Basics of Lowrider Hydraulics

Written by phil whitmer
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Basics of Lowrider Hydraulics
Low riders are cars specially modified to sit and ride low to the ground. (car show image by itsallgood from

Low-riders are specially modified cars built to sit and ride very low to the ground. The idea originated in East Los Angeles and became popular throughout southern California. The front and rear ends of the cars can leap high off the ground with speciality hydraulics.

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The cars' suspension systems are modified with custom lift kits consisting of hydraulic pumps powering each wheel to raise or lower it. The pumps are controlled by up to 10 switches installed in the interior of the car. The original purpose of the hydraulics was to raise the low slung cars over rough roads.


The hydraulic pumps are powered by banks of connected batteries, often filling the entire boot of the low-rider. The batteries are wired into 48-volt or 72-volt systems. The more batteries, the more power, the higher the car can hop.


An unintended consequence of the hydraulic lifts was their ability to make the car jump or hop high into the air. The hydraulics can raise and lower the cars from front to back, side to side, one corner at a time or can lift the entire car, called pancaking. Low-riders often compete in hopping competitions.

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