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Understanding Basic Suspension Terminology


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Coil Spring: Provides a cushion to absorb road imperfections and returns the vehicle to a predetermined ride height. A major contributor to a vehicle’s handling balance and ride quality. Higher spring rates and shorter overall lengths are commonly used to lower the vehicle’s ride height for enhanced appearance and improved handling.

Shock/Strut/Damper: Convert the suspension’s kinetic energy into heat by forcing fluid through a series of valves within the shock body. Provides control of unwanted suspension motions allowing the tires’ contact patches to better stay in contact with the road surface. Can have a major affect on the vehicle ride quality and handling balance anytime the vehicle suspension is moving through its range of motion.

Bump Stop: In its basic form, prevents the vehicle’s suspension or tire from contacting the vehicle’s body or frame during upward movement. Many modern designs also act as supplemental springs using a urethane material to smooth the transition to full compression.

Coil-Over: A term used to describe a spring, shock and bump stop incorporated into one assembly with the spring encompassing the shock and bump stop. Often uses an adjustable spring perch to allow different vehicle ride heights without changing the springs.

Anti-Roll Bar: Also called an anti-sway bar, this device 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.

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