Bouncing along? Need new shocks?

Saturday, May 14, 2011 by Hunter Leffel
KYB GR-2 ShockHas your chariot lost some of that new car handling and ride? Do you feel like you're on a trampoline after hitting a bump? It might be time to get new shocks and struts (dampers) for your car, truck or SUV. 

Tire Rack offers a wide range of options from Original Equipment style replacements to performance upgrades. The KYB GR-2 line will firm up the ride 5-10% over factory new. KONI and Bilstein offer higher performance options — some with adjustability to give you that "on rails" feeling.

Look to the professionals at Tire Rack for all of your suspension needs. View specs, shock absorber reviews, and pricing for your specific vehicle.

Lowering Springs and Fender Lip Rolling

Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Fender Lip Rolling Tool
I recently installed a great set of coil-over shock and springs in an effort to improve handling and my car's look. While the decrease in gap from the top of the tire to the bottom of the fender lip looked great, I found after inspection that my rear tires were very close to rubbing the fender lip in the back.

What to do? ROLL THAT FENDER !

Tire Rack sells a great tool that when used with an industrial heat gun (and patience), got me out of the jam I was in.

The fender lip rolling tool features an adjustable arm and a non marring roller that will slowly bend the fender lip up and out of the way for additional clearance. It is essential to use a heat gun to keep the paint flexible enough to avoid cracking as the metal is worked.  

You can see detailed instructions on the tool in the User's Guide. (PDF)

If you've recently installed bigger wheels and tires, or lowered your car like I did then you may want to consider picking this tool up!

Coil-Over Kits

Monday, April 4, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Eibach Multi-Pro-Callaway Coil-Over KitsA complete coil over system is one solution to improve your vehicle’s performance.

The system combines springs, shocks and bump stop into one assembly. The coil-over set-up is similar to a race set-up in that it allows tuning of the vehicle through ride height adjustment. Coil overs often use an adjustable spring perch that allows for different vehicle ride heights without changing the springs.

Springs encompass the shock and bump stop, working to minimize bounce that occurs during driving. Shocks help control suspension movement while bump stops keep your vehicle suspension parts from coming in contact with the vehicle’s frame.

More information on suspension terminology can be found here:

“Understanding Basic Suspension Terminology” 

Springs and Shocks for Spring

Friday, March 18, 2011 by Colin .
Are you looking to improve the suspension on your vehicle? With options available from companies such as H&R, Eibach and Koni, Tire Rack has the products to improve your vehicle's appearance and handling.  

An entry-level introduction to improving your vehicle's appearance and handling is to purchase a set of lowering springs and performance dampers.

If you are looking for more control over adjustability then consider a coil-over or cup kit

Anti-roll bars are also a great addition to improve handling and help remove body roll around corners. 

Lowering will change the ride characteristics of the vehicle, therefore give some thought to the balance you want to maintain between handling, looks and ride comfort. If you have upgraded your wheels and tires to a larger-than-original size, you will also want to check clearance before you decide on the kit you want.          

Coil-Over Kit Basics

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 by Logan Woodworth
Bilstein PSS10 Coil-Over KitCoil-Over: an automotive suspension device which refers to a spring or "coil" mounted over the damper (shock or strut).

There are advantages to the coil-over versus a conventional spring and damper system that include ease of installation and simplified height and stiffness adjustment. Many coil-overs offer easy fine-tuning that's not available from conventional suspension systems.

Coil-Over Kits are available for many German vehicles such as Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. There are also many domestic and Japanese fitments for cars such as Corvette, Mazda Miata and RX7, Nissan GT-R, 350/370Z, and many others.

Do you have lowering springs and need to buy shock absorbers?

Friday, July 30, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Do you already have lowering spring or are planning to get them and are confused about what shock absorbers to get? This can be confusing with so may choices out there. I recommend the KONI Sport Shocks.




1. KONI Sport Shocks are adjustable. You can adjust the damper for the amount of rebounding damping that you want. This allows you to change the handling characteristics of the car for your driving preference. Just about every aftermarket spring company uses a different spring rate. With the KONI adjustables you are able to set the dampers to work best with your aftermarket springs. Dampening of a shock/strut decreases with tens of thousands of miles and with the adjustability KONI offers you can continue to increase the dampening over time.

2. KONI's are designed to improve the handling of the car from the moment they are installed and I can personally attest that they do. I like the fact I can set them softer for the street and then if I am doing a track/autocross event I can firm them up for better handling.

3. KONIs are built for a lifetime. They have a limited lifetime warranty for the original purchaser. These will be the last shock/struts you will ever need to buy. My original shocks and struts for my car started to leak at around 38,000 miles. I now have over 109,000 miles and my KONIs are going strong. Here is a picture of my 04 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon lowered on H & R Sport Springs with KONI Sport dampers.

Increase your handling without breaking the bank

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 by Connor Klink
Are you looking to increase the way your car handles but you don't want to spend a small fortune doing it? Consider the KYB AGX Adjustable Gas Shocks. With an externally adjustable valve rate you can fine tune your vehicle’s ride to suit your specific needs. Take your car to the track or conquer the streets with this simple upgrade. The KYB AGX Adjustable Gas Shocks are made in hundreds of fitments for vehicles ranging from the Honda Civics to Chevy Camaros. Check out what other customers are saying about the KYB AGX Adjustable Gas Shocks on our survey page.

How to improve the handling of your sports car. Hotchkis and Tire Rack can help.

Thursday, June 24, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
How to improve the handling of your sports car. Hotchkis and Tire Rack can help.

There are some common ways to improve the handling of your sports car. Wheels and tires, upgraded shocks and springs, performance alignment and proper air pressure all play an important role in your car’s handling performance.

This is one of my favorite modifications to improve the handling of my Subaru WRX.

The product I am referring to is the Hotchkis Competition Anti-Roll Bars bars (also called sway bars). Hotchkis Competition Anti-Roll Bars are designed for the highly competitive road course and autocross competitor that is looking to improve handling and reduce body roll. In the picture below, you can see the red Hotchkis roll bar vs. a smaller diameter OEM bar.

You will notice that the Hotchkis bar has three holes so you can adjust the stiffness of the roll bar to tweak your set up. The outside hole has the softest setting, the middle hole stiffer and the inside hole the stiffest. Typically, kits include greasable polyurethane bushing and stronger brackets as well as a 90-degree zerk fitting for easy lubrication. I lubricate mine at each oil change interval. They are also CNC-formed with forged ends for strength.

The benefits of the larger roll bar include less roll and a car that handles flatter through corners.

Special or Sport: Which KONI product is right for your vehicle?

Friday, June 18, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Shock absorbers can be complicated if you're not precisely sure about your individual needs. There are a variety of shock options, and each option directly affects ride comfort and stability—even safety. Take a look at the following force velocity graph:
The red portion of the graph represents KONI Special shocks and the yellow portion represents KONI Sport shocks. Any crossover in performance is indicated by the color pink. In essence, the graph is a visual representation of the adjustment range. The column marked "A" represents damper speeds that result from braking, accelerating and rolling. Column "B" represents road hazards like bumps and railroad tracks.

Based on the chart, you can see that KONI Special shocks compromise the most in terms of road handling and comfort. Sport shocks, on the other hand, are made for aggressive driving. Read "Comparing KONI Special vs. KONI Sport" in our library of Suspension Tech articles and then shop by vehicle for a specific list of components that are right for yours.

Looking to upgrade your car's suspension? Tire Rack and KW give you options.

Friday, June 11, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
KW Suspensions offers 3 different models of their Variant coilover suspensions utilizing "inox-line" stainless technology. Enthusiasts are able to select from the V1,V2 & V3. Coilover suspension kits combine springs and shocks tuned to compliment one another so you see greater performance gains than with separate shocks and springs.

Variant 1 - Spirited and balanced with KW factory pre-set shock absorber dampening.
These are designed for the customer who wants adjustable lowering springs on their car, but does not want to have to worry about adjusting the shock absorber rebound and compression. These come from KW preset for optimum performance for a sporty yet comfortable ride.

Variant 2 - Sporty and compliant with adjustable rebound dampening.
These are for the experienced driver who wishes to not only determine the individual lowering of their vehicle, but adjust the damper settings to fine tune the system to their needs. The adjustable rebound damper is infinitely adjustable and allows adjustment of the pitch and roll behavior of the vehicle, adapting to ones own driving preferences.

Variant 3- Race technology for the road with adjustable compression & rebound dampening.

The Variant 3 coilover suspension is state of the art technology for the skilled and experienced driver. These allow for full adjustment of the ride height, damping and 14 levels of compression damping. They come preset for a good staring point from KW for you to work from to meet your specific needs.

All of the KW coilovers are TUV tested and use High-quality components for long life. Below is a picture of the KW variant 3 installed on a Mazda Miata.








Need a little lift?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 by Austin Martin

See a tire or wheel package you would like to put on your truck or SUV but you do not have enough clearance for them to fit properly? Superlift and Traxda makes suspension lift kit or sometime it's called a leveling kit that will give you a little more clearance that you are looking for. These kits are designed to lift the front suspension to level the vehicle. On most trucks or SUV the clearance problem is the front, the rear usually have plenty of clearance. The kits work with factory suspension components to achieve modest ride height gains. Installation is straight forward and normally inexpensive. If you only need 1"-3' of clearance these kit will do the job. The Superlift and Traxda lift systems utilize one of three methods to achieve increased ride height depending on the vehicle’s suspension design. With the Coil Spacers system it allowed me to be able to put 33" tires on my Toyota 4Runner and I was able to install the kit in my own garage. Note that some special tools are required and this should only be attempted by a qualified person with experience.

 

 

Strut Extension - Most late-model 1/2-ton trucks and SUVs utilize a coilover strut for the front suspension; the shock and coil spring are together in one compact unit. A simple strut extension is utilized on these applications. This involves adding an application-specific spacer to the top of the factory strut assembly. This method does not preload the factory coil spring (which would degrade ride quality) or over-extend the factory shock. No modifications to factory-installed parts are required and no time-consuming dis-assembly of the factory strut is needed. The strut extension is easily removable should the vehicle need to be returned to stock, and some applications include modified extension stops if needed. Level-It strut extensions are the most cost-effective and efficient way to level the stance of your late-model truck.

  

 

 

STRUT EXTENSION FEATURES
  • Mounts on top of the factory strut assembly
  • Allows the use of plus-size wheels / tires
  • Easy installation and removal – no strut dis-assembly required
  • Ideal for restoring height lost from heavy front bumper / winch combos
  • Enhances appearance by leveling the stance of the vehicle
  • 10.9 grade metric hardware included
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


   

Torsion Keys - Vehicles equipped with torsion bars have a certain amount of adjustment built into the factory system. This suspension height adjustment takes place via a bolt that indexes on a torsion key attached to each torsion bar. Simply “cranking up” the factory system is not the right way to go about gaining minor amounts of lift due to a number of factors. Level-It torsion keys are direct replacements for the factory pieces but feature different torsion bar indexing. The forged-steel keys are 25% stronger than the cast factory pieces, and when necessary new metric hardware is supplied to prevent “over-cranking” the bars. Shock extension and mounting tool adapters are also included with some applications.

  

TORSION KEY FEATURES
  • Heavy-duty forged steel construction is 25% stronger than OEM keys
  • Provided 1.5” to 2.5” of adjustable lift height
  • Designed to grab the “flat” of the torsion bar for a tighter fit
  • High-gloss powder coated finish
  • Shock extensions included with some applications
  • 10.9 grade metric hardware included
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


 
 

 

Coil Spring Spacers / Block Kits - Applications that utilize a coil spring front suspension utilize a coil-spring spacer to achieve lift. In most 4WD applications, this spacer is constructed from laser-cut steel and mounts on top of the factory coil. Most 2WD vehicles utilize a steel-encased urethane spacer that will not deteriorate or decrease ride height over time. Both designs ensure silent operation as the suspension cycles. When necessary, shock extensions are also included.

With some of the taller lift heights (3" to 3-1/2"), the amount of lift exceeds the factory rake. This results in a slightly rear-low stance that is popular in some areas. However, for those that want to maintain a level stance, or the traditional rear-high stance, a variety of different block kits are available to suit every taste or preference. All block kits are sold separately.

  

 

COIL SPACER / BLOCK KIT FEATURES
  • Steel-encased urethane spacer construction will not deteriorate or decrease ride height over time
  • Urethane provides a smooth and quiet ride
  • Some spacer kits include shock extensions
  • Lift blocks include OEM features for proper spring pad engagement and bump stop function
  • Block kits include U-bolts and hardware
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


   

BMW M Roadster Suspension Upgrade

Friday, May 21, 2010 by Brandon Lorenc
1999 BMW M Roadster

Take a look at the BMW Shock Absorber and overall suspension upgrade I did on my 1999 BMW M Roadster before I traded it a couple years back. I do miss it, and was verry happy with the suspension upgrade I did on the car.

First I installed the KONI Sport Shocks. They offered great performance and rebound adjustability so the ride didn't suffer any more then I wanted. At the same time, I lowered the vehicle with some H&R Sport Springs with a very mild drop of 1.3 inches. Here is a picture of the finished product!



Braille racing batteries embrace the checkered flag.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
No matter how detailed your race vehicle is, there's only one thing your performance truly depends on—a good racing battery. And Braille Auto Development knows exactly how to make one. As you know, braille is a form of communication that utilizes touch. Applying this idea to every battery they create, Braille is able to offer drivers performance they can truly feel on the track.

Braille studies every aspect of a race car as it runs the track and the result is a battery that provides a competitive advantage—it's much more lightweight than any other battery on the market. And on the track, the lighter you are, the faster you'll go.

Tire Rack offers a variety of different Braille racing batteries and mounting kits. And not only is every Braille battery extremely lightweight, it also features heavy-duty vibration resistant power posts that resist cracking and other forms of deterioration. Shop the selection to find a racing battery you won't be disappointed in.

"I installed the Braille Lightweight Racing Battery (15 lbs.) into my daily drive. I searched the Internet and found these had really good reviews. When I received the battery I was shocked how little it was! The mounting bracket took a minute to figure out but once it was adjusted for the battery it mounted right were my factory battery was with the hooks provided. Overall, I saved about 16 pounds which is awesome. The auto posts included were a nice touch and everything seemed thought out pretty well." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, AK

Does it seem like your car bounces too much? Time for new shocks!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 by Mac McNabb
Eibach SpringsOne of the most over-driven parts on a modern vehicle is the shocks. In most cases, you can feel the difference from a used and new shock with only 40,000 miles on the vehicle. In many cases, people will go more than 100k without changing their shocks and struts. So if you are looking for a smoother ride or better constitution through the corners, replacing the dampers may be for you!

When looking to replace your dampers (generic name for shock absorber) there are a few things KYB Gas Shocksyou need to keep in mind. First, are you planning on using the stock springs or lowering the vehicle? It is vitally important that you match the spring's ride height with a proper damper. 

BilsteinThe next thing to consider is the mounts. If you have struts, many times there are bearings in the mounts because a strut is a damper that handles some of the duties of the suspension (more than just controlling shock... they may be part of the actual steering mechanism or camber adjustment).  It is always recommended to change the mount if you can on the front of your vehicle, and often recommended on the rear as well, especially if you are in the snow belt (rust issues).

So go ahead and get started. Enter your vehicle info and get moving along. A smooth ride awaits!

Heat Cycling. What does it do?

Friday, May 7, 2010 by Gill Gilmer

Planning a trip to the track, drivers school or local autocross? Do you have everything?

  • Track brake pads? Check.
  • Adjustable shocks? Check.
  • Perfomance summer tires? Check.
  • Lightweight aftermarket wheels? Check.
  • Winning attitude? Check!

What about heat cycling of your tires? Have you considered the benefits?

Tire Rack's heat cycling of Track & Competition DOT tires is a non-destructive service that brings the tire up to race-track operating temperatures (minimum of 170- to 180-degrees Fahrenheit). Heat cycling is accomplished by placing a mounted and inflated tire on a machine that does NOT scuff in the tire or cause tread wear. Our mechanical heat cycling service will not remove mold flashing or even the tread stripes/or printed codes often used to identify the extruded tread slabs before they are assembled in the tire manufacturing plant.



Avon, Hoosier, Kumho and Yokohama all recommend that their competition tires be heat cycled before being run in competition. Tire Rack is currently able to heat cycle tires in our South Bend, IN and Sparks, NV locations for quick shipping times to you.

Coil-overs for a daily driver?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by Doc Horvath
We had a chance to test drive our BMW 325i test cars with both lowering springs and coilover shock/springs installed and what an experience!

The cars outfitted with the O.E. shocks/struts and the Eibach Pro-Kit Springs ("mild" lowering, about one inch of drop) felt nearly as comfortable as stock, but helped the car feel more responsive to steering input. 

The Eibach Pro-System Plus Kit "sport" springs lowered the car nearly two inches and made a noticeable change in both handling and ride comfort. It was nothing that I felt was too stiff for daily use.

The Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R1 Kit was set up to lower the car about two inches as well, but the more aggressive shocks made a pronounced change and took a fair amount of comfort out of the ride on city streets and highway runs. 

While the coil-over gives you the flexibilty to adjust your ride height to make it "just right," it will come at the cost of some ride comfort. I'd say that coil-overs are best on a track car in my opinion!





What exactly are coil overs?

Thursday, April 29, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
A coil over is created when you combine a spring, shock and bump stop into one unit. The spring itself encompasses the shock and the bump stop, and works to minimize any bounce that occurs when the vehicle comes in contact with road imperfections. And while the shock helps control unwanted suspension movement, the bump stop keeps all of your vehicle suspension parts from coming in contact with the vehicle's frame. In addition, coil overs are usually on an adjustable spring perch so that a vehicle's height can be adjusted without having to change the springs themselves.

Tire Rack carries a variety of coil-overs from companies like Eibach (shown above) who are committed to engineering excellence.

Click here to see a complete list of coil-overs, or shop by vehicle for access to all of the performance suspension products in our inventory.



Project STR Gets a Suspension Upgrade

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 by Tire Rack Motorsports
The next step for project STR is a suspension upgrade to replace the Mazda shocks and springs. We’ve settled on the KW Variant 3 Coil-Over system. It offers flexibility in adjustments, with separate controls for compression and rebound settings. Ride height is adjustable, too. All together, this system should do a good job helping to control the increased grip of the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec tires we’ll be competing on.

KW has a reputation for winning – with plenty of victories in Europe, chosen as the O.E. supplier for the Viper ACR suspension, as well as on some of the best AMG package Mercedes on the road.



Increase your Corvette's performance with a few aftermarket products.

Monday, March 29, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
The Corvette is a powerful vehicle, made even more so with a few aftermarket upgrades. And at Tire Rack, we're in the game of knowing exactly what those upgrades should be—starting with Corvette suspension products.

The Eibach Multi-Pro R2 Coil-Over Kit shown at right facilitates precise tuning for optimum handling balance. You can also adjust dampening for more comfort or the ultimate in grip. The choice is yours, which you'll base on your driving style.

And speaking of style, you're probably well aware of our selection of Corvette tires and Corvette wheels. To see these, and also the Eibach kit above, you'll want to take advantage of our Upgrade Garage—entering your Corvette's specifications will make you privy to a whole slew of aftermarket products that suit it, including Corvette shocks and Corvette brake pads.

In no time at all, you'll be driving that "brand-new" 'vette of your dreams.



Looking for Original Equipment Replacment Shocks?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 by Mac McNabb
KYB Gas-A-Just ShockKYB Gas-Adjust are the perfect replacement for your worn out shocks. How long should you wait? Your shocks and struts start to show age as early as 40,000 miles! 

KYB has both the Gas-Adjust and GR-2 lines that are perfect for replacement. Don't let the name fool you, these are non-adjustable factory setup shocks that will fit many of your damper needs.