With the right suspension kit, you'll be able to lower your ride, regain your vehicle's factory suspension, or improve your car's handling, ride quality, and overall safety. This is why if you're planning on replacing an entire suspension system or upgrading what's underneath your vehicle, you have to invest in the right products. To help you find the right kit, here's a lowdown on two popular types as well as the tools you need when installing new suspension parts:
Basic suspension kit
A basic kit consists of the control arm, shock absorbers, struts, and other parts that help absorb force every time the wheels turn and touch the ground. If you're planning on replacing your car's entire suspension system, a basic kit that matches your vehicle's specs and includes the following parts is a good investment:
Control arm. This part is what links the wheels to the shock absorbers and the frame. It relies on the steering knuckle, mounts, struts, and ball joints to help keep the wheels retain traction as you steer the car and drive along different surfaces.
Shock absorber assembly. A shock absorber system relies on anti-sway bars, dampers, and springs to effectively absorb force and movement. This way, you, your passengers, and your car's other components are protected from excessive bounce.
A shock absorber assembly can be classified into three types: coil spring, leaf spring, and torsion bar. In a coil spring assembly, a traditional coil spring is wrapped around a damper. This spring can be made from a variety of materials and is found in most cars. A leaf spring assembly consists of larger springs that are basically several metal layers that are bound together at a curve. This type is found in many cars made before 1985, although some modern and bigger vehicles also use this shock absorber type. As for a torsion bars, these are commonly found in antique cars made in the US and Europe during the sixties.
Struts. Struts have two main functions: to provide structural support and help dampen or absorb force just like a shock absorber. Struts and shocks have a similar purpose, but struts offer more since they also support the vehicle's weight.
Lifting or lowering kit
This suspension kit allows you to either lower or lift your vehicle for performance purposes. Depending on the type of kit and vehicle you have, you can install lifting or lowering springs that are designed to improve overall appearance and performance. You can also go for hydraulic and air kits that use air or liquid to lower or lift up your ride. With the right suspension kit, your car will be able to withstand the change in frame and strength requirements since the up-and-down forces are altered.
Tools you'll need when installing a suspension kit
To successfully install suspension parts without hiring a mechanic, you'll need to equip your garage with the following tools:
- Torque wrench
- Engine oil and lubricants
- Impact gun
- Jacks and a jack stand
- Ratches and pliers
- Breaker bar
- Hammer or mallet
- Spring compressors