Is it a Good Idea to Lower Your Car Using Its Factory Shock Absorbers?

Lowering your car will undoubtedly change its look and handling characteristics and there are a few different ways to get the job done. One cost-effective way is to install a set of lowering springs and sports shocks, while another route is to install a set of coilovers. Both methods can get a little pricey, so the best bang for your budget could be going with “option C” and throwing on a set of lowering springs with the car’s factory shock absorbers. But is that really a good idea?

What are lowering springs?

A set of Eibach Pro Kit Lowering Springs
Eibach Pro Kit Lowering Springs | Eibach.com

Lowering springs are aftermarket replacements that are shorter and stiffer than a car’s factory springs. Their shorter height is what lowers the car’s suspension geometry and they should ideally be paired with an aftermarket shock absorber that’s meant to compensate for the spring’s reduced travel. Also, an aftermarket sport shock is typically better set up to absorb the stiffer ride that the aftermarket springs provide, both when cruising and when cornering.

Can I lower my car with stock shocks?

One popular method for lowering a car that most budget-minded enthusiasts opt for is using lowering springs with the car’s OEM (stock) shock absorbers. While this is indeed a very cost-effective way of lowering the car’s ride height, it doesn’t help much in terms of the car’s ride quality.

For example, if you install lowering springs that give the car a one-inch reduction in ride height, the shock absorbers will now sit at that lower height, which reduces the amount of travel. According to Shock Surplus, this “range of travel is typically firmer than the initial portion of the shock’s travel as a way to slow down the motion of suspension so that the ride is smoother over bumps and the vehicle is less likely to bottom out under normal conditions.”

The portion of the shock absorber that gets reduced by the lowering spring is the part that’s built for smoothing out the smaller bumps and dips in the road. By eliminating that part of the shock, the car’s ride quality will be harsher. Also, since the shock absorber will be sitting at a lower height, your car has a greater potential to bottom out over larger bumps.

Using stock shocks can make the ride bouncy

A row of lowered Honda S2000s
A row of lowered Honda S2000s | Joe Santos

When using lowering springs in conjunction with the OEM shocks, the car’s ride quality can also end up being bouncy. Since the factory shock absorbers aren’t valved to match the increased aftermarket spring’s rate, they won’t be able to dampen the motion of the spring properly. Additionally, installing a set of lowering springs on stock shock absorbers can also lead to premature wear.

Is it worth it to buy lowering springs?

Yes, however, do consider pairing them with a proper set of sport shock absorbers. There are plenty of brands in the aftermarket like Eibach, Bilstein, Koni, and even KYB that sell matching spring and shock sets for an array of applications. Although installing a set of lowering springs with your car’s stock shocks might sound tempting because it’s cheap, it could end up costing you a set of new shock absorbers in the long run. So, you might as well do it right the first time.

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