What are Coilovers

what are coilovers

In the world of suspension systems, there are many components, and coilovers are one of the most crucial ones. But many people ask what they are?

These often underestimated components are part of a complex system that keeps your vehicle planted on the road’s surface and lets you steer.

Starting from the wheels and all the way up to the steering wheel, coilovers are one of the main linkage points of your vehicle’s suspension.

Without them, you wouldn’t be able to drive your vehicle the way you’re.

What are Coilovers?

what is a coilover

A coilover is a metal cylinder that consists of a damper and a coil spring going around it. Coilovers are suspension components that are usually part of MacPherson struts.

This is why a coilover is commonly used in double-wishbone suspension systems. Although it’s part of factory suspension on new cars, a coilover allows you to lower or stiffen your vehicle’s ride height.

Coilovers help reduces weight transfer and in improve handling performance. In addition, they make for a versatile aftermarket upgrade that you can alter to make your vehicle ideal to drive on any terrain.

This is done by adjusting the caster and camber angles using a simple tool.

How Do Coilovers Work?

Coilovers work by dampening bumps, holes, and any other road imperfections, thanks to their components working together.

The springs of a coilover help absorb the impacts, and they also help hold the weight of your vehicle.

Unlike a shock absorber, the spring of a coilover helps prevent bottoming. In some instances, it helps immensely to reduce body roll.

This is especially noticeable when braking, cornering, and accelerating. Depending on the spring rate, a coilover can make for either a wafty or stiff ride.

The higher the tension on the spring, the stiffer and more stable the ride, and vice versa.

Types of Coilovers

Non-Shock Adjustable Coilovers

non-adjustable shock absorber coilovers

Although, as you’d expect, the shock of a non-adjustable coilover system can not be adjusted, the springs can. This is why non-shock adjustable coilovers are only height adjustable.

These full-bodied coilovers are a great solution for lowering your car. If you want to make your vehicle ready for the track, this type of modification is a must.

But you can also increase ground clearance to make your car better for off-roading.

Shock Absorber Adjustable Coilovers

shock adjustable coilovers

While shock adjustable coilovers have the same features as non-shock adjustable ones, they are quite different.

With the former, you can adjust coilover stiffness, compression, and rebound of the shock.

This makes shock absorber adjustable coilovers more versatile. Therefore, this makes them the most popular option.

Shock absorber adjustable coilovers are also better for track use than non-shock adjustable coilovers.

Adjustable Coilovers with Camber Kit

adjustable coilovers with camber kit

If you want to go a step further than an adjustable ride height coilover upgrade, you should consider one with a camber kit.

This type of solution is coupled usually with a front camber kit, but some have a rear camber kit too.

This allows you to make all sorts of performance adjustments to make your vehicle ready for the track at hand.

Coilover Sleeves

coilover sleeve

A coilover sleeve works much like a lowering spring. But there is a difference since a coilover sleeve is height adjustable.

However, there are plenty of options regarding the rate and length of a coilover sleeve.

For quite a simple upgrade, coilover sleeves are a pretty versatile solution. They are also quite affordable but do not come with a camber kit. 

Benefits of Coilover Suspension

Coilovers Improve Handling

Probably the number one reason people upgrade to coilover shock suspension is that it provides better handling.

It is easier to go into corners, but with coilovers it’s even safer to go into sharp turns at higher speeds. Of course, it’s not something you should do, but if a situation requires you, you’re better off going into it with coilovers.

Coilovers Provide Dampening & Ride Height Adjustability

Another reason you should go with coilover suspension is that your vehicle’s ride height can be adjusted easily.

This makes for a better and more customizable dampening effect, which is impossible when only shocks or struts are used. You don’t have to be a mechanic to adjust the coil springs, either.

Comfortable and Quality Ride

comfortable ride

Adjusting the rate of the coil springs can make your vehicle ride feel more comfortable. Thus improving its overall quality.

People would think that you’ve bought a new car if you were to blindfold them and drive them around.

As long as you do a good job installing and adjusting your coilover suspension, that should be the case. Just don’t make anyone think that you’ve kidnapped your friend.

How to Install Coilovers

Preparation & Tools

To install a set of coilovers, you must first have all the necessary tools. These tools will include a floor jack, jack stands, a silver marker, a hammer, a coil spring compressor, a socket set, and a ratchet.

Also, wear gloves and follow safety tips when removing tricky components such as your old springs.

Replace Your Old Components

First, you need to raise your vehicle and remove the wheels in order to remove your existing suspension parts. Then, with the wheels removed, take off the old springs and struts.

Installation Process

Then, follow the instruction manual that came with your kit in order to install the coilovers properly. Once installed, you then need to adjust the coilovers.

How to Adjust Coilovers

adjusting coilovers

To adjust your new coilover suspension you need to be aware of the type of adjustment it comes with. Partially-threaded coil overs have 2 adjustment collars. You usually need to hold the top one and turn the bottom one in order to adjust your vehicle’s ride height.

If you get fully-threaded body coilovers then you will have to work with 3 adjustment collars.

You first need to loosen up the middle one and then adjust the top and bottom collars to your liking. Once you’re done adjusting the top and bottom collars, put the middle collar snuggly against the top one.

Then, tighten all 3, starting from the bottom collar, and work your way up.

Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs

If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy going to the track on the weekends, a set of lowering springs is going to be the better option.

But do not expect to get the same level of versatility as with coilovers. Even if you use coilovers just to drive in the city, you will still be able to make your ride more comfortable.

Consider lowering springs as a minor upgrade that’s only better than your stock suspension.

When comparing coilovers vs. lowering springs, the former is a more customizable upgrade from the get-to.

Also, it’s more complete than the lowered coilovers.

Are Coilovers Good for Daily Driving?

are coilovers good for daily driving

Since they are so versatile and easy to adjust, coilover suspension components are great for daily driving too. Some might say that they are only meant to be driven on backroads, but this is not entirely true.

You can also use some of the best coilovers for daily driving and reap all their benefits. Without having to mod your car or go for some styling options, you don’t identify with.

Don’t limit your suspension modifications to what most people think they should be used for. Instead, make use of their advantages and enjoy a comfortable ride no matter where and what you drive. 

What are Coilovers FAQs

Should you get coil overs?

The main question you’re probably asking yourself is whether or not to get coilovers. As you already know, they are an excellent solution for improving ride comfort and stability.

Although coilovers are on the more expensive side, coilovers are proper long-term suspension upgrades.

Can coil overs damage my car?

Everything can damage your car, not just coilovers. But looking at things this way, you won’t be able to install any aftermarket upgrade.

On the other hand, if you install and adjust correctly, coilovers won’t damage your car.

Do coil overs void my car’s warranty?

While this usually isn’t the case, it all depends on your vehicle’s model and make. But since coilovers are an aftermarket upgrade, they can void your car’s warranty.

It’s best to consult with a mechanic about this.

Do coil overs last longer than standard suspension?

The lifespan of your coilover suspension depends on many different factors. However, coilover suspension is usually going to outlast your stock suspension.

But if you drive recklessly and in poor road conditions, there’s not much guarantee in that.

What’s the difference between a coil over and a strut?

A coilover is a type of strut with a circular spring. Although coilovers are considered struts due to their construction, they act differently.

In a way, coilovers share some things with struts and are different from them simultaneously.

What’s the difference between a coil over and a shock absorber?

A coilover is not much different from a shock absorber since it works much like one while being a type of strut.

A significant difference here is the level of customization and adjustment you get with coilovers which is far greater than what you get with shock absorbers.

How much do coil overs cost? 

The cost of a coilover depends on the type of coilover kit you go for. If you go for an entry-level or mid-level coilover kit, it can cost anywhere between 1,300$ and 2,000$.

However, if you go for a high-end coilover kit, you will usually spend starting from 3,000$ and up.

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