Coilovers vs Lowering SpringsLast Updated October 20, 2023 | Meghan Drummond
Both coilovers and lowering springs are common enthusiast mods that are easy to install and totally overhaul the handling characteristics of your car. Along with wheels and tires, adding a set of coilovers or lowering springs is one of the most cost-effective mods you can do to improve handling performance.
The debate between the two mods has been long and everyone has their own personal preference. In this article, we'll see how coilovers and lowering springs compare.
Should You Get Coilovers?
Coilovers combine a coil spring and shock absorber into one unit. They're used on off-roaders, track cars, and even daily drivers to improve their stability and performance. You can learn all about coilovers and how they work here.
Like all suspension modifications, coilovers have advantages and disadvantages.
- Better handling
- Lowered look
Not only are they more adjustable, but you can adjust each corner of your suspension independently. If you know what you're doing and like making precise changes to your suspension, it's hard to beat coilovers.
Off-road vehicles benefit from the adjustability of coilovers as well. Coilovers can be used to lower vehicles, but they can also raise them. Though there's a limit to the lift you can get, it's pretty generous. Many coilovers can give you 3-5 inches of lift.
With so many advantages, you may wonder why all vehicles don't use coilovers. It's mostly due to these downsides:
- Stiff ride
Obviously, the cost factor is a big one. High-quality coilovers can be expensive. And low-quality coilovers can create a lot of problems (squeaking, clunking, leaking, and an uncomfortable ride). Having a shop install them can be pricey, so if you can do it yourself, you'll save a good deal of money.
Ride stiffness is kind of the reason you buy coilovers in the first place. A lot of the advantages of coilovers come from the stiffness of the springs. But overly stiff springs can cause a painful ride. It's important to get the right spring rate for your vehicle. Installing a set of coilovers on your daily driver isn't the right decision for most people, so definitely weigh the pros and cons beforehand.
Should You Get Lowering Springs?
Lowering springs are shorter, potentially stiffer springs that fit right onto the stock coil to replace your stock springs. They're designed to lower your car and have a fixed spring rate that can't be adjusted.
Lowering springs can add stiffness and give you better handling in the corners, but they're not likely to perform as well as coilovers. They're also considered a cosmetic mod by many enthusiasts since they lower your car from its stock ride height.
Interested in learning about what lowering springs might be best for you? Check out our guide on how to pick the best lowering springs for your driving style.
Lowering Spring Pros
Lowering springs have a few advantages that might make them the right choice for many drivers.
- Slight performance gains
- Lowered look
The main reason to install lowering springs over coilovers is the price. A good set of coilovers can run you a few thousand dollars. Lowering springs, on the other hand, will only run you a few hundred dollars.
Lowering springs will also slightly improve your handling by nature of lowering your car. While it won't be as drastic as coilovers, you can definitely expect to see some slight improvements in the corners.
Lowering Spring Cons
While lowering springs excel in a few categories, there are also some downsides.
- Lack of adjustability
- Ride stiffness
- Mismatched spring rates
The biggest con to installing a set of lowering springs is the lack of adjustability. Because they come with a fixed spring rate, you're not able to dial in your suspension set-up like you could with coilovers.
Speaking of spring rates, it's also possible to get lowering springs with a different spring rate from your OEM springs. This causes the OEM shock and aftermarket spring to not work correctly together, so be careful.
Coilovers vs Lowering Springs: Which Is Right for You?
Coilovers are a great suspension mod that offers many benefits with few downsides. But lowering springs offer a less expensive alternative for people wanting to lower their car.
Coilovers excel in the stability they provide through tight corners, even at high speeds. They also offer more adjustable features than lowering springs.
Lowering springs, on the other hand, are much cheaper and can still give you some of those same benefits. If you're interested, check out our article on how to install lowering springs on an S550 Mustang or S650 Mustang.
If you're interested in learning about how coilovers compare to other suspension options like air ride, check out our article on coilovers vs air suspension.