Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs: What’s the Difference? | (2023)

Both coilovers and lowering springs are used to lower a car's ride height, improve its handling, and enhance its appearance. However, the way they work is different. Lowering springs are simply shorter versions of the stock springs, while coilovers are customizable and provide you the freedom to raise and lower your vehicle as you please.

Since both of these parts accomplish the same thing, to a certain extent, it's often difficult to decide which is right for you.

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Coilovers vs. lowering springs

Coilovers and lowering springs are suspension upgrades used to achieve a lower vehicle ride height.

While both of these aftermarket parts achieve similar results, they are pretty different. Which one is right for you will depend on your goals and your budget.


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What are coilovers?

Coilovers, also known as coilover shocks, are vehicle suspension upgrades meant to lower a car's ride height. They're composed of a coil spring surrounding a shock and resting on a spring perch threaded to the shock's body. You can adjust the shock perch up or down to raise or lower the vehicle.

(Video) Lowering Springs vs Coilovers

Coilovers come in twin-tube and monotube types. These terms refer to the piston design in the shock absorber.

Stock shocks typically use the twin-tube design, which allows for more suspension stroke without increasing the vehicle height. Performance vehicles and race cars usually use monotube setups, which allow for better heat dispersion, a quicker response, and the use of bigger and stronger parts.

Adjustable coilovers are also available. This name may be confusing since you can adjust the right height with any coilover system; however, adjustable coilovers refer to those that provide more than just damper and height adjustment—many of these systems allow you to modify the spring rate, camber, and caster settings.


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Pros of coilovers

Coilovers provide a variety of benefits. Here are some of the most significant advantages of coilovers:

  • Greater adjustability. Coilovers allow you to fine-tune your ride height, damper settings, and rebound settings. Additionally, some coilovers even allow you to adjust camber and caster settings.

  • Firmer spring rates. Coilovers provide higher spring rates, which is especially important for performance and race car drivers. Further, if you choose, you can swap out springs for firmer or softer versions.

  • Interchangeable parts. You can customize coilovers by swapping out parts. This means you can replace dampers, springs, perches, pillow ball mounts, and more to create a custom setup.

Cons of coilovers

Coilovers are not without their downsides. Here are some of the disadvantages of using coilovers:

  • Expensive. One of the main drawbacks of coilovers is their cost compared to lowering springs. While springs might cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000, coilovers can range from $300 to $5,000, depending on your car and the brand of parts you buy.

  • Stiffer than lowering springs. The other main downside of coilovers is they can produce a stiffer ride. While this is ideal for many race car drivers—because it prevents body roll and body lean—if you prefer a softer and smoother ride, coilovers might not be for you.


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What are lowering springs?

Lowering springs replace the stock OEM coil springs in the stock location. As the name implies, they're designed to lower the car's ride height. You simply remove the stock springs and swap in the lowering springs; no adjustment is required.

(Video) Should You Run Coilovers or Lowering Springs?

These springs do basically the same thing as coilovers. The difference is you cannot adjust the springs up or down.

Lowering springs are typically intended to lower your car a set amount, like two inches. You'll see a number like that attached to every set of lowering springs. You just determine how much you'd like to drop your vehicle and then purchase a set that fits your car and matches the number of inches you want to lower it.


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Pros of lowering springs

Here are the upsides of lowering springs:

  • Low price. Lowering springs are typically much cheaper than coilovers. A set of lowering springs generally will run you around $100 to $300.

  • Simple to install. Lowering springs are also relatively simple to install. You will need a spring compressor to swap them into the stock mounts safely. But other than that, it's as simple as removing the stock springs and replacing them with lowering springs.

  • Improve vehicle handling. Lowering springs can provide better handling than stock coil springs. They reduce body roll and lean and improve handling when turning corners.

Cons of lowering springs

While lowering springs provide several benefits, they're not without their flaws. Here are the major downsides of lowering springs:

  • No adjustability. Lowering springs are intended to reduce your car's ride height by a set amount. There is no adjustability, which can be a problem if you install them and realize there's an issue, such as tire rubbing.

  • Spring rates don't match stock shocks. The spring rate of lowering springs will be higher than your stock springs. This means the spring rate and the damping won't match, which could lead to a bumpy or bouncy ride.

  • Increased wear on shock absorbers. Because the spring rate of lowering springs doesn't match the dampening of OEM shocks, the stock shocks will wear out faster. Over time, this can result in a bouncy or "soft" ride.


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Lowering springs vs. coilovers for street driving

If you're planning to upgrade your car's stock suspension setup, you might be curious whether coilovers or lowering springs are right for you.

When driving on the street, you don't need the same level of precision and fine-tuning that adjustable coilovers provide. Further, lowering your vehicle too much could damage the undercarriage or bottom out while driving over bumpy or uneven roads.

For street driving in your daily driver, you can get by with lowering springs or an entry-level, non-adjustable coilover kit.

Lowering springs vs. coilovers for track driving

But what if you're a speed demon who lives for the race track? If you're going to dedicate your care to track use, you'll probably want to spend some extra time and money to ensure the suspension system is optimized for this type of driving.

Fully adjustable coilovers are ideal for this situation. They provide a greater degree of functionality and will allow you to fine-tune your ride. And on a race track, you don't have to worry about the bumps and potholes of regular roads, so you can adjust your car to the perfect height for hugging those corners and ripping down straightaways.


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Which is better for ride quality?

Coilovers are better overall for ride quality, as they allow you to dial in your suspension fully. However, lowering springs do not necessarily lead to poor ride quality. If you install them properly and you spring for some aftermarket shocks, they can provide just as smooth a ride as coilovers.

Which is cheaper?

Lowering springs are cheaper than coilovers. While coilovers can range anywhere from $300 to $5,000, lowering springs are typically in the $100 to $300 range, with some sets climbing as high as $1,000.

Should you use coilovers or lowering springs?

In order to decide whether you should use coilovers or lowering springs, you ultimately need to determine how much you're willing to spend and what your goals are for the car.

If you want a dedicated race car for track use only, you should spend the extra money on a quality set of adjustable coilovers. If you simply want to lower your daily driver's ride height and have no interest in track driving, you'll probably be happy with a good set of lowering springs.

However, if you have a large budget and aren't concerned about spending extra for quality parts, you should look for a quality set of coilovers. When it comes to suspension mods, coilovers are an overall better product than lowering springs. This is due to the greater levels of adjustability and customizability that coilovers provide compared to springs.

Key Takeaway While coilovers are ideal for performance vehicles, they're an excellent option for any car, as long as you have the budget for them. On the other hand, lowering springs are a great option for street use and have a significantly lower price tag.

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(Video) Coilovers vs Lowering Springs - Which is Better? What's right for you? Explained!

Regardless of whether you choose to go with coilovers or lowering springs, you're going to need a quality insurance plan to protect that sweet ride.



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(Video) Suspension Talk: Coilovers vs Lowering Springs

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What is the difference between coilovers and lowering springs? ›

While lowering springs rely on spring rate and height to alter your ride height, coilovers use the spring seat's location on the shock to raise or lower your vehicle. That means you could swap in a heavier or lighter spring and easily get back to your desired ride height.

What ride quality is better lowering springs or coilovers? ›

Coilovers typically offer drivers a better ride quality, as it allows you to lower your vehicle and still get the feel and handle you are used to. While lowering springs does not necessarily lead to poor ride quality, if your goal is for your car to drive as smoothly as possible, coilovers are the right choice for you.

What is the disadvantage of coilovers? ›

Some drivers report that coilovers lead to a stiff, uncomfortable ride. In some cases, this is because poor quality coilovers were not able to be configured correctly. Buying cheaper coilovers can really compromise ride quality and even safety, so experts recommend springing for a set with a good reputation.

What's the difference between coil springs and coilovers? ›

Coil springs must be compressed prior to removal. Compressing the spring can be both difficult and dangerous, especially in a MacPherson strut-style suspension. Coilovers combine both the shock and spring into a single assembly. The design supports the weight of the vehicle, while also dampening spring oscillations.

Do coilovers make your ride smoother? ›

Coilover suspension guarantees an increase in performance

From a performance standpoint, coilovers do improve ride quality. And, not just slightly – but quite noticeably. They do this by lowering the classic car's center of gravity, providing several benefits that make the ride smoother: Improved handling.

Are lowering springs good for daily driving? ›

Perfect for your daily driver. You can jump straight to adjustable coilovers if you want to and have the cash, but for many people springs are an affordable and safe option that will get the job done without much complexity at all.


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