What is a coilover and how does it work?

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One of the most critical components of vehicle safety is maintaining your suspension system. A suspension system includes the tires, tire air, shock absorbers, springs, and linkages that control motion between the automobile and its wheels. Failure to upkeep any of the system’s parts can cause serious damage to your car and may put you and your passengers in serious danger.

There is quite the modern debate about what parts of the suspension are vital and what different options you should choose. Many technicians argue about the value of coilovers versus springs, both of which influence the handling of your car. While both work, coilovers have become more trendy over the past few decades. Therefore, it’s important to be able to identify a coilover and know its practical purpose so that you may have a better understanding of the inner workings of your car.

Coilovers get their name mostly because of their appearance. Springs are made into coils so that they may compress and retract. Coilover springs go over the shock to fulfill this purpose and so that one may raise or lower their car. Though the brand is significant when purchasing a coilover, most allow you to lower the vehicle at least half of an inch (the range is typically three to four inches). The more adjustable shocks are for those who like to display their cars in shows rather than for everyday use.

There are several different types of coilovers. There is a standard set, but many show cars require a high-performance, slip-fit, or full-bodied version. You must also consider a coilover’s material options, preload, damping adjustability, and whether you want a mono-tube versus twin-tube coilover. Not all coilovers are created equal, so it’s important that if you ever need to replace your coilover, you choose the right one.

Full-bodied coilovers are the most popular type and are usually the standard shock-absorber for most modern automobiles. They replace the factory spring and have a shock body made to be height and damping adjustable. This gives a driver more customization opportunities for the quality of their ride. These coilovers also have a shortened shock body that allows for a lower ride height without the risk of bottoming out.

Sleeve type coilovers are also popular and are designed to make your ride more customizable without breaking the bank. These last for a while but are less durable the more adjustments you make to your car. Overall, many mechanics will tell you to avoid sleeve type coilovers, especially if you consider yourself a “low rider.”

Replacing a coilover is very difficult if you are inexperienced with cars. The suspension is a vital part of your car but is also extremely temperamental. We advise contacting a mechanic if you suspect problems with your coilover.

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