How to adjust adjustable coilovers

Updated February 21, 2017

A coilover refers to a spring and shock absorber assembly that replaces a standard shock absorber or McPherson strut on a vehicle. Some coilover assemblies can be adjusted to change the characteristics of the suspension over different types of terrain. A coilover assembly can be stiffened to reduce the amount a vehicle sags when it is loaded. The coilover also can be adjusted to a softer setting when a smooth ride is more important.

Chock the tire that is diagonally opposite of the corner of the vehicle that the coilover to be adjusted is mounted on. Use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel on the corner of the vehicle you want to adjust. Place a tire jack in the appropriate jacking location for your vehicle and raise it until the wheel is off the ground. Place a jack stand under the frame rail of the raised corner of the vehicle. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel.

Place a floor jack under the lower suspension control arm of the raised corner of the vehicle. Raise the jack until it makes contact with the underside of the control arm. Raise the jack slightly to take the tension off of the coilover spring. Do not raise the jack high enough to compress the spring.

Place the jaws of a coilover adjustment wrench on the adjustment nut at the base of the coilover spring. Place another coilover adjustment wrench on the locknut directly underneath the adjustment nut. Hold the wrench on the adjustment nut from turning while turning the wrench on the locknut in a counterclockwise direction. Remove the wrench from the locknut.

Turn the wrench on the coilover adjustment nut in a clockwise direction to raise the adjustment nut to compress the spring. This will stiffen the ride and handling of the vehicle. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to lower the nut to soften the ride and handling.

Hold the wrench on the adjustment nut while tightening the locknut with the other wrench. Lower and remove the floor jack from under the vehicle. Replace the wheel and lug nuts. Lower the tire jack fully and tighten the lug nuts in a criss-cross pattern.

Repeat the procedure for the opposite side of the vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 wheel chocks
  • Lug wrench
  • Tire jack
  • Jack stand
  • Floor jack
  • 2 coilover adjustment wrenches
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