Suspension

Going low with a vehicle is a long time tradition that crosses over into many cultures, and many drivers outside of lowriding lanes take the drop as well. But with so many methods to actually lower a car, which is the correct way?

Before technology caught up, car owners simply cut the suspension coils in order to lower the body of their cars. They might also make cosmetic changes like sheared and reset rooflines, dropped fenders and car skirts to dramatize the look. While many of these body work changes continue, they don't really lower the car itself, only the appearance. Looking cool and low may be as far as some want to go, but how does that affect the car's performance?

Modifying a car to a lower stance can improve handling, speed and control, but only when done properly. Just one drive in a car that is lowered correctly is usually enough to tell the difference in performance. Lowering a car cosmetically, on the other hand, often creates more drag and actually adds more work for the car, meaning a rougher ride and less power. Maybe you don't mind because you’re going for looks over the ride or performance.

So, if you're considering lowering your car, the first question to ask yourself is whether your motivation is good looks or a better ride/performance (or both). Knowing your answer is important to help you and us the best way to lower your auto correctly, depending on your ultimate goal.

If lowering is done well and with all balancing factors in mind, it should be a one-step modification. Often, though, less height may throw off the camber, or the even placement of the tires on the road. Or it can throw off the tension of the springs and each new bump and uphill scrape can feel like something is out of whack. Just as in carpentry, where you measure twice and cut once, lowering is best undertaken with forethought and planning. Even solutions that work at first may fall flat with road time and wear. Those original factory calculations and specifications are precise, and after-market upgrades slip into downgrades without planning.

Visualizing what you want or describing how you want the ride to feel can lead some cars straight to the garage, but stopping at the computer or in the library is a good route. Searching on your make and model and what you hope to achieve will yield countless possibilities and more advice than you will likely ever need.

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