Lowering Your Car: Benefits & Drawbacks
Updated: Oct 16, 2021
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.
Table of Contents:
Benefits Of Lowering Your Car
There are many benefits to lowering your car, as listed below.
You can click on each benefit below to read in more detail or you can scroll down.
Increased Road Sensitivity
A lowered suspension allows a driver to be more in tune with how their vehicle performs.
More vibrations created by abnormalities (rough surfaces, cracks etc) in the road surface are transmitted to the driver's hands via the steering wheel.
This allows for a correct response by the driver.
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.
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.
Being closer to the ground improves responsiveness, stability and grip while travelling at high speeds.
There is less weight transfer when braking, accelerating and cornering - this improves track times and stability.
A lower car also generates more grip due to enhanced downforce and aerodynamics.
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.
Lessened Chance of a Roll-Over
Because lowered cars have a lower centre of gravity, they are less likely to roll over when cornering fast.
This could also benefit you in the event of an unexpected sharp turn.
Enhanced Traction & Grip
Due to less weight transfer and enhanced aerodynamics a vehicle will have enhanced traction and grip.
This will improve track times and 0-60 times, this effect can be enhanced by fitting wider tyres and wheels.
Cars that have been lowered usually look better to most people.
It creates a more aggressive and performance-oriented appearance.
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.
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.
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.
Accelerated Tyre Wear
Lowering your car affects the geometry of your suspension and angle of the wheels and tyres.
If the lowering is done poorly, your car may have misaligned alignment wheels, which may result in early or severe wear patterns on the tyres.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Concerns Regarding Warranties
Lowering your car will most likely invalidate manufacturer warranties.
Always check with the terms of the warranty whether this modification affects its validity beforehand.
Should You Lower Your Car?
The choice to lower your car is yours.
Sure, lowering your car will improve its handling and characteristics if it's done correctly.
However, incorrectly setting up your cars suspension can result in a worse handling car than before.
Here's everything you need to know before you lower your car.
Don't Go Too Low
If you want better performance and handling, you may find that you don't need to lower your car as much as you thought.
Going too low can cause your car to handle even worse than a stock suspension setup, possibly even causing a crash or damage.
It's easy to lower your car too much and end up making your car handle worse, rather than better.
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.
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.