with ease.
Enhanced Stability and Balance
Coilovers provide better stability and balance, especially during rapid acceleration, braking, or cornering, resulting in a safer and more controlled driving experience.
Customizable Suspension Setup
The ability to adjust various aspects of the suspension allows drivers to fine-tune their vehicle’s dynamics to suit their individual preferences and driving style.
Coilovers vs. Stock Suspension
When it comes to upgrading your vehicle’s suspension, one of the critical decisions you’ll face is choosing between coilovers and the stock suspension. Both options have their merits, but understanding their differences and benefits will help you make an informed choice that suits your driving needs. Let’s compare coilovers and stock suspension to see which one comes out on top.
Coilovers, as mentioned earlier, offer a comprehensive suspension solution that combines coil springs and shock absorbers into a single unit. Unlike stock suspension, which is often designed with a focus on comfort and practicality, coilovers prioritize performance and handling.
One of the significant advantages of coilovers over stock suspension is their enhanced performance characteristics. With stiffer springs and adjustable damping, coilovers can minimize body roll during aggressive cornering, ensuring better tire contact with the road. This translates to improved traction and more precise steering response, making coilovers a top choice for driving enthusiasts and those seeking a sportier ride.
Adjustable Ride Height
Another standout feature of coilovers is their adjustable ride height. Unlike stock suspension, which typically comes with a fixed ride height, coilovers allow you to raise or lower your vehicle to suit your preferences and driving conditions. Lowering the ride height not only enhances the vehicle’s appearance but also lowers its center of gravity, further improving handling and stability.
Custom Tuning Options
Coilovers are designed with tunability in mind. With various adjusters for compression and rebound damping, as well as the ability to swap out springs with different rates, you can fine-tune your suspension setup to match your driving style and specific road conditions. This flexibility sets coilovers apart from the limited adjustability of stock suspension systems.
Stock suspension, as installed by the manufacturer, is built to cater to a broad audience and offers a comfortable and predictable ride quality. While it may lack the performance-oriented features of coilovers, stock suspension has its advantages, especially for daily drivers and those who prioritize ride comfort.
One of the key reasons people stick with stock suspension is its inherent comfort. The factory-tuned suspension is designed to absorb road imperfections, providing a smooth and cushioned ride. If you primarily use your vehicle for daily commuting and family outings, stock suspension might be more suitable, as it ensures a less jarring experience over uneven roads.
Compared to coilovers, stock suspension is a more budget-friendly option, especially if you’re not interested in aggressive driving or performance enhancements. Manufacturers carefully balance cost and comfort when designing stock suspensions, making them a cost-effective choice for the average driver.
Ease of Maintenance
Stock suspension systems are designed to be low-maintenance and durable. They generally require less attention and upkeep compared to coilovers, which often demand regular inspections and adjustments. For drivers seeking a hassle-free ownership experience, stock suspension can be the preferable choice.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Coilovers
While coilovers offer numerous benefits, choosing the right set requires careful consideration of several factors:
Budget and Quality
Coilovers come in a wide price range, and it’s essential to find a set that fits your budget without compromising on quality. Investing in reputable brands and well-engineered coilovers ensures longevity and better performance.
Intended Use and Driving Style
Consider how you primarily use your vehicle. If you’re a performance-oriented driver who frequents track days or spirited drives, coilovers are likely the better option. On the other hand, if your driving is mostly limited to daily commuting and leisurely trips, stock suspension might be sufficient.
Compatibility with Vehicle
Not all coilovers are compatible with every vehicle make and model. Ensure that the coilovers you choose are specifically designed for your vehicle to guarantee a proper fit and optimal performance.
Adjustability and Tunability
If you value the ability to fine-tune your suspension to suit different driving conditions and preferences, opt for coilovers with adjustable settings for ride height, damping, and spring rates.
In the debate between coilovers and stock suspension, there is no definitive winner; it ultimately depends on your driving preferences and priorities. Coilovers offer superior performance and customization, ideal for driving enthusiasts seeking enhanced handling and adjustability. On the other hand, stock suspension prioritizes comfort and ease of maintenance, making it a practical choice for everyday drivers.