Top Tips on Suspension Damping

When talking about suspension damping, the thing that immediately comes to mind is shock absorbers. This is a natural tendency because shocks directly affect the action of the spring as it oscillates between the compression and rebound cycles. However, roadholding or handling is affected not just by springs and shocks but also by the sway bars, bushings and the rigidity of the chassis itself. Even the stiffness of the tire sidewalls affects the handling of a car. Suspension settings can be very subjective, and a setting that works for a particular driver does not necessarily work for another driver, even if the cars of both drivers are built exactly the same.

While adjustable shocks offer a nice option in terms of fine tuning your suspension damping, that same adjustability can confuse the less experienced drivers. Fine tuning adjustable shocks needs a consistent driver with a good feel for the changes, sometimes minute, that are introduced when changing suspension settings. There are a lot of non-adjustable shock absorbers out there that offer excellent performance out of the box. Notables are Bilstein and Koni, and although these are expensive, these shocks carry lifetime warranties. Those on Damp Proofing Johannesburg a budget can take a look at Tokico blues, which have good performance for their price. For the average driver who wants to enjoy driving his car in the twisties without having to be bothered with fine tuning, these shock absorbers are an excellent choice; you are able to concentrate on your driving, rather than on how to tune your struts and shocks. However, if you have a car set up for track use and/or racing, adjustable shocks will give you that extra bit of performance that result in faster times. Just keep in mind that you need consistency and a data logging setup to wring the best result from tuning your suspension.

Bear in mind that even the best suspension components will be for nothing if you have a flexible chassis. If you have a chassis that flexes a lot, no amount of adjustable suspension damping can compensate for that. For this reason it is a very good idea to install chassis braces and sub frame connectors (if available) on your car. Braces are cheap relative to the benefit they will give to your car's rigidity. If your toy is a fast road vehicle and not a track car, larger aftermarket sway bars will compromise ride less than if you replace the springs. If the sway bars do not come with stiffer bushings, then you should also replace them. The flatter cornering that results from stiffer sway bars will be noticeable.

Tuning your suspension damping is a matter of choosing the best compromise for a given application. Know your expectations so that you will have a clear idea of what to buy when you change your suspension components.