Mustang Linear vs Progressive Springs

Mustang Linear vs Progressive Springs

Last Updated February 8, 2021 | Chris Cervenka

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

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.

Related Resources

Lowering Your MustangLowering Your Mustang

That’s a loaded question! It boils down to what you want to spend and what you plan on using your Mustang for. If your Mustang is strictly a street car that you use to roll into car shows with the occasional track day, lowering springs with the proper supporting mods will typically do the job. If you want more adjustability, then a coilover kit would be the right choice for you. Want even more adjustability, all with the push of a button? Then air ride suspension is your go-to. Regardless of what you’re looking for, CJ’s has the suspension options you need to get your Mustang handling like it should, so be sure to check out our site today!

Backspacing/Offset ExplainedBackspacing/Offset Explained

Understanding the concept of wheel offset and backspacing can be confusing for someone who may be just starting to look for an aftermarket set of wheels and tires. Each Mustang generation has a particular set of offset and backspacing numbers that work best with the fitment around that car’s suspension wheel-well.

Installing Lowering SpringsInstalling Lowering Springs

We really dig the look of these CJ Pony Parts springs on our 2015 GT. The lowered look screams, “modern,” while the raked look screams “old school muscle car.” Best of all, with the Maximum Motorsport Caster Camber Plates installed, we’ll be able to get our alignment dialed in perfectly. Installation is a little more involved than those Mustang owners who may be used to doing lowering spring swaps on solid rear axle cars, but definitely do-able for the do-it-yourselfer.

S550 Mustang Wheel Hop FixesS550 Mustang Wheel Hop Fixes

Some say the independent rear suspension on the S550 Mustang was much overdue in comparison to many other muscle cars on the market. Well, whether you like it or not, it’s here and here to stay on the 2015+ Mustangs. Corner carvers love IRS but when it comes to straight line acceleration, drag racers may experience some wheel hop. Take a couple pointers from CJ’s and Steeda on some great parts to help stop the wheel hop on your 2015-2017 Mustang!