Are coilovers actually worth it? You will find a variety of answers to this. However, most people will say they are not. But let’s see why. Coilovers are aftermarket components that people usually install on the car’s suspension to enhance handling. If we talk about the visuals, a Coilover is simply a spring coiled over a shock absorber.
- 1 Defining Coilovers?
- 2 Are Coilovers Worth It?
- 3 Advantages and Disadvantages of Coilovers
- 4 Coilovers Vs. Struts: Who Uses What?
- 5 Can Coilovers Replace Shocks or Struts?
- 6 How Much Does It Cost to Get Coilovers Installed?
- 7 How Long Do Coilovers Last?
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Conclusion
Coilovers help with improving vehicle handling and lower the height of the car. However, the better handling does come at the cost of a more stiff and harsh suspension, which makes the ride uncomfortable.
So, would you prefer better handling over a more comfortable ride? Well, it depends on your personal choice and other pros and cons of coilovers that I will be highlighting in this article. People often go for other alternatives without properly understanding coilovers. I will explain everything that you do not know about coilovers so that you can make an informed decision.
Are Coilovers Worth It?
If you are wondering why people go for aftermarket coilovers in the first place, let me tell you why. Coilovers are used as more of an adjustable performance component for the suspension. They consist of a spring coiled over a shock absorber assembled in a single unit before installation.
Both of these components can be replaced as a whole unit in case there are damages or leaks in the shock absorber. As a result, you can expect coilovers to offer optimum damping as well as better vehicle handling. To top it all, regardless of its flaws, coilovers still are a worthy investment for several reasons.
The shock absorber that is housed in the centre of the Coilover handles all the oscillations and vibrations. Whenever you hit a bump, the Coilover spring goes through the compress and decompress process, taking in all the unwanted vibrations. All of the vibrating energy from the vehicle is then transferred to the shock absorbers.
The shock absorbers then dampen the vibrations and offer you smooth pass-over bumps. The shock absorbers also help control the movements of the Coilover spring.
You can find two different types of Coilover springs: linear springs and progressive springs. Linear springs have specific spring rates based on their specifically designed kit. Similarly, progressive springs have varying spring rates, which adjust in accordance with the load put on them. In either case, the springs help take in the shocks experienced over bumps and keep the tires in contact with the road.
So, are coilovers worth it? If all the advantages that I am about to discuss are what you need, then yes. More importantly, if you are ready to spend a good amount on the best Coilovers, they are worth it for a performance-level vehicle.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Coilovers
Before you wonder whether coilovers are worth it or not, let’s quickly go over their advantages and disadvantages. This will help you better understand whether coilovers are worth it for your specific driving conditions and vehicle model. Here we go:
Advantages of coilovers
Most drivers believe that coilovers improve vehicle handling compared to some of the stock suspension systems from car manufacturers. Since coilovers reduce the vehicle height, they offer better performance for sharp turns and cornering.
As a result, if your primary concern with the suspension is handling, coilovers are the way to go. More importantly, high-ride vehicles make the best use of coilovers as they are not significantly affected by the reduced height.
Coilovers are also adjustable because you can lower or raise the vehicle from ground level. You can adjust the setting to increase the height if you often go off-road. Similarly, if you want your ride to have low-profile dominance, you can adjust them to a lower setting. As a result, most people who go for aftermarket Coilover consider adjustability as one of their primary reasons for the choice.
Coilovers are also considered a luxury or prestigious suspension component due to the low-profile look they can offer. This is one of the reasons why they are considered one of the most helpful aftermarket suspension components in the car community. You will see that some of the best cars out there have coilovers installed for this reason.
Disadvantages of coilovers
While car enthusiasts love the adjustability and enhanced handling coilovers offer, they complain that coilovers make the ride stiffer and uncomfortable. However, the suspension usually gets stiffer when you go for low-quality coilovers. Therefore, make sure you purchase from a reputable brand known for quality and performance.
Another disadvantage of coilovers is that they have more space than they should. As a result, coilovers often come in contact with other car parts such as the sway bar, wires, and even tires. This often results in damages over time which leads to costly repair bills.
Coilovers can be a road liability, especially for low-quality and cheaper models. If you want to avoid Coilover failures on the road, make sure to do thorough research and read the reviews. More importantly, please don’t focus on spending less as it often leads to more significant problems, which can cost way more than the money saved.
While coilovers are customizable, which is fun, it also means that all the different parts, such as the spring and shock absorber, can collectively cost a lot. Therefore a Coilover somewhat expensive option. However, if you are ready to invest in a good pair, it shouldn’t be a problem. On the contrary, coilovers might not be your best option if you are on a budget.
The price range for coilovers can range anywhere from $400 to $4000 depending on the manufacturer, quality, and model of components you go for. While you don’t have to go all out for the best Coilover, you shouldn’t resort to the cheapest option available. Cheap coilovers don’t offer optimal advantages, which are not worth it combined with the disadvantages.
Coilovers Vs Struts: What are the differences?
Struts are designed to dampen the road forces and carry out shock duties and support the vehicle’s weight thanks to the coil springs they hold. As the vehicle goes over a bump or pothole, the vibrating energy is passed from the tires to the coil springs. The struts then dampen the energy and offer you greater control and comfort.
Coilovers are similar to struts as they also carry out the double duty. However, they house the coil springs and the shock absorber as a single unit to dampen the road feedback just as struts do. The main difference is that a Coilover puts it all together as a single unit for performance-level vehicles. On the other hand, Struts are not installed as a single assembly. More importantly, struts are an integrated part of the vehicle, whereas coilovers are not.
Coilovers Vs. Struts: Who Uses What?
If you are looking for an answer to coilovers vs struts, then know that it all comes down to your personal preferences. You can go for either coilovers vs struts, depending on how you use your vehicle and in what conditions. If you want to stick with stock ride quality and height, struts are the way to go.
However, if you want a bit of customization with better handling and height adjustment options, coilovers are the way to go. You can make the lowering or lifting upgrades to coilovers even at home with the right pair of tools and patience to invest in a few hours. But keep in mind that adjusting coilovers messes with the vehicle’s alignment. It can cause uneven wear to tires and other components. So, make sure to get a suspension alignment after Coilover adjustments.
Can Coilovers Replace Shocks or Struts?
Yes, coilovers can replace both car shocks or struts. Struts are quite similar to coilovers, as discussed earlier. You can replace the shocks or struts with aftermarket coilovers for customization and better handling if you have a performance-level vehicle.
The single assembly unit of a Coilover compared to struts and shocks allows them to offer a more finely tuned setup for height adjustment and damping. As a result, most performance-level ride owners choose to go for a strut or shock replacement with coilovers.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Coilovers Installed?
There is no standard cost for getting coilovers installed. While some coilovers are hard to install, others are relatively easier. You get a Coilover as a pre-assembled unit that only takes a few hours to install – usually 2-3 hours. However, if a Coilover requires OEM front struts hats, it is difficult to install. In such a case, the mechanic must do harder labour by disassembling the suspension components to install the front strut hat.
As a result, the installation cost comes down to what type of Coilover you have and how hard it is to install. It can usually cost you anywhere between $200 to $500. More if they do not come pre-assembled. However, this does not include the suspension alignment cost, which has to be done after the installation process. This can take another $100 to $200.
How Long Do Coilovers Last?
Coilovers usually last as long as shocks and struts do. The life of a Coilover also depends on the quality, brand, and how you maintain it. Good quality coilovers purchased from reputable brands last longer, around 150,000 miles. However, if you fail to get them installed properly and maintained over time, the life can be significantly reduced.
As a result, as soon as you hear any thumping or squeaking noises, get the coilovers checked. Make timely replacements to avoid further damages that could decrease the lifespan and add to your repair bills.
1/ Are Coilovers Good for Daily Driving?
The simple answer is no because coilovers work best with performance-level vehicles. As a result, they can be too uncomfortable and stiff for your daily ride.
2/ Do Coilovers Improve Handling?
Yes, coilovers are known to improve handling. They offer better handling by lowering the vehicle and increasing its ability to make sharper turns with greater control.
3/ Can You Put Coilovers on Any Car?
Yes, you can put coilovers on any car. Even cars that come with stock shocks or struts can be updated with aftermarket coilovers.
All in all, anyone can get coilovers installed. However, whether coilovers are worth it or not comes down to your personal choice, ride, and driving conditions. If you are a performance-level vehicle owner, coilovers are for sure worth it. In my opinion, you should invest in a solid pair of coilovers to get the best out of your ride.