Many auto owners purchase coilovers to improve the handling capability of a vehicle by improving a vehicle's suspension. They also allow drivers to lower their cars and add some amount of rollover protection during an accident. Understanding how these products work to enhance performance only requires a basic knowledge of their parts and functionality.
What is a Coilover?
Two main types of coilovers exist. The difference between is, essentially, their installation requirements. A slip-on coilover features the spring of a coilover only. A full coilover, however, includes the shock absorber and other parts that generally accompany a new vehicle. On the surface, the construction of a full coilover appears to include a coilover spring that wraps around a shock absorber. Underneath these, however, lies the system that makes this part help improve the driving experience. The shock absorber usually houses oil and a piston, although some models connect to separate reservoir. As the piston pushes further down into the part's encasement, the liquid flows slowly through small openings on the piston's head. A dust cover typically protects the exposed portion of the piston outside of the shock absorber by forming a barrier against any dust that slips through the coilover. Often manufacturers also include a rubber protection pad at the end of that piston as well, in the form of a bump stop. This feature prevents damage if the piston suddenly jams down into the oil. While many variations on the above outlined setup exist in terms of the organisation of the coilover system, you should be able recognise the same key parts in every system.
Lowering a Vehicle Using a Coilover
Many seeking high speed and better handling performance from their vehicles install coilovers in order to bring the weight of the vehicle closer to the ground. These products include options for decreasing both suspension and road height. Some coilovers offer the ability to decrease the height of a car by four inches. This alteration achieves the desired increase in control and handling of a vehicle by drawing the weight closer to the tyres and better equalising weight distribution.
Another advantage of coilovers involves the stiffening of a vehicle's springs. This helps those drivers cruising around corners at top speeds by maintaining a normal flatness, or horizontal balance, within the car's steering system. Keeping this positioning also allows for more friction as the car moves, providing the tyre rubber a better grip on the road. Studier springs also mean protection for the tyres. Less movement within the spring helps prevent the tyre from bouncing off the top of wheel well when driving over road bumps or potholes in a lowered car.