Useful Car Tips


January 25, 2019


The primary purpose of the shock absorber is to control spring and suspension movement. You can think of shock absorbers as oil pumps. A piston works against hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube, with this fluid being forced through tiny holes inside the piston when the suspension travels. This hydraulic action works to slow down the piston which then slows down spring and suspension movement. Shocks adjust to road conditions and reduce the rate and effect of bounce, sway, and rapid weight transfer. Giving you more control of these attributes makes shocks a key piece of your overall suspension setup. Performance shocks may be the hardest suspension part to pick out and can become a matter of trial and error. Fortunately, there are so many options on the market that you’re bound to find the right ones for your needs, especially if you do research specific to your car. You may wish to consider starting with a shock that has damping adjustments, as this will allow you to fine tune things to fit your vehicle.


Ever seen a car drive by with seemingly only an inch or two of ground clearance? Chances are very high that the owner modified its springs. This is an extreme example, but springs commonly offer a drop of anywhere between an inch to almost 2.5” (25-60mm). Besides aesthetic reasons, springs can also make a difference in handling by lowering the center of gravity and preventing body roll. Other advantages of performance springs are weight savings and more durable construction. If you’re looking for the most control over variables, consider highly-adjustable springs like those from Eibach’s Race Spring line, which you can find at These springs allow customization for the perfect fit for any vehicle. Make sure to install new springs on shocks and struts that aren’t worn; if they’re worn, the stronger springs will overpower the other components and actually make the ride and handling worse. Also, be careful when upgrading your suspension springs. If you don’t have the necessary tools, don’t attempt to change the springs on your own. A special tool called a spring compressor is required for this job. If you don’t have one, leave this procedure for your mechanic. Springs operate under thousands of pounds of pressure and can seriously injure or even kill.


While shocks and springs are often some of the first suspension components upgraded, anti-roll bars are sometimes overlooked. Anti-roll or sway bars have the important job of stabilizing the car under cornering loads. They lead to a reduction in body roll and help the car remain level or flat when cornering, thus helping the entire suspension system work properly. Another factor to consider is their minimal ride quality compromise in a straight line. Sometimes, upgraded anti-roll bars can negate the need for stiffer springs, saving you money. Aftermarket adjustable anti-roll bars allow you to adjust the handling characteristics of your car. This versatility can prove to be very advantageous for those looking to track their cars. With adjustable anti-roll bars, it’s possible to reduce or decrease understeer depending on the adjustment.


Before you begin upgrading your suspension, it’s important to understand your desired end-state. Are you purely looking for the sharpest and flattest handling, but perhaps at the expense of ride comfort? Are you looking to increase comfort, or perhaps lower your ride height for aesthetic reasons? Without a clear goal in mind, the myriad variations of suspension systems can turn a desirable upgrade into a headache for you. There will always be some compromise, but with the right research you should be ready for most eventualities. Evaluate what matters to you most and make your decisions from there, and exercise due caution when attempting to perform work on your own. Whatever direction you end up going, we hope our quick crash course guide has helped you gain a better understanding of the complex world of suspension. Have fun, be safe, and make the best suspension setup for your dream car!
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