What Are Coilovers?

By Slyng Team

Updated Feb 18, 2024

In Learn Feb, 2024
what are coilers

It's not easy to make your car perform better. In fact, it takes a lot of work to improve your car's performance. When it comes to handling, you will need coilovers to ensure optimal performance. If you're not sure what coilovers are or which ones to choose for your vehicle, you're in the right place.

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    There are many options for coilovers, including material, preload, and damping adjustability, among others. We'll cover these and more in the guide below. We also look at some of the best coilover manufacturers to help you find the most suitable coilover options for your ride.

    And if you're on a budget, we share some high-quality coilover brands that are affordable. So stick around to learn all about coilovers and why they are so important.

    What Are Coilovers?

    A coilover can be thought of as shock absorbers, but they act like a suspension kit to keep your ride from bottoming while you drive. Both function similarly, but the biggest difference is the coil around the strut, also called MacPherson struts. The coil is mounted to an adjustable section that allows you to adjust coilover height.

    Not only that, but you can also lower your vehicle with coilovers. Coilovers can help reduce body roll when your vehicle turns corners. These components are meant to replace suspension components and can also be called full-body coilovers.

    As you can see, coilovers can offer many performance benefits, but they are most often used to elevate or lower vehicles for aesthetic reasons.

    What Do Coilovers Do?

    Coilovers function in the same way as shock absorbers and coil springs. Coilovers combine both components to provide better control and an overall more comfortable driving experience.

    On one hand, shock absorbers offer smooth driving because they compress while you drive on different road conditions. They then automatically expand when road conditions change. Coilover springs follow the same route but are a lot stiffer and won't compress as quickly. You will lose some of your ride comfort, however. Still, coil springs are necessary to prevent your car from bottoming.

    The coilover itself is made with a spring (coil) that surrounds a shock absorber. The coil will compress when you hit speed bumps or potholes in the road. Once the street levels out, the shock absorber will push the spring up to ensure a smoother ride.

    To make your vehicle lower and stiffer, adjust your coilover as much as you can. Because the coilover is shorter, the mainspring will be compressed more. The spring exerts more force to the coilover the tighter it is compressed. This forces your coilover to work harder to conform to road conditions, thus offering a firmer ride.

    Coilover Benefits

    Coilovers are often praised for their performance, but most people will only notice two benefits. You can get similar results by using lowering springs or non-shock-adjustable coilovers rather than coilovers. However, each setup has its pros and cons.

    You won't like coilovers installed if you don't want to lower your car. But coilovers can be a great option if you like the lowered look or your car is designed for performance.

    You want to be able to quickly raise or lower your ride with adjustable coilovers. Coilovers have a threaded body that allows for ride height adjustment and can be used to change spring preload.

    This is often considered the best advantage. Adjustable coilovers allow you to easily raise or lower your car for long trips, or while it's on display at a car exhibit.

    So while you can adjust your vehicle's height easily with coilovers, they also prevent bottoming out if you decide to lower it. Similar results can be achieved via damping adjustment and spring rates. Once you are familiar with what to do, it makes a big difference.

    Enhanced Handling

    Coilovers are well-known for having the ability to adjust the height of your vehicle, but they can also cause a rougher driving experience. You'll have better handling if the coilovers are installed correctly.

    Coilovers offer effects similar to quality shocks that can help your ride turn at higher speeds or round corners. They are a great option for those who don't want to ride rough and still want some performance benefits. Install your coilovers and set them for a higher height.

    But what if you're experiencing too much stiffness from your coilovers? Adjusting ride height can be a good way to adjust coilover stiffness. You'll have a better ride than traditional shocks or coil springs if you adjust them higher.

    Other coilovers allow you to adjust rebound or compression. Moreover, coilovers are used by high-end competitors because they offer great adjustment. In fact, you'll see coilover suspension on any competitor's car, as it's a superior handling system.

    Why Choose Lowered Coilovers?

    It's why Formula 1, NASCAR, and almost all other race cars have low ride heights. Your vehicle's center gravity will affect how well you can take corners and drive at higher speeds. Even if you are using coilovers, remember that the lower your car is, the greater the risk of bottoming it out.

    Because racetracks aren't as crowded as regular roads, drivers of racecars can drive their cars closer to the ground. Coilovers let them raise their vehicles on open roads. They can then quickly lower the coilovers when they're on the track.

    However, not all drivers want to drive their cars on the track. Some drivers prefer a lower vehicle in general for various reasons.

    Why Choose Raised Coilovers?

    As stated, coilovers are a great way to raise your car. They can be used to increase your ride's height or to fit bigger sized tires. And they let you enjoy the benefits of a raised vehicle without having to physically make modifications to raise it.

    What's more, coilovers are a great option if you want to go off-roading but still maintain a street-level ride height. Coilovers that are lifted in a 4x4 allow for extra clearance to avoid obstacles and bigger tires.

    This in itself is a huge advantage that helps keep your vehicle protected from objects like rocks and debris while off-road. If you're an avid off-roader, you should seriously consider investing in coilover installation for your ride.

    The upfront cost will far outweigh any damage to your vehicle later on. Just make sure that you thoroughly examine and compare all of your available coilover options before making a buy. You want to be sure that the one you purchase is compatible with your vehicle's make and model.

    It is likely that your ride will be a bit stiffer than with stock suspension. However, this is normal because you are getting suspension components that are built for performance.

    Try to remember that most coilovers are made by manufacturers for your vehicle's weight. If you want to buy coilovers to increase the height of your ride because of excessive vehicle weight dragging on the factory suspension, it is not as simple as swapping the coilover and raising it.

    But with struts, you can swap them out directly with coilovers. The difference, though, is that struts have a place designed to accept coil spring installation. A coil over strut, on the other hand, comes equipped with coil springs.

    What Are The Best Coilovers?

    If you're in the market for new coilovers, you have a pretty big selection to choose from. And like anything else, some are better than others. It's therefore important to make sure you select the right brand and model for your vehicle's make and model.

    Brands like KW Competition are known for making a variety of versatile top coilover shocks, including shock adjustable coilovers. If you're looking for an excellent track option for your vehicle's coil springs, KW Competition is a great place to start. Their rebound and compression adjustment is ideal for race cars.

    For bottom coil spring options, Fortune Auto 500 Series has the street car community covered. Most coilover options from Fortune Auto feature mono-tube damping case for adjustable shocks.

    Speedway Motors also offer a wide array of affordable coilover options. They offer conversion kits, adjustable coilover options, and they have many universal coilover options to choose from, as well. And you can find a cost-effective height adjustable coilover set if you wish to raise your ride.


    Cheap Adjustable Coilovers

    ECS Street System coilovers options are a budget-friendly option that will help you improve cornering performance and suspension. Height adjustments are ideal for beginners, making this brand a great entry-level option.

    What Are Coilovers Used For?

    Coilovers improve suspension movement, ride quality, and cornering. The coilover combines the shock absorber and coil spring into one convenient unit. Shock adjustable coilovers help you get better performance on lowered vehicles by preventing bottoming out.

    What Are Coilover Kits?

    Coilover kits come with everything you need for installation. All you need is the tools to complete the job. You'll want to make sure that the coilover kit is designed for your vehicle's make and model before purchase.