Restore Ride Quality with KYB Shocks and Struts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

If you're looking to restore ride comfort and replace your worn-out factory shocks, take a look at the KYB line of suspension products. Their shocks and struts are reasonably priced and feature a lifetime warranty when used with factory springs. 

KYB has been recognized around the world as a leader in the design and production of state-of-the-art gas shocks and struts. They employ a process of continuous refinement and improvement of their products since its founding over 50 years ago.

KYB's most popular model, the GR-2, features dampening rates that are similar to factory for a familiar feel and an emphasis on ride quality. If you are using an aftermarket lowering spring and have a need for an adjustable shock up to the task of effectively controlling your high performance car, be sure to check out the KYB AGX Adjustable. Depending on the application, the AGX Adjustable features 4-8 way adjustability that controls both compression and rebound with the turn of a knob.

Also, when you purchase any four KYB Shocks, Struts or Strut-Plus before April 30, you can receive a $40 mail-in rebate.

KONI Sale Continues for One More Month!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

Time is approaching for the end of our KONI sale that has been running for the past few months. However, there is still time left to secure your products before the summer season ends. Now through September 2, 2013, select KONI products will remain 20% off regular price.

Whether you are looking for performance and adjustability with the famed KONI Sport or performance and comfort with the high-tech FSD Damper Set & Springs, there's a KONI product to fit your needs. The following are features and benefits of the FSD Damper Set & Springs:

  • An engineered suspension system of shocks and springs that complement each other.
  • Body lowering of 1.0"-1.5" depending on vehicle. Improved appearance, but still street-worthy.
  • Better handling. Roll, dive and squat are improved for better driver control.
  • Maintained or improved ride quality, even with lowering.
  • Limited lifetime warranty to the original owner.

KONI shocks lead the way in longevity and quality so shop by vehicle to find the proper products your car.

KW Variant 3 Coil-Over: Race Technology That's Comfortable on the Street

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

Having just purchased a 2012 Ford Mustang GT, I felt that many aspects of the vehicle's performance were phenomenal, however the suspension left me wanting more. While the car provides good lateral grip in corners and performs better than any other generation of stock Mustang, the soft spring rates contribute to excessive body roll and front-end pitch under heavy braking.

To cure this, I pulled out the big guns and installed KW's Variant 3 Coil-Over. While the Variant 1 allows only for height adjustment with KW factory pre-set damping, and the Variant 2 provides height adjustment and adjustable damper settings, the Variant 3 gives drivers independent control of both rebound and compression, along with a wide range of height adjustment.

Installation only took two hours with a lift and a few of my friends. KW even includes vehicle specific install instructions and recommended shock settings. While the car now rides on a much higher spring rate than factory, the dampening takes out some of the harshness associated with lowered cars. It really rides quite nice and shows a huge improvement in handling. The car lays flat into corners with minimal roll and is much more stable under acceleration and braking.

Stay tuned for more changes I'll be making to my vehicle, up next: tires and wheels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for the Best Coil-Over Kit for the Track or Street? Bilstein is the Answer!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

When looking to improve the performance of your vehicle, a coil-over kit can provide the most dramatic effects when it comes to reducing body roll, controlling bounce and adjusting ride height. A coil-over kit is best described as a spring, shock and bump stop incorporated into one assembly with the spring encompassing the shock and bump stop. It often uses an adjustable spring perch to allow different vehicle ride heights without changing the springs.

One of the most recognized and trusted names in the suspension industry is Bilstein. When it's time to upgrade the suspension on your vehicle, take a look at their PSS Coil-Over Kit, PSS9 Coil-Over Kit and PSS10 Coil-Over Kit.

 Bilstein PSS Coil-Over Kit
Bilstein PSS Coil-Over Kit
 Bilstein PSS9 Coil-Over Kit
Bilstein PSS9 Coil-Over Kit
 Bilstein PSS10 Coil-Over Kit
Bilstein PSS10 Coil-Over Kit


Bilstein PSS Coil-Over Kit:

  • Matched performance spring and threaded ride height adjuster
  • Includes application specific, progressive rate coil springs
  • Set your vehicle low and tight for optimized performance or revert to a more stock-like ride

Bilstein PSS9 Coil-Over Kit:

  • Fully adjustable monotube gas shock absorbers offer nine precise compression and rebound settings, from comfort to competition
  • The front and rear progressive rate springs allow for the accurate adjustment of a vehicle's ride height, stance, cornering balance and ride quality to maximize performance
  • Adjuster style differs per vehicle

Bilstein PSS10 Coil-Over Kit:

  • "Click" from comfort to competition with no tools or jacking required
  • The PSS10 Coil-Over System, evolved from the PSS9 system, adds a matched performance spring and threaded ride height adjuster to provide a complete suspension system for your vehicle
  • Ride height adjustable from -1.0" to -1.75" (front) & -1.0" to -1.75" (rear. minimum 1" lowering)
  • Lighter weight reduces wear and tear on suspension components
  • The Bilstein PSS10 Coil-Over System offers ten vehicle adjustment settings and includes numbered adjusters at the base of the shock body so you know exactly what setting you are on without counting clicks

All Bilstein gas pressure struts/inserts and gas pressure shock absorbers operate on the same principle. They're designed with the rod pointing down into the strut tube, thereby utilizing the thicker, stouter body portion of the shock absorber to dissipate side loads. Due to the increased diameter and surface of the pressure tube, the Bilstein gas pressure strut/insert or shock is better suited to take increased side loads when compared with the conventional version.

Additional advantages, based on development strongly influenced by the motorsport industry, include increased stability, improved road handling and accurate steering. And extremely high quality manufacturing and materials as well as a weather resistant coating to resist oxidation, mean Bilsteins will last approximately four times as long as Original Equipment.

For more information on Bilstein products, read "Which Bilstein Replacement Shock or Strut is Best for Your Vehicle?"

Anti-Roll Bars for the Street and Track are Available at Tire Rack

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The anti-roll bar, also called an anti-sway bar, connects the left and right suspensions together and anchors to the vehicle frame. Typically used at the front and rear of the vehicle, the anti-roll bar is commonly used to adjust the handling balance of the vehicle and limit the amount of sway or body roll during cornering.

In essence, an anti-roll bar works as a torsion spring, so as you approach a high speed corner, the vehicle will begin to lean downward toward the outside corner pushing upward on the outside end of the anti-roll bar. The upward movement of the outside end of the anti-roll bar is transferred to the inside end of the anti-roll bar, which responds by also applying the same upward movement to the inside cornering of the suspension. This compresses the inside corner of the suspension while also providing torsion to the anti-roll bar so the outside edge can better resist the upward movement. All this results in a vehicle that'll remain level even while making high-speed corners and keep traction more equal for the inside and outside tires.  

Whether you're looking to increase performance on your daily driver or looking to have the ultimate autocross/road race machine, we offer a wide array of anti-roll bar products

 Eibach Anti-Roll Kit
Eibach Anti-Roll Kit
 H&R Anti-Roll Bar
H&R Anti-Roll Bar
 Hotchkis Sport Anti-Roll Bar
Hotchkis Sport Anti-Roll Bar


Performance Street Anti-Roll Bars:

Eibach Anti-Roll Kit:

  • Further reduces body roll
  • Cold-formed from high strength aircraft grade steel
  • Designed to fit without vehicle modification

H&R Anti-Roll Bar:

  • Perfectly complements H&R springs, coil-overs, performance shocks and cup kits
  • Crafted from spring steel that is stronger, more resilient than other materials
  • Bent on proprietary machines designed by H&R to produce complex curves and a perfect fit

Hotchkis Sport Anti-Roll Bars:

  • Improves handling while reducing body roll
  • Designed for the everyday commuter and occasional road course or track use
  • Includes tubular front and rear anti-roll bars
 Hotchkis AutoX Anti-Roll Bar
Hotchkis AutoX Anti-Roll Bar
 Hotchkis Competiton Anti-Roll Bars
Hotchkis Competition Anti-Roll Bars


Autocross/Track Anti-Roll Bars:

Hotchkis Sport Suspension AutoX Anti-Roll Bar:

  • Improves handling and reduces body roll
  • Track-tested, lightweight, hollow
  • Includes greasable bushings and brackets

Hotchkis Competition Anti-Roll Bars:

  • Designed for the highly competitive road course and autocross course
  • Maximizes tire performance and achieves slight oversteer
  • Tubular front and rear bars with greasable polyurethane bushings, brackets and 90-degree zerk fittings (where applicable)

Shop by vehicle to view all anti-roll bars offered for your daily driver, autocross or road race vehicle. Also, take a look at replacement shocks and struts to complement your new anti-roll bars by reading, "Which Bilstein Replacement Shock or Strut is Best for Your Vehicle?"

KONI Sport Shocks Now Available for 2011-2013 Mustang GT and V6

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

After a considerable wait earlier in the year, KONI Sport Shocks are again available for the 2011-2013 Ford Mustang V6 and GT. While the rear shocks have the same part number as 2005-2010 members of the Mustang S197 chassis, the front struts utilize a different strut mount and have previously been very difficult to find.

Fitting a firmer shock body to this chassis helps reduce some of the front-end dive during breaking and also reduces some lateral movement. As with all KONI Sport Shocks, these are adjustable and offer a twin tube, low pressure gas design.

Shop by vehicle to ensure you grab the right parts for your pony.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli P Zero

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Pirelli P ZeroReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.62

1993 Mazda RX-7
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: Toronto, ON
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
August 13, 2012

This set of tires came on my Mazda dealer-installed set of 18" RX-8 wheels (they are a Pirelli dealer). Ride quality is acceptable on these low-profile tires; I would have preferred the stock 16" RX-7 wheels, but this rolling stock does give the car a more modern appearance. Driving on broken pavement is harsh with my suspension setup, but that is mainly because the car's previous owner installed performance springs and adjustable shocks for road racing.

On new, smooth roads, the Pirellis ride quietly and smoothly. They steer responsively and stop quickly on hard braking. Dry grip is plentiful and the breakaway characteristics are progressive and easily controllable. Wet grip is adequate, but you can get better rain tires for the money. Fuel economy is also surprisingly good on long freeway stretches – I am getting close to 30 mpg in my RX-7, which is near its theoretical ideal. I'm expecting to get about 15 - 20,000 miles on these tires.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated)

Friday, June 22, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated)Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.25

2002 Nissan Maxima SE
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 6,000
Location: Medford, MA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 6,000 Miles on Tires
September 21, 2010

I have another Nissan Maxima that is lowered with adjustable shocks (Illuminas), Falken tires and for this reason, is completely awesome on the highway even when taking turns, rides in the city can be a little uncomfortable sometimes. I mention this for perspective- my 02 is pretty much bone stock with the exception of replacement Tokiko shocks (Blues). I needed to replace the original Michelin's (which I loved but could not justify the price) and picked these up for the Spring, Summer, Fall (I have a set of Winter tires that I use).



So far I am very satisfied with these tires, I’ve been through heavy rain and purposely gunned it to test the traction and never did I feel myself hydroplaning. I have tried to break the tires loose in dry weather and nothing; you have to get that pedal on very close to the floor to get anywhere near loose- no fan fare, the tire just grips and goes. The only thing, which is not really an issue since the perfect tire hasn’t been invented yet, is that the sidewall is a little stiff so if you're driving around the city on roads that aren’t perfect, you'll feel those imperfections. I actually had one tire replaced under warranty after I hit a large pothole in the rain at 60 about mph. Also on the highway, when making sudden lane changes, it feels a tad soft BUT this is probably because my other car drives like its on rails due to the aforementioned modifications. I’ve had no concerns about making a lane change at 75-80 mph. Put another way, I wouldn’t drive this car the way I drive the stock Avalon or Altima that’s in the family.



In summary, apart from wishing it were a tad more comfortable around the city, I COULDN’T be happier. The tire has so far met every need that I had- great dry/wet traction, good steering response. I will update the review when I get some more miles on the tires.

Which Bilstein Replacement Shock or Strut is Best for Your Vehicle?

Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Has your vehicle become bouncy and uncomfortable? Or have you recently lifted or lowered your vehicle? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then chances are it's time to upgrade your shock or struts. Depending on your desired result, Bilstein offers a wide assortment of shocks and struts that could be a match for your application.
 

Bilstein HD Shock
Bilstein HD Shock
Bilstein Touring Class Shock
Bilstein Touring Class Shock
Bilstein Sport Shock
Bilstein Sport Shock


For full-sized sedans, SUVs and trucks that are stock ride height and looking to maintain the vehicles original ride qualities, the following options are a good match:

  • Bilstein HD Shocks, Struts or Cartridges
    • Improved handling and ride control without sacrificing comfort
    • Fade-free, high gas pressure monotube design
    • Lifetime warranty
       
  • Bilstein Touring Class Shocks, Struts or Cartridges
    • For driver who want to restore their vehicle's original ride and handling
    • Valved about 10% firmer than stock
    • Same German engineering and quality as Bilstein's monotube gas pressure shocks, but in a competitively priced, twin tube design
    • Limited lifetime warranty

For driving enthusiast and/or owners of lowered vehicles take a look at the following option:

  • Bilstein Sport Shocks, Struts, or Cartridges
    • For the enthusiast who demands superior handling
    • Bilstein's highest level of control
    • Excellent match for vehicles with lowering springs or upgraded anti-roll bars
    • Superior monotube design provides strength and heat dissipation
    • Lifetime warranty

Off-road enthusiasts with lifted vehicles or larger diameter tires should consider the following 5100 Series options:

Bilstein 5100 Series Adjustable Shock
Bilstein 5100 Series Adjustable Shock
Bilstein 5100 Series Shock
Bilstein 5100 Series Shock
  • Bilstein 5100 Series Shock
    • Self-adjusting deflecting disc valving
    • High-flow piston reduces harshness
    • Independent rebound and compression tuning
    • Larger working piston area for exact damping
    • Superior control for large diameter tires
    • Strong Monotube design
    • Lifetime warranty
       
  • Bilstein 5100 Adjustable Shock
    • Same superior design as the  Bilstein 5100 series shock but includes the option for ride height adjustment
    • Multiple snap-ring grooves on the body of the shock accommodate different spring seat positions, allowing height adjustments from 0" to 2.5" depending upon the application
    • By raising the spring seat position, the factory rake can be altered to achieve a level front to rear ride height while accommodating up to 33" tires.
    • Lifetime warranty

My Experience with H&R Coil-Overs

Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Gary Stanley

There are many ways to upgrade your vehicle's suspension. You can simply replace the existing shocks (or struts) and springs to lower your vehicle. Sway bars (sometimes called anti-roll bars) can also improve handling and reduce body roll. However, many enthusiasts feel that the pinnacle of complete suspension upgrades is to install a set of coil-overs

What is a coil-over? While many think that a coil-over is simply a shock and spring put together, there's more to it than that. A typical coil-over set-up, such as the H&R Street-Performance Coil-Over (pictured above), is specifically tuned and designed for each vehicle application. It features a threaded body so the spring perch can be adjusted up or down to change the vehicle's ride height. This kit uses progressive rate springs that assure an acceptable ride on the street while dramatically improving handling, reducing body roll and brake dive. For more information take a look at "A Look at Lowering."

For all their benefits, one would think they would be much more common. However, two main stumbling blocks come between most enthusiasts and coil-overs. The first is price. Coil-overs are more expensive than simply replacing the springs on a vehicle. The second hesitation many have is a concern about ride stiffness.

I personally used an H&R coil-over kit on my E36 BMW M3 for the last seven years I owned the car. The increase in handling and cosmetic appearance was quite dramatic. Myself and others who drove the car found that the ride wasn't as stiff as expected from a coil-over kit. In fact, the ride was comparable to a standard performance shock and lowering spring set-up. 

Shop by vehicle to see which suspension options work best for your vehicle.

 

Factory Style Shock at a Reasonable Price: KYB GR-2/Excel-G

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Not everyone is looking for or needs a stiffly valved adjustable race shock. For those looking for comfort and a return of factory ride quality, an Original Equipment style replacement shock will do just fine. These shocks and struts feature a lower price tag due to a lack of adjustability and features, but aim to stop the bouncing associated with old, worn out or leaking factory pieces.

Of the shocks that fit this criteria, my favorite is the KYB GR-2/Excel-G.  Featuring shock valving that is typically no more than 10% stiffer than factory, these shocks add a splash of performance without over-doing it. Add in a cost-effective price point and an industry leading warranty and you have a combo that is tough to beat.

It should be noted that the KYB GR-2 is not intended for use with aftermarket lowering springs. If you have these springs installed on your vehicle and are looking for an alternative to a KONI or Bilstein product, I suggest you check out the KYB AGX Adjustable. It features more aggressive valving and 4-8 way adjustability depending on the application.

KYB products are manufactured for a wide range of light-duty passenger vehicles including cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. Find a KYB product that's right for your vehicle.

Bilstein versus KONI Shocks

Friday, May 25, 2012 by Gary Stanley

As many sports cars have been coming out of storage and back into their summer wheel and tire set-ups, I've been getting a lot of inquiries about replacement performance shocks. Shocks play a vital role in a vehicle's handling characteristics. Replacing worn shocks with a new set of performance shocks not only will increase handling, but also improve the responsiveness and shorten braking distances.

Looking at the options offered by KONI and Bilstein is a good place to start your search. With lifetime warranties offered and decades of producing durable and rugged shocks, you'll be very excited with the performance they bring your vehicle.

While both brands produce great products, KONI's shocks have the added benefit of a product that's adjustable for rebound. Stiffer settings mean more responsive handling, while softer settings give a smoother and more comfortable ride. This allows the enthusiast to tune the shock to their personal preference in regards to this compromise.

And if new tires are also needed, take a look at all our special offers available.

If you're looking to buy shock absorbers online, be sure to shop by vehicle.

 

Coil-Over Suspension: Look Good and Stay in Control on the Street and Track

Monday, May 7, 2012 by Alex Mouroulis

Looking for a coil-over system for your daily driver, but also want it to perform at the track? One of the most attractive features of the following options is their ride height adjustability. They feature an adjustable spring perch and a threaded shock body. You can thread the perch up and down, allowing you to customize how much lowering you prefer for each corner of the vehicle. These coil-over systems will also let you customize the tuck of the vehicle's corners. 
 

Below are my three favorite track-ready coil-overs available at Tire Rack:
 

Bilstein PSS10
Bilstein PSS10
H&R RSS ClubSport
H&R RSS ClubSport
KW Variant 3
KW Variant 3


Utilizing Bilstein's shock absorbers that are designed for heat dissipation and ride control, the PSS10 Coil-Over System adds a matched performance spring and threaded ride height adjuster to provide a complete suspension system for your vehicle. The system offers ten vehicle adjustment settings and includes numbered adjusters at the base of the shock body so you know exactly what setting you are on without counting clicks.

The RSS ClubSport Coil-Over Kit is designed for the committed motorsport enthusiast who's willing to relinquish some ride comfort in return for handling performance. The firmest coil-over in the H&R street line, the RSS is the choice for weekend track and club sport events.

KW Variant 3 Coil-Overs are state-of-the-art motorsport technology for proven performance on the streets. Independently adjustable compression and rebound damping allows for custom driving set-ups. The exclusive KW patented system has dual-level valves to provide the adjustment of the rebound damping (comfort) and the compression damping in the low-speed range. High-speed settings for driving comfort are preset by KW engineers.
 

To find the suspension component that's right for your car, shop by vehicle.

Improve Handling for Your Late Model Ford Mustang

Friday, January 27, 2012 by Hunter Leffel
Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-OverWould you like to improve the look, handling and cornering capability of your late model Mustang? We have the solutions ranging from a single component (just springs or dampers) up to track ready coil-over systems.  

If you're wanting to close up that wheelwell gap, without sacrificing ride quality, a product like the Eibach Pro-Kit Spring Set would be a great solution. You'll see a mild drop in the 1.0" - 1.5" range which will improve the stance and handling while maintaining a near factory ride.

Are you ready to hit the track while wanting a wide range of adjustments (including your Ford shocks) for your vehicle? It may be time to explore a coil-over kit. Again, Eibach steps up to the plate offering drops adjustable between 1.0" and 2009 Ford Mustang2.4". The Multi-Pro Coil-Over (shown above) features a 10-way independently adjustable compression and rebound which allows for combinations that are near limitless to dial your car in perfectly.

Options are available for most years and models of the fifth-generation Mustang (2005 and up). 

Whether you're looking to buy shocks online or purchase a coil-over kit, shop by vehicle to find the right suspension products for your vehicle. 

Lowering Your Ford Mustang

Thursday, January 5, 2012 by Logan Woodworth
The late model Ford Mustang is fast becoming an extremely popular vehicle for both customizers and enthusiasts. This is partly due to the volume of aftermarket parts available and the demand from consumers to set their Mustang apart from the crowd and show off their personal style.

In addition to custom paint jobs and aftermarket wheels (rims), many Mustang owners are opting to lower their cars for more aggressive handling and appearance. Due to the flexibility of the late model Mustang chassis, there are several ride height and stiffness options available.

Depending on the version of Mustang, there are several options for lowering from standard non-adjustable springs to fully adjustable coil-over kits. Coil-over kits offer the height and dampening adjustability that is not possible with a spring-only application.
Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R2 Kit for 2011 Mustang GT
It's important to note that when changing a vehicle's ride height, alignment adjustments will be needed for your vehicle. For lowering, this typically includes reduction in camber to counter the camber increase caused by shorter springs. For the newer Mustang, a set of camber bolts will do the trick for the front and an adjustable panhard bar or trailing arm for the rear.

When you're looking for Mustang shocks, springs, coil-over kits or other suspension parts for your ride, be sure to shop by vehicle to find the parts that are a great fit.

How to Choose a Suspension Upgrade

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by Logan Woodworth

Coil-Over Kits The most popular upgrade for cars and trucks is new custom wheels and tires. After that, suspension upgrades are very common on both late model and older vehicles. Typically, drivers will want to simply raise or lower their car or truck for aesthetic reasons, but there are often performance reasons for suspension upgrades, as well.

Raising, often referred to as lifting, is most common on trucks and jeeps. In addition to creating a taller ride height, this is regularly done for performance reasons such as allowing for larger wheels and tires than what the factory (O.E.) suspension will allow.

There are two primary ways for lowering a vehicle: lowering springs or an adjustable coil-over suspension kit. Both of these options will give the car a lower center of gravity and stiffen the car's chassis, which will allow for less body roll in corners and improved handling and cornering. Coil-overs give the added advantage of ride-height adjustability and with certain models, dampening adjustability for fine tuning the balance of ride quality and handling.
Coil-Over Kits
Whether you're looking for performance shocks, gas shocks or other products to upgrade your suspension, it's important to consult with an expert. Changing a car's suspension will require alignment adjustments and may create fitment challenges with your custom rims (wheels) and tires.

Gift Certificates for the Car Nut in Your Life

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 by Gary Stanley
Did you knGift Certificatesow that Tire Rack has gift certificates available for purchase?

They're a great gift idea for that person you can't quite decide what to give. You can purchase gift certificates in any denomination from $25.00-$5,000.00 and have them sent via U.S. mail (3-5 days) or if you're a last minute shopper, the certificate can be emailed directly to the lucky recipient in as little as 24 hours. You can even include a personal message. Unlike many gift certificates, Tire Rack's certificates don't expire for five years, so your recipient can really take his or her time deciding just how to spend it. 

If you can't decide if your friend or family member is looking to replace brake rotors, buy adjustable shocks or purchase a set of affordable tires, our gift certificates allow them to purchase what they need for their vehicle!

Which Shocks Are Right for My Car?

Monday, October 17, 2011 by Alex Mouroulis
KYB Gas-A-JustHave you ever felt that your car bounces more after you go over a bump? It just doesn't feel as connected to the road as it did when it was new? Shock absorbers are an expendable item that has a big effect on your ride quality. When it comes time to replace shocks, you're going to have access to your springs. This is a great time to add lowering springs.

Not every shock is designed for all driving circumstances. There are two major categories for aftermarket shocks: performance and touring.
  • Performance shocks give the firmer ride, and help reduce body roll. They are often combined with lowering springs for the ultimate handling combination.
  • Touring shocks are more focused on a soft, compliant and comfortable ride. Touring shocks add to that supple, luxurious ride by soaking up more impacts and road imperfections.
Listed below are a few terms that will help you better understand the characteristics of a shock adjustment:
  • Compression - The collapsing stroke of a shock, directly correlated to the movement of your axle.
  • Rebound - The return stroke of a shock, directly tied to vehicle pitch and ride quality. To learn more about shocks check out, "Damper Dynamics."

Take a look at a few of the shocks available at Tire Rack:
  • KYB Gas-A-Just: An Original Equipment replacement shock.These are your excellent-value option, as they are self adjusting.
  • KYB Monomax: Increased load control, and a firm planted feel for your light truck or SUV. These shocks have been known to offer a firmer ride, but the trade off is better control. These shocks are self adjusting. They completely transformed my Chevy Blazer back to the consistent like-new handling I missed.
  • Koni STR-T:  A cost-effective performance shock, designed to offer better handling, without a harsh ride.
  • Bilstein 5100 : Designed with the lifted truck or SUV in mind. These are ideal for your Jeep or pickup truck with mild body and suspension lifts. The articulation in off-road circumstances is superb.
Shop by vehicle to find the suspension components that work best for your vehicle.

On the Level

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Pickup trucks are some of the most popular vehicles on the road today, but many people don't use their trucks for what they were originally intended... hauling a load.

 

On many pickups, especially 3/4 and 1 ton applications, using the vehicle as a daily driver with little or no load in the rear creates a rear end high, front end low configuration or "positive frame angle".

Positive Frame AngleSpecific vehicles like 1999-2006 Chevrolet/GMC trucks have alignment specifications that require frame angle to be added or subtracted to the caster reading. Basically this means the specifications for these vehicles are written to a zero frame angle.
 

 

Illustration courtesy of SPC Performance

Caster is the angle to which the steering pivot axis is tilted forward or rearward from vertical, as viewed from the side. If the pivot axis is tilted backward (that is, the top pivot is positioned farther rearward than the bottom pivot), then the caster is positive; if it's tilted forward, then the caster is negative.

 

Caster angleCaster is affected mostly when a vehicle has a large front to back difference in ride height. This may also be because of heavy loading in the rear of the vehicle or "negative frame angle". The frame angle will directly affect the caster in a one to one relationship. That means for each degree of frame angle change the caster will change one degree. Positive frame angle will be added to the caster reading whereas negative frame angle would be subtracted from the caster reading.
 

Illustration courtesy of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine


Caster does not affect tire wear but it can affect how well the vehicle steers. Excessive positive caster will cause an increase in steering effort, especially for low speed maneuvers, such as parking. Negative caster can cause the truck to have poor directional stability, make it tend wander and not return to center. The addition of larger than stock tires or 4WD only compounds these conditions.

If you don't carry heavy loads, a leveling kit can help with steering issues, even if you don't want to put larger tires on your truck. If you do want larger tires, installation of lift and level kits will allow for the use of up to 35" tall tires with 17"-26" wheels and near stock offset, without rubbing, depending on the application.

When shopping for a lift kit for your pickup truck, it is important to keep in mind that there are just a few ways that a lift can be performed. Some systems relocate the suspension brackets and require the removal of all suspension components to do so. Others increase spring pressure and result in a stiffer ride. Tire Rack carries lift and leveling systems by Traxda and Bilstein. Each have their own method of lifting or leveling your vehicle.

 

Traxda's method relocates the mounting point of the spring that holds the truck up without changing the location of the stock suspension arms. Install is simpler and easier and doesn't compromise the stock ride. Each application is designed to ensure stock compatibility and quality. For example, with a coil-over shock style suspension the strut length is extended while retaining the stock spring pressure. This keeps the smooth ride of a stock truck, with no increase in harshness. For a torsion bar style suspension a re-indexed torsion key and shock relocator brackets are included to change the location of the torsion spring mount without changing the spring tension.


Truxx Lift and Level KitTraxda Lift and Level Kits raise the front of the truck 1.5" to 3" (depending on the vehicle) to eliminate positive frame angle and provide the clearance necessary to run larger wheels and tires. For some applications, the rear of the truck can be raised 1"-2" as well leveling the truck and compensating for the heavy loads used in a working environment (negative frame angle).

Most kits are a direct bolt-in style, simple and easy to install with nothing more than common hand tools and require no modifications to your vehicle. The kits retain stock ride quality. All Traxda kits come complete with hardware, full instructions, alignment specs and dedicated technical support.

Bilstein's ride height adjustable 5100 Series replacement shocks for coil-over design front suspensionBilstein 5100 pickups utilize the vehicle's existing stock coil spring.

The 5100 Series (Ride Height Adjustable) shocks feature multiple snap-ring grooves on the body of the shock to accommodate different spring seat positions, allowing height adjustments from 0" to 2.5", depending on the application. By raising the spring seat position, the factory rake (positive frame angle) can be altered to achieve a level front to rear ride height while accommodating up to 33" diameter tires. Bilstein's self-adjusting valving delivers improved damping control and a smooth ride on all road surfaces at any speed.

You don't have to live with poor steering, tire binding, steering wander and rough ride, just keep it....
"on the level."

 

Coil-Over Suspension: Is It Right for Me?

Friday, May 20, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Coil-over suspension kits represent the top end of the suspension market, giving the driver the most flexibility in adjusting both the ride height and "firmness" of the shock absorbers to fine tune the handling of their vehicle. Sounds like a great option to have right? Well, the answer lies in how and where you drive your vehicle.

The first thing to remember is that any component that lowers the ride height of your vehicle will affect ride comfort (see a previous blog post titled "What Should I Expect from Lowering Springs?"). Even the most modest lowering spring (1.0" of drop or less) will affect ride comfort, but any coil-over setup will have a much more aggressive spring rate which translates to a firmer ride. In my mind, the coil-over suspension is intended for a driver that wants to maximize the handling of the vehicle in "track" conditions and also have the flexibility to adjust ride height (and damping rates) to suit track conditions. If local road conditions are poor, coil-overs will make a rough ride even rougher!
Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R2
Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R2
KW Variant 1 Coil-Over
KW Variant 1 Coil-Over

The Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R2 and the KW Variant 1 have the least "aggressive" spring rates, which will minimize the change to ride comfort but still improve handling and allow you to adjust your ride height for the perfect stance.

Bilstein PSS Coil-Over Kit
Bilstein PSS Coil-Over Kit
KW Variant 3 Coil-Over
KW Variant 3 Coil-Over

The Bilstein PSS Coil-Over Kit and KW Variant 3 represent the elite in coil-over systems and provide the greatest range of adjustability for ride and ride height.

Check out our full line of coil-over systems!