Installing coilovers on your car may sound intimidating, especially since new vehicles come loaded with all kinds of components.
Sensors and whatnot can keep you away from even changing a bulb. But when it comes to suspension work, that is not the case.
Usually, there are no sensors to fiddle around with. All you need is some hand tools, and you don’t even need to plug in an OBD reader.
If you want to make your vehicle’s suspension more adjustable, do so with your own two hands. Then follow my advice below on properly installing any type of coilovers.
How to Install Coilovers
Each automobile may have a different set of instructions for installing coilovers.
However, if you follow these general instructions, you will effectively finish the job.
Preparation & Needed Tools
To install coilovers, you must prepare yourself and your vehicle for the task.
This is why you need tools such as a breaker bar, a torque wrench, measuring tape, penetrating oil, a floor jack, jack stands, a socket set, and probably replacement poly bushings.
It’s best to prepare your car the night before you plan to make the coilover suspension replacement.
You should spray penetrating oil on any bolts that you plan to remove. Also, look at the steering and suspension system bushings and get replacements for them if needed.
Once done with the preparation for the overhaul that follows, it’s time to take some measurements.
The following process should be done before getting to the bolts. This includes the current ride height of your vehicle.
You should have your car parked on flat ground to ensure correct measurement. The measurement should be taken from the center of each wheel to the bottom of each fender.
Why measure at each fender and wheel? – you may ask. Because this way, you ensure that the ride height you measure will be as precise as it gets.
Even with a slight difference between each fender and wheel, you can still get a precise measurement. Therefore, measuring your vehicle’s ride height will tell you exactly how much increase you’ll have in ride height once the new coilovers are installed.
Removing the Wheels
To add the new coilovers, you must take off the wheels first. To do so, jack up your vehicle and place it on jack stands. Then, remove the bolts holding each wheel and remove the wheels.
Make sure to position the jack in the right place when jacking up your car, and place the jack stands where the lifting point of your vehicle is.
Every car usually has enough room to accommodate the grip of each axle stand. Also, the jack should be placed directly under the long metal support beam.
Removing the Shock Absorber and Coil Springs
Next, remove the strut assembly or coil spring and shock absorber. To remove the front two, you will usually need to take off a couple of bolts or brake lines.
The bolts are typically found at the top of each strut tower. You will find 3 just around the tower’s perimeter and only one center nut.
You will probably need to remove some bolts from the upper or lower control arm. This may not be required for your vehicle, as it varies from one car’s suspension to another.
This will also be the best time to go ahead and replace any worn-out or damaged bushings.
Once the struts are out, you should place them next to the coilovers. This helps you set your coilovers to the correct ride height.
You also need to measure your spring preload, and you should follow manufacturer recommendations for how to adjust your coilovers.
Install Your New Coilovers
With everything above finished, it’s time to mount your new coilovers for daily drives or even track usage. Take the coilovers and place them in the exact same place where the struts were.
In this case, you shouldn’t be using an impact wrench to bolt the coilovers. Doing so will spin in the shaft inside the shock, which can lead to damaged seals.
Make sure to rely on the coilover’s manufacturer-provided information regarding the torque settings. The same goes for the control arm bolts.
They need to be torqued down to their typical ride height. For the control arm bolts, you may want to use wooden blocks underneath for support.
When done installing the coilovers, don’t forget to put back the wheels on your car.
Once the new coilovers have been installed, you should bring your vehicle in for alignment. I’m not just talking about the wheels here. The whole suspension system of your car should be aligned properly.
Otherwise, you will have your steering off-center. This means your steering wheel will not stay in the middle when driving, especially at high speeds.
You will also experience some issues when cornering if you don’t bring your car in for an alignment. This is one of the most important tasks you’ll need to do after installing your coilovers.
Not doing it on time or at all will affect your handling and put you at risk. Avoiding an alignment will also affect the lifespan of the coilovers.
How to Install Coilovers FAQs
How Long Does It Take To Install Coilovers?
The amount of time needed to install a set of coilovers on both the front and rear suspension depends on the type of coilovers. Also, the model and type of car you have.
Usually, it takes 3 to 4 hours, but your level of expertise also has a significant impact.
How Long Do Coilovers Usually Last?
Again, like their installation process, the lifespan of coilovers depends on many factors. You can typically use them anywhere from 5 to 6 years.
But this will largely depend on the type of driving you do. And what kind of roads you put your suspension components through?
Can You Install Coilovers on Any Car?
While there are some exceptions, you can install coilover suspension in almost every car. But it’s never a bad idea to check whether or not your vehicle is one of those exceptions.
How Much Will It Cost to Install Coilovers?
Since not every vehicle is the same, not every single one poses the same difficulty when installing coilovers.
Therefore a proper installation price can vary. Typically, the average price to install coilovers will cost around 300 to 500 dollars.
Are Coilovers Easier to Install Than Lowering Springs?
Coilovers are known to come as a single assembly and lowering springs as part of a suspension system.
Although the latter is a single component, the former can sometimes be easier to install despite being made of multiple parts put together.
Do I Need New Top Mounts with Coilovers?
Again not every coilover suspension is the same, which is why some may require the use of top mounts.