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Lowering Your Car: Should You? (Benefits & Drawbacks)

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  • 13 min read

Last Updated on: 7th September 2023, 12:39 am

Are you wanting to lower your car? If so, make sure you know the benefits and drawbacks of lowering a car first.

Sure, it can make your car look better and it can improve handling, but it can also have some drawbacks too.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the benefits and drawbacks of lowering you car, wether thats by coilovers, lowering springs, or any other method.

Benefits of Lowering Your Car

There are many benefits to lowering your car, as listed below.

  1. Increased road sensitivity
  2. Enhanced stiffness
  3. Lessened body roll
  4. Improved handling
  5. Minimised air drag
  6. Lessened chance of a roll-over
  7. Enhanced traction & grip
  8. Improved appearance
lowering a car benefits and drawbacks

1. Increased Road Sensitivity

A lowered suspension enhances a driver’s connection with their vehicle’s performance and feel.

By reducing the distance between the vehicle’s chassis and the road, a lowered suspension system increases the transmission of tactile feedback to the driver.

When the vehicle traverses uneven terrains or encounters irregularities such as rough surfaces and cracks, more vibrations are generated.

These vibrations are channeled through the steering mechanism to the driver’s hands. This heightened sensitivity allows the driver to have a more precise perception of the road’s condition.

Consequently, it allows better decisions in terms of steering, acceleration, and braking. It enables the driver to make corrective responses that are in harmony with the demands of the driving environment, contributing to a more engaged and safer driving experience.

increased road sensitivity

2. Enhanced Stiffness

A lower car usually is accompanied by stiffer springs due to reduced suspension travel.

This makes for a stiffer feeling car, it sharpens the steering input, reduces body roll and allows for improved driving.

3. Lessened Body Roll

When making a quick turn, the lean of a vehicle is greatly reduced due to the vehicle’s lower centre of gravity and reduced suspension travel.

This enhances steering input and has similar advantages to upgrading your anti-sway bars but without the drawbacks of the stiffer sway bars.

reduced body roll

4. Improved Overall Handling

Positioning the vehicle closer to the ground through a lowered suspension system imparts several critical benefits in terms of responsiveness, stability, and grip, especially during high-speed travel.

When a car is lowered, its center of gravity is reduced, which plays a crucial role in enhancing its dynamics.

The lowered center of gravity minimizes weight transfer during various driving maneuvers such as braking, accelerating, and cornering.

Consequently, the tires maintain more consistent contact with the road surface, which substantially improves stability.

This improvement in stability and balance is particularly advantageous in shaving seconds off track times, making the vehicle more competitive in racing scenarios.

Additionally, a lower stance enables the vehicle to take better advantage of aerodynamic principles. The streamlined profile reduces air resistance and the space beneath the car, mitigating lift.

As a result, there is an increase in downforce, which essentially pushes the vehicle’s tires against the road with greater intensity.

This heightened pressure results in increased grip and traction, permitting the car to navigate corners more aggressively and maintain higher speeds with greater control.

5. Minimised Air Drag

Vehicles with lower ride heights are more aerodynamic and have reduced frontal surface area, as a result the drag at high-speeds is reduced.

Some owners of low-stance vehicles even claim to get higher gas mileage due to less drag.

lowered car less drag

6. Lessened Chance of a Roll-Over

Owing to the reduced height and consequent lower centre of gravity, lowered cars have a lower chance to roll over during high-speed cornering manoeuvres.

The physics behind this lies in the distribution of weight. When a vehicle is closer to the ground, its mass is concentrated lower, which means that there is less mechanical leverage for the lateral forces acting during a turn to cause a roll.

This inherently improves the car’s stability and poise when navigating through corners at elevated speeds.

Furthermore, this characteristic is not just advantageous in high-speed cornering but can also be lifesaving in emergency scenarios.

For instance, should you unexpectedly encounter a sharp turn or need to execute a sudden evasive maneuver, the car’s lower center of gravity can be instrumental in maintaining stability.

This minimizes the likelihood of losing control or tipping over, thereby enhancing safety.

7. Enhanced Traction & Grip

As a result of reduced weight transfer, optimised aerodynamics, and better overall handling, a vehicle that is lowered experiences improved traction and grip.

This will improve track times and 0-60 times, this effect can be enhanced by fitting wider tyres and wheels.

8. Improved Appearance

Cars that have been lowered often have a more aesthetic presence.

The reduction in ride height gives a more streamlined look to the vehicle. This conveys a more aggressive stance that suggests readiness for spirited driving.

The lowered profile often accentuates the contours and design elements of the vehicle, which can make it appear more sculpted and dynamic, similar to that of a super car.

A lowered car often signifies a commitment to performance and an affinity for aesthetics. It’s a statement of passion and a testament to the owner’s engagement with the driving experience.

However, individual tastes vary, while many people find the aggressive look of a lowered car appealing, others might prefer a more traditional or elevated stance.

lowered car vs stock

Drawbacks of Lowering Your Car

Although there are multiple reasons you would want to lower a car, there are also some drawbacks to lowering your car.

  1. Ride comfort is reduced
  2. Reduced ground clearance & scraping
  3. Accelerated tyre wear
  4. Bottoming out
  5. Tyre & fender rubbing
  6. Can’t use a standard car jack
  7. High cost
  8. Concerns regarding warranties

1. Reduced Ride Comfort

If you are used to a softer suspension with more suspension travel that softens hits like bumps and potholes, you may be less delighted with the ride comfort of a lower suspension.

You may also notice increased noise as a result of being closer to the road surface.

lowered car reduced ride quality

2. Reduced Ground Clearance & Scraping

The reduced ground clearance of a lowered car will cause many issues when going over rough and bumpy surfaces.

Sometimes, you may encounter scraping even when going over speed bumps and rough road surfaces.

Curbs and steep roads and driveways may cause scraping too. Installing adjustable coilovers allows you to easily change your cars ride height.

3. Accelerated Tyre Wear

When you make your car sit lower to the ground, it changes how the suspension geometry and how the wheels and tires are set up.

This can make the tires wear out faster and unevenly, which means you’ll need to replace them more often. It can also make driving less safe, especially on wet roads.

To avoid these issues, be really careful when lowering the car and make sure the wheels are lined up properly afterward by using a specialised wheel alignment services.

tyre wear

4. Bottoming Out

With a lowered car you will usually have less suspension travel, this can cause bottoming out.

Bottoming out is where the suspension has travelled its maximum distance and hits the bump-stops.

This causes an uncomfortable feeling and can also disrupt the balance of the vehicle, often bouncing back up and temporarily losing tyre traction.

When a car bottoms out it can sometimes cause damage to suspension and underbody components, such as shocks, springs or exhaust.

5. Tyre & Fender Rubbing

When lowering the car incorrectly or excessively, the suspension and steering components may come into contact with other components.

It may also cause the tyres to rub against the body and fender as the car turns or travels over bumps.

People often change their tyres to stretched tyres to avoid this issue, however this has its own set of drawbacks and can even be dangerous.

lowered car rubbing

6. Can’t Use a Standard Car Jack

A lowered car reduces the ground clearance and therefore makes it harder to get a car jack under the car.

Some specially designed lowered car jacks can resolve this issue.

Remember that most cars come with pump jacks that will not work on lowered cars, so this will be an inconvenience if you get a flat tyre on the road.

7. High Cost

Buying high-quality components and keeping them aligned will most likely be costly.

The lower the price, the more probable it is you will encounter component failures or additional work needed.

For example, if coilovers are included in your new arrangement, you should expect to spend hundreds or even thousands on them.

8. Concerns Regarding Warranties & Insurance

Lowering your car will most likely invalidate manufacturer warranties. Always check with the terms of the warranty whether this modification affects its validity beforehand.

Some vehicle insurances also won’t cover a vehicle if its been lowered, it’s best to check beforehand.

modified car warranty

Should You Lower Your Car?

Deciding to lower your car is in your hands, but you should keep in mind the following things.

Absolutely, lowering your car can enhance how it drives and feels on the road, but only if done right. It can make the car look sleeker, and often improves cornering due to a lower center of gravity.

On the flip side, if the car’s suspension is not set up properly, it could make the car handle even worse than before.

For example, improper lowering can cause uneven tire wear, make the ride uncomfortable, or even result in damage to the suspension components.

So, let’s dive into all the vital information you should be aware of before taking the plunge to lower your car.

  • Know Why You’re Lowering: Are you lowering the car for aesthetic reasons, performance improvement, or both? Understanding your goals will help determine how much you should lower the car and what kind of suspension setup you need.
  • Understand the Suspension: Before modifying anything, it’s important to understand how the car’s suspension works. This includes knowing about components like springs, shocks, struts, and how they work together.
  • Choose Quality Components: If you’re replacing springs or shocks, invest in high-quality components. This is not something where you should skimp as it can directly affect your safety.
  • Wheel Alignment is Crucial: After lowering the car, getting the wheels aligned is essential. This makes sure that your tires wear evenly and that the car handles properly.
  • Consult a Professional: If you’re not an expert, it’s highly advisable to consult a professional mechanic or a tuning shop that specializes in lowering cars. They can guide you through the process and help ensure that everything is done correctly.
  • Check Local Laws: In some areas, there are legal restrictions on how much you can lower a car. It’s important to check local laws to make sure your modified car remains street-legal.
  • Consider Maintenance: Remember that lowered cars may require more frequent maintenance checks especially for the suspension components and tires. Be prepared for this.

By considering these points and proceeding with caution and knowledge, you can enjoy the benefits of a lowered car while mitigating potential downsides.

Don’t Lower Your Car Too Much

If your goal is enhanced performance and handling, lowering your car a little can do the trick, lowering too much can be detrimental to handling.

Going too low can backfire by making your car’s handling inferior compared to the original suspension setup. This could be a recipe for disaster, potentially leading to accidents or damages to your vehicle.

Lowering a car is somewhat of an art, it’s easy to lower it too much, which can worsen the handling instead of improving it.

lowering your car

Get Proper Alignment & High-Quality Components

Make sure that suspension components are capable of maintaining proper tyre angles by consulting with a qualified professional and getting proper alignment.

When it comes to the shocks, springs, and other suspension components, don’t overlook quality parts.

You’re making modifications to the structural and mechanical balance of your car. You don’t want to take any chances with low-quality components.

Stay Legal & Covered

If you make modifications to your car that are not permitted by law, your insurance may refuse to pay a claim for damage.

Before you personalise your vehicle, consult with your insurance company to see whether your rates will increase or whether the conditions of your insurance policy will be altered after lowering your car.

Extreme wheel or tyre configurations and suspension modifications may result in steering, suspension, and handling alterations that are not covered by your vehicle’s insurance and warranty, so be cautious when making these modifications.

Check to determine whether the changes you’re making will result in a denial of warranty claims before you begin lowering your vehicle.

Conclusion

If you decide to lower your car, get it professionally aligned to guarantee the best handling and tyre wear.

Make sure to use caution while you get used to the way your new suspension setup works.

Because of the much firmer suspension, your car may steer a bit differently and may not absorb road shocks as well.

On a rough road, a sudden hard stop or a tight bend may result in loss of traction. Always check with your insurance company and warranty before lowering your car.

You may wish to check out this guide to wider arches to accommodate for a lowered cars reduced wheel arches.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer. He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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