When it comes to upgrading your suspension for either looks or performance, the difference between a lowering spring and coilover setup can be night and day. The definitive difference between a comfy daily driver with good looks or a planted race car comes down to your suspension set up and what you want out of it. You have to decide exactly what your car’s purpose is before choosing the suspension. Your main options for most vehicles will be springs or coilovers, so what should you choose? Let’s discuss the pro’s, con’s and uses of both Springs and Coilovers.
People that are just getting into cars often look into springs as a solution for their height… Issues, if you will. Springs will often times allow you to lower your car without sacrificing a soft stock suspension feel. A proper spring and shock set up can make your car lower, slightly stiffen up your suspension, which makes a cheaper alternative to coilovers with nearly similar performance. However, springs do not allow you to adjust your damping or height on the fly like coilovers allow you to.
So… What are the downsides? Springs don’t give you the adjustability range to lower or raise your suspension when needed, when you buy a set height spring, that is your only height. In example, suppose you decide to go with a larger wheel or tire and need to raise your car by 1.0”, you are entirely limited to the lowering springs you installed and will have to think around them for any drastic change in wheels or height of the vehicle in the future. With lowering springs shock wear is accelerated, and this often results in a poor ride over time. The ride can start to feel “bouncy” or “soft” when your shocks are going out, so if you have this feeling in your suspension before doing springs you will have the same issue in a more exaggerated way after. It is suggested to upgrade your shocks when you upgrade your springs to be able to take on more load.
Coilovers are a great alternative to a lowering spring set up because they allow you to adjust your ride height and come in many setups from daily use to full track use rated. Unlike springs, you are not stuck to one height and stiffness. People often think that the moment you go with coilovers, you are automatically sacrificing ride quality for performance and the ride will be harsh. This simply isn’t true. Some coilovers, take our Kontrol Pro kit for example, are geared toward street comfort. We can do this through valving and damping that we have built into the coilover itself. While it’s true that the ride is about 10-15% firmer, the well matched dampening will result in minimal differences in comfort while making the car feel significantly better and make you, the driver, feel more in-tune with your car with every move.
With a good set of coilovers you do not have to sacrifice ride quality to go low. We think that the evolution of suspension has lead to many great advancements in coilovers and they are a great alternative for the conventional shock and spring. However, there is nothing wrong with a conventional shock and lowering spring set up for daily use and some track. What it comes down to is what you plan on doing with your car and your level of comfort in that type of driving condition.
As noted in our website for the Kontrol Pro Coilovers, “Ksport Kontrol Pro Fully Adjustable Coilover Kits provide the ultimate in suspension technology for your vehicle, both on the street or at the track. 36 levels of damping adjustment allow fine tuning of the damper to suit both handling and comfort needs. The damping adjustment alters compression and rebound simultaneously, for more effective and user-friendly setup changes.
The Ksport system uses a Monotube design in which the oil and gas are separated within the cylinder. When compared to twin tube construction, the Monotube design dissipates heat faster and more evenly, allows finer damping adjustments, and requires more expensive design process. Aeration and cavitation issues are a lot less common in a Monotube design, which results in a more consistent ride quality. The Ksport Kontrol Pro Coilover system has been designed with professional road racing in mind, offering extremely high value and performance for any application.”
What do you run and why?