Suspension rate 101

Hey you!

What have you been up to? Here I have been researching light options for a customer and along the way (only the internet gods know how) I ended up reading and article on MotorTrend.

If you can look passed all the BS advertisement on there, you can actually find interesting stuff.

I was a little surprise to learn that I am not the only one struggling to understand what one needs and why nobody seems to agree on a “magic” suspension setup.

I read through it and summarized the basics.

So, here's the deal: Figuring out how firm things should be can get pretty tricky. Different roads, how you drive, and even the weight of your car all play a part.


Springs, they prevent your car from bottoming out, allow you to maintain control, and manage cornering, acceleration, and braking. They also determine your car's height. Springs are like the masterminds of your car's handling. But slapping on the stiffest ones? Big no-no. Simply put, the bigger the number, the stiffer the spring, but not the better.

There are two different spring rates you need to know about : linear and progressive. Linear rates stay the same no matter what, whereas progressive ones get stiffer as you squish 'em. Easy, right?

If your springs are too hard, your ride's gonna feel rough, and your tires won't grip as well on bumpy roads. Plus, if they're way too stiff, you might lose control and slide around too much in corners. In simple terms, too much stiffness equals worse handling.


What seems to work for your friend's Subaru won't necessarily work for your's. Different cars, different setups. And you can't have a comfy ride and still tear it up on the track. Progressive-rate springs might get you close, but it's still not gonna be perfect.

So what's the key then? Using some math, talking to others, researching and testing. Sorry guys, I don't have a magic wand for this one! But you know what I can do? Ask the right questions to the right people for you. Dig more into what others have tested in the past and help you make the best educated guess to get the most out of your new setup.

Let me know what you think!


- E