Lowering the suspension on a car is an easy way to improve the handling. A lower suspension means a lower centre of gravity, while stiffer springs reduce body roll and make the suspension more responsive. If it's just the springs that are being replaced, the most common method is to purchase a set of aftermarket lowering springs. You can also simply remove the stock springs and remove a coil or two to lower the car, saving the cost of actually purchasing new springs.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- 13-mm, 18-mm, 16-mm sockets
- Ratcheting wrench
- Socket extensions
- Jack stands
- Spring compressor
- Angle grinder (with cut-off wheel or hacksaw)
Jack up the car and place it safely and securely on jack stands. Remove all four wheels
Remove the rubber body plugs that cover the nuts for the front suspension with a screwdriver or pliers. Behind the nuts are four 13-mm nuts that are removed with a socket and a long extension. Disconnect the sway bar links and the inner pivot bolt on the lower front control arm. The latter is to provide clearance when removing the shock and spring assembly. Remove the lower shock bolt and remove the shock assembly.
At the rear remove the nut and bolt in the lower shock mount as well as the sway bar to subframe bolts. Loosen the inner control arm pivot bolts with an 18-mm and a 16-mm socket. Remove the upper nut and bolt from the upper control arm and pull the control arm out of the way. Remove the lower shock bolt and the two upper bolts that hold the shock assembly to the car. Pull the assembly out of the car, being careful not to damage the brake line.
Once all shocks are out of the car, use a high-quality spring compressor to compress the springs and remove the 18-mm not at the top of the shocks.
The fastest way to cut the springs is with an angle grinder that has a 4-inch cut-off wheel. You can also use a hacksaw. Carefully cut through all the springs, ensuring that you remove the exact same amount on each one to maintain a consistent ride height. It is best to start with a half coil or one coil. If the car is not low enough, you can always recut the springs. Paint the springs after they are cut to prevent them from rusting.
Reassemble the shock and spring assembly in the opposite order of removal and torque everything to the proper spec according to the manual.
Tips and warnings
- Cutting springs is not the most optimal way to lower a car, but it can result in a stiffer ride and a visually lower appearance. Keep in mind as well that OEM springs are designed with a certain height and stiffness. Cutting the springs will change their behaviour.
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