Car manufacturers design handling characteristics to a certain specification. Usually, they must also do that in the most cost-effective way possible. In other words, some car makers compromise on quality over cost!
As a result, some vehicles can end up with a less than desirable handling experience. If you own such a car, you will no doubt be wondering how to improve matters. Sure, you could do the easy thing of just upgrading to a “better” car. But, what if I told you that you could make ANY car handle like a go-kart racer?
Imagine being able to drive around sharp corners at speed without facing certain death! You could even go out in rainy conditions and not have to drive at a snail’s pace! Here are some of my top tips to help you transform your mediocre handling into something decent!
Big wheels and tyres
The first thing to do is remove your stock wheels and replace them with larger wheels and tyres. Aside from looking more visually appealing, there are other benefits to the change.
First of all, your car will have more contact with the road as it drives. In simple terms, the more surface area of each tyre contacts the ground, the better the traction. As you know, traction plays a big part in the handling characteristics of a car.
Most people tend to buy their new wheels online and use a mobile tyre fitting service for new tyres. That way, there’s less inconvenience and lower costs.
When selecting wheels, make sure they come with the right offset and stud pattern for your car. And with tyres, ensure they are appropriate to the most likely driving conditions. For example, tyres with softer rubber compounds offer the best grip for spirited driving!
Next, you need to make your car sit lower down to the ground. Your goal is to have a lower centre of gravity. Doing so makes your vehicle handle better. Plus, it also gives your car a meaner stance too! You can buy aftermarket springs from a variety of brands like Koni and H&R.
Choosing a set of springs designed for your car is important. Otherwise, you’ll have to get some custom-made. A drop between 35mm and 60mm will suffice. Anything more and your teeth will probably fall out of your mouth due to the harsher ride!
Uprated shock absorbers
Once you get lowering springs, it makes sense to fit uprated shock absorbers at the same time. Some people fit their springs to the standard shocks. But, that’s not an approach I recommend. Why? Because you’re adding undue stress and premature wear to your stock shocks.
Aftermarket shock absorbers will also improve the firmness of your ride. The good news is that it’ll do that while avoiding making your ride unbearable. It makes sense to get a matching set of springs and shock absorbers, if possible.
Each car will have different types of suspension setups. Many will use wishbone setups that comprise of rubber bushes. The job of those bushes is to ensure there is no “play” in your suspension.
The thing about rubber is that it can wear out after a while. A stronger alternative is to fit polyurethane bushes. You might need a press to remove or fit the bushes on your suspension arms.
You might not know it, but your car’s chassis flexes whenever you drive it around corners. Many people opt for chassis strengthening through a simple modification: strut braces.
In a nutshell, they are metal bars that fit on top of your front and rear suspension turrets. They are bolt-on accessories that strengthen the handling of your car. Plus, they are a complementary add-on for any suspension upgrade.
You can get strut braces in a range of different styles and colours to suit your vehicle. Be sure to select ones from trusted brands. The last thing you want is for them to split or get damaged during hard driving!
Another way to improve the stiffness of your vehicle on the road is to fit anti-roll bars. To be honest, some cars come with them as standard. But, it’s likely the bushes in them will be worn if they are a few years old.
It makes sense to fit adjustable anti-roll bars. That way, you can make the ride quality stiffer or softer, depending on your needs.
By adding the above improvements to your car, it will handle like a go-kart racer in no time at all. Good luck and thanks for reading!