The purpose of upgrading a vehicle's suspension with performance parts is to get better vehicle handling while driving, as well as a smoother ride. Years ago, after market performance suspension was used mostly by people who would drag race their cars. It was a challenge to constantly be rebuilding the car to go faster and handle more. Today, some people still do join in on amatuer races, but now more people are upgrading their cars just for the fun of it, and to enjoy how much better the vehicle drives. In addition to this, upgrading parts also makes the vehicle more safe. By improving its ability to hug the road and make tighter turns, the car becomes safer to drive and harder to roll. Many times things happen that are beyond the driver's control, such as an accident up ahead, or a log falling out of a truck. Events like this require the driver to manoeuvre quickly, often swerving out of the way. If the car is not set up to handle this kind of driving, it is easy to lose control and roll the vehicle.
The suspension parts are what keeps the vehicle riding smoothly. Without them, the car would just be a frame with wheels. Drivers would feel every bump in the road if this were the case. Even the early horse-drawn carriages had suspension systems. The suspension is also set up to keep the wheels in contact with the road at all times. Without the suspension, it would be very easy to roll the vehicle when turning. There are multiple performance suspension parts that people can get. They include springs, shock absorbers, struts, anti-sway bars, front suspension, and rear suspension.
The History of Amateur Racing
As with anything mobile that is motorised, as soon as it is invented, people want to push it to its limits. The very first automobile race was in 1887 and it was 1.2 miles long. The winner was George Bouton who drove a car that he and a few others built. However, his victory was not all that exciting since he was the only one to show up to the race.
The first large scale race happened in 1894. The track was from Paris to Rouen, and 69 vehicles applied to enter. Only 25 of those entries were selected to race and they ranged from private owners to larger manufacturers. The winner crossed the line in 6 hours and 48 minutes. However, he was disqualified because his car needed a stroker, which was against the rules.
Racing became a more serious sport in 1903 when the Milwaukee Mile was built. The track remains the 2nd oldest surviving one today. Ever since, people have continued to build better, faster cars. The challenge to create a vehicle superior to all others shall always remain.
Performance Suspension Parts
Keep in mind that performance parts have to be made specifically for a certain vehicle. What fits one car, most likely does not fit another. If shoppers get frustrated looking for each part, they can find a kit that is made for their vehicle and contains all of the pieces as well as instructions. However, keep in mind that upgrading any suspension parts usually voids the warranty on the vehicle.
The springs are what support the weight of the car. They are specified by their pounds per force. The higher the number, the more stiff they are because the weight of the car does not compress them as much. There are two types of springs to look at: linear and progressive. Linear springs have the same amount of pounds per force throughout. So no matter how far down the car presses, the resistance is the same. Progressive springs have less resistance at the top, and more resistance at the bottom. The progressive springs are the most popular for performance suspensions because they absorb more of the small bumps, but can still handle sharp turns and large bumps.
Shocks are used to dampen the up and downward motions of the springs. Without shocks, vehicles would jump all over the road anytime there was a bump. When the chassis comes down, the shocks help slow the downward motion, and when the chassis goes back up, the shocks prevent the springs from pushing the car back up too fast. Like the springs, shocks vary in stiffness as well. The looser shocks usually provide a smoother ride, while the stiffer ones give more control. For those who do not want to choose between the two, adjustable shocks may be the best option. These can be tuned to be softer or stiffer, therefore, allowing the driver to determine how the ride feels and performs at any time.
Performance Sway Bars
Sway bars limit the ability of the vehicle to roll when turning by distributing weight evenly from side to side, as well as from front to back. A bar stretches from between the axles so that any movement on one end is transferred to the other end as well. This levels out the ride and make turning quickly easier.
Performance struts act in the same way that the shocks do. However, these are actually located inside the springs and act as a secondary safety feature to ensure that the shocks do not cause the vehicle to loose control. Since they support the shocks, this also gives the vehicle even more stability.
Air Ride Performance Suspension
The air ride suspension completely replaces the metal springs. Instead of springs absorbing impacts, compressed air does. Since it eliminates moving metal, which is unreliable, and replaces it with air, the ride is smoother. What makes this kind of suspension so popular, though, is that it can be adjusted to lower or raise the car. For example, when people want maximum performance, they can lower the vehicle close to the ground. For everyday driving, they can raise it so that they can drive over obstacles without scraping the bottom of the car.
The biggest downfall of the air ride systems, other than the high price, is that they have a higher rate of failure than the springs do, especially when in accidents. The airbag itself can be damaged or rot, the airline could be cut, the compressor motor could go out, and the dryer could fail. The dryer is the part that is responsible for keeping the moisture out of the system. After a certain amount of time, it can clog and cease to function.
Polyurethane bushings have recently become popular because they reduce the reaction time between the frame and the springs, making the vehicle more nimble and have better steering. The bushings also absorb a little of the energy from bumps themselves.
Shop for the Right Performance Suspension Parts on eBay
The trouble with shopping for parts is that they are different for each make and model of vehicle. Even local shops and garages have to order everything in for the shoppers. Unfortunately, they usually charge premium prices for this. It makes much more sense to cut out the middleman and go directly to the source where you can find the parts cheaper. On eBay, there are thousands of products and sellers for just about anything. If you go to their website, just used the search bar to lookup "performance suspension parts". Then, you can select the make as well as the model of the vehicle. That way eBay only shows you the parts that are compatible with your car. You can also be more specific and search for something like "sway bar".
As you shop, mark the products you like or are interested in by adding them to your Watch List. This truly helps keep you organised because it is easy to get mixed up when looking at so many listings. You can also go back and view these items at any time by visiting your My eBay page. Next, research the brands of each product to see what previous buyers have said about it. Since these are high priced items, it is a good idea to get the right one the first time. Lastly, be sure to check the postage costs on each product, because car parts are usually pretty heavy and can be expensive to ship.
It is amazing how big of a difference a new performance suspension setup can make on the way a vehicle drives and handles. With the right parts, vehicles are capable of hugging the road like a glove and delivering a smooth ride to the driver. All the pieces can be installed relatively inexpensively, making the upgrade well worth it. However, those who have little experience with cars may need to hire a professional to do the installation. This raises the cost of the project. How much the price goes up depends on how difficult the parts are to install. Typically older vehicles with bolts that are rusted in place present the most problems.
With the right amount of knowledge, anyone can shop for and purchase their own performance suspension. Only a basic understanding of the parts is needed and then some research needs to be done on the manufactures of each part. After that, the shopping and ordering of the parts is a breeze.