Many factors will determine how your car’s suspension behaves on the road. That being said, coil springs are near the top of the list. Choosing the right set of springs can completely change the way your car drives.
Whether you’re looking for OEM performance, sportier, or more comfortable driving characteristics, you can do a lot of tweaking by merely using a different set of springs. Today we’ll cover the basics of spring selection, how this part affects ride height, and ride quality.
What are Coil Springs?
Coil springs are an integral part of modern automotive suspension systems. When combined with shock absorbers, coil springs serve to minimize the vibrations coming from the road surface. More importantly, automotive suspension works to keep the wheel on the ground at all times.
The grip is everything when it comes to control. If you don’t have positive contact between the road surface and the wheel, you essentially have no control over your vehicle.
Shock absorbers and springs work in unison to manage the way your car behaves on the road. Springs serve to soak up all of the energy coming from the road imperfections, acceleration, braking, etc. On the other hand, shocks are there to dissipate that energy optimally for the purposes of grip.
Different Types of Coil Springs
Although they come across as reasonably simple, coil springs are much more than just thick piece of iron that’s been bent into a helical shape. There’s far more to them than that. For starters, springs are created to match specific vehicles’ weight and performance.
The way springs are coiled can tell a lot about their performance. Some are tuned to be linear in the way they respond to the road surface. On the other hand, progressive springs offer two very different performance profiles in a single spring.
The whole progressive spring design vs. linear spring design leads us straight into spring rates. Spring rate tells us how stiff the spring is. In most cases, this rate is expressed in kilograms per mm. Here’s a simple example. Say your spring rate is 5kg/mm. That means that you’d have to place 5 kilograms of weight on a spring to compress it one millimeter.
There’s also a matter of sprung and unsprung weight, but we won’t go into that right now. These terms and many others will be covered in a more advanced coil spring guide!
Lowering Ride Height Using Different Springs
Spring rate is a factor when you decide to lower your car. As we all know, a vehicle with a lower center of gravity achieves a better grip. That’s suspension tuning 101. But, there’s a catch. You can’t just go and trim your springs to lower the car. Doing so would change your ride height but not your spring rate. As a result, you’d be left with a vehicle that pitches forward and backward far too much for its new height, thus running the risk of bottoming out.
The only way to do this properly is to fine-tune the spring rate to match the ride height. Understanding this simple concept will put you far ahead of many drivers who are just looking to slam their ride.
Selecting the Right Coil Spring
If there’s one piece of your suspension that you don’t want to cheap out on, it’s the coil springs. Sticking to proven brands is a surefire way to get the right ride quality and durability. Brands such as Lesjöfors are a safe bet and often the recommended choice.
Lesjöfors, in particular, makes high-quality springs that match OEM specs while they also run a line of aftermarket springs for those who want something more out of their car. The company is originally from Sweden and has more than 160 years of experience under its belt. Over the years, they’ve grown to cover a wide range of European car brands, going so far as to make coil springs for some pretty obscure models. Needless to say, you won’t have trouble finding a solid pair for your car.
Always Change Springs in Pairs
Springs fail from time to time. Sometimes you can catch the symptoms before it’s too late, other times, you can’t. What’s important is to change springs in pairs. The idea behind this advice is simple – springs tend to lose some of their properties over time. Endless cycles of compression and expansion will do that. When one spring fails, and you replace it with a brand new part, you’ll find that your car is sitting unevenly now.
The new spring will ride higher more often than not because it’s brand new, while the other side will sag. By buying coil springs in pairs, you can avoid this issue altogether.
Are Stiffer Springs Always the Answer?
Better handling is something most car enthusiasts appreciate. However, does that mean that stiff springs are the answer for everyone and every scenario? Not really, no. Installing a stiff set of springs can all but kill your ride quality. You’ll feel every single bump in the road, which will eventually leave you miserable. This is especially true if you’re stiffening up the suspension on your daily driver.
Stiff springs have their place on the track, but even then, any pro driver will tell you that it’s a matter of ‘sometimes, not always’. Think twice of even trice before charging headfirst into performance springs.
Where to Find Quality Springs?
If you’re looking for quality coil springs, check out our offer by entering your car’s info into our search tool. We offer a wide range of products made by some of the best brands in the business, such as Lesjöfors and many others. Our search tool will show you exactly which springs match your specific vehicle. In case you want an even more accurate selection, you can always use our VIN tool.
That being said, feel free to get in touch with our customer support if you have any additional questions regarding our offer. Our reps are gearheads just like you and will gladly help you narrow down the right coils for your car!