Mustang Linear vs Progressive Springs

Mustang Linear vs Progressive Springs

Last Updated December 21, 2021 | Bill Tumas

So, you’ve decided you want to lower your Mustang. Whether it’s to tie those new aftermarket wheels and tires in with the rest of your car or for better handling on the autocross course, it is time to shop for lowering springs. Finding the right set of lowering springs for your Mustang can be frustrating due to the various different brands, types, and spring rates available. Some springs offer a smoother, more controlled ride, where others are more direct and transfer more vibration to the cabin so you know exactly what each corner of your car is doing.

Linear springs offer a more direct ride that has a linear spring rate all the way through the spring. This means that as the spring compresses, the spring rate stays constant throughout the entire compression. So, when you are taking corners with a car that is set up on linear springs, the resistance your shocks/struts and you are receiving through the steering wheel is constant. All things being equal, a car on linear springs is going to be easier to navigate on a road course or track, but will more than likely have a rougher ride than progressive springs.

chart showing resistance difference between linear and progressive springs Linear vs Progressive Springs

Progressive springs have grown in popularity with late-model Mustangs because of the two-sided benefit they offer. On the one hand, you are going to get the benefits of a lowered car - better handling, reduced nose dive, and decreased body roll. On the other hand, a progressive spring will offer a better ride quality than a linear spring, and sometimes even factory springs! This is due to the engineering behind a progressive spring. As a progressive spring compresses, the spring rate will gradually increase. Meaning if you’re cruising down the highway and your Mustang approaches a couple of small bumps in the road, you will feel minimal feedback in the chassis since you’re not exercising the springs fully. However, if you tackle an autocross or road course on progressive springs and put them through more abuse, they will deliver with a higher spring rate, offering a stiffer ride and more responsiveness the corners get sharper. It is said that cars on progressive springs may be the best of both worlds but can be a bit tougher to predict on the racetrack due to their constantly changing spring rate.

Why Should I Go With Linear Springs On My Mustang?

Lowered Mustang dark red modern MustangLowered S197 Mustang with KMC Wheels.

Good question! If you’re the type of Mustang driver who doesn’t mind trading a slightly rougher ride for better overall handling, then linear springs may be the choice for you!

An example of a linear spring rate would be: 750 lb/in. This means that it will take roughly 750 pounds of force to deflect the spring one inch. Another 750 pounds will be needed to deflect the spring an additional inch, and so on. The linear name comes from the fact that the rate of deflection is constant throughout the entire spectrum.

Below you’ll find a couple of reasons why linear springs may be a better choice for you and your Mustang.

  • Handling Feel: We’re not talking about handling capability; we’re talking about the overall feel you get from the suspension components working in unison as your car takes a turn. This is how your suspension communicates with your chassis and in turn, communicates with you as you’re cornering at speed. It’s a simple fact that linear springs will communicate better than progressive springs due to the predictability of a constant spring rate.
  • Not A Daily Driver: Is your Mustang a Weekend Warrior? Great! Linear springs may be a good choice for you since a rougher ride quality won’t be at the top of your list.
  • Handling > Ride Quality: If you value handling more than ride quality, then linear springs are the way to go for you.

Illustration showing difference between linear and progressive springs

Why Should I Go With Progressive Springs On My Mustang?

A lowered, bright blue, S550 Mustang Steve Gelles' Lowered Mustang with Velgen Wheels

Progressive springs are the right choice for the majority of the Mustang owners that are reading this. Progressive-rate springs are the lowering springs that one would get if their Mustang is generally a street car that occasionally makes an outing to the track or dragstrip on the weekends. Progressive springs offer the best of both worlds when it comes to that lowered look, better handling and a smooth, stock-like ride quality.

For those of you out there with 2015+ Mustangs trying to figure out which springs are best for your build, check out the CJ Pony Parts springs on our 2015 GT driven by Rick in our Purchasing Department. The CJPP Springs use a progressive front spring rate and linear rear spring rate to maintain ride comfort but drastically increase overall handling response and performance.

If you’re still on the border, you’ll find a couple reasons why progressive rate springs may be a better choice for you below.

  • Better Ride Quality: In comparison to linear lowering springs, progressive lowering springs will offer a smoother, more enjoyable ride.
  • Your Mustang Is a Daily Driver: If your Mustang is a daily driver and you’re constantly in the driver’s seat, you’re probably not going to want a rough ride.
  • Ride Quality > Handling: If you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of handling

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About the Author

Bill is our resident Mustang expert with over 25 years in the auto industry. He’s produced hundreds of videos as the host of the CJ Pony Parts YouTube channel. Read full bio →

Mustang Linear vs Progressive Springs

Linear and progressive lowering springs have a different style of compression that leads to substantial differences in handling. This means that depending on your build, one may be a better fit for you than the other. Are you a racer looking to get the absolute best handling when it comes to their Mustang? Linear is your answer. How about a daily driver and occasional weekend cruiser? Progressive is your go-to.