Installing suspension springs that are lower than the existing springs on a car is a very common method of improving the vehicle’s performance. These springs lower the car’s centre of gravity and reduce body roll, increasing grip while also making the vehicle look more sporty. While the most effective method of lowering a vehicle is installing springs that are specifically engineered for a lower ride height, it is possible to merely cut the existing springs.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Tire iron
- Socket set and ratchet
- Spring compressor
- Angle grinder, plasma cutter or metal cutting tool
- Masking tape
- White spirit
Park the vehicle on a level surface. Loosen the lug bolts on the wheels with a tire iron. Lift the vehicle with a floor jack at all four corners (one side at a time) and lower it onto jack stands. Finish removing the wheels and set them aside.
Remove the springs. This will vary depending on the make and model. At the front, most modern cars use a spring and strut design. The struts must be removed from the suspension as a unit. Consult a workshop manual for specific directions on how to remove the struts. Separate the spring from the struts. Repeat for the remaining corners of the vehicle.
Cut the springs in pairs, first the fronts and then the rears. This will help maintain a consistent ride height. Place the two front springs next to each other. Decide how many coils (1/2, 1, etc.) you will be removing. If you are unsure, start by removing 1/2 or even 1/4 of a coil. You can always go back and remove more.
Use a piece of masking tape to mark where the cut will be made by carefully wrapping the tape around the spring. Make a similar mark on the other spring. Place the two springs side by side and make sure the marks are on the same place on the springs.
Cut the springs on the marks you made with a metal cutting device. An electric angle grinder or a plasma cutter will quickly and efficiently cut the metal of the spring. Place the two springs side by side, once the cuts are made, to ensure that they are the same height.
Repeat the above procedure for the rear springs. Keep in mind that you generally do not want the rear to be lower than the front. Prime and paint the springs after they have been cut to prevent them from rusting. Wipe them down with white spirit then apply several heavy coats of primer, followed by several coats of paint.
Reinstall the springs in the reverse order of removal. Reinstall the wheels and lower the vehicle to the ground. Take the vehicle into a service centre to have the suspension aligned as it will be altered by the lower ride height.
Tips and warnings
- While cutting springs can be an acceptable way to lower a vehicle, it is difficult to determine how stiff the springs will be after they are cut. Your vehicle’s ride and handling may be adversely affected if the springs are too low so err on the conservative side when removing coils from the spring.