Mechanic Tips

When to Upgrade Your Car’s Suspension for Better Handling

If you’re an avid driver, you know that your car’s suspension plays a crucial role in its performance, handling, and ride quality. But like all parts of a vehicle, suspensions wear out over time. When is it time to upgrade your suspension for better handling and control? Here’s what to look out for and the key benefits of upgrading your suspension components.

Signs It’s Time for a Suspension Upgrade

Your car is constantly absorbing shocks and impacts from the road as you drive. Over many miles, critical suspension parts like springs, shock absorbers, control arms and bushings can wear out. Here are some telltale signs your suspension may need an upgrade:

  • Excessive bouncing – If your car continues bouncing up and down after hitting a bump, your shocks may be worn out. Good shocks dampen oscillations quickly.
  • Uneven tyre wear – If the inner or outer edges of your tyres show uneven wear patterns, your wheel alignment could be off due to sagging springs or loose components.
  • Poor handling and control – Worn parts like ball joints and bushings can introduce play and instability when cornering or braking. You may notice wandering, delayed reactions or loss of grip.
  • Strange noises – Suspensions make all kinds of squeaks, clunks and rattles as they operate. But now, intermittent noises can indicate issues like a shock mount breaking loose.
  • Sagging posture – Over time, springs can sag, lowering your car’s ride height and changing its wheel alignment.
  • Age and mileage – Most suspension components like bushings and shocks wear out within 50,000-100,000 miles. If your car is over 5-10 years old, its suspension is likely due for a refresh.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have your suspension inspected and consider an upgrade.

Benefits of Upgrading Your Suspension

Upgrading worn suspension components restores your vehicle’s factory capabilities – and often improves upon them. Here are some of the benefits of freshening up your suspension:

  • Better handling and control – New shocks, springs, ball joints and bushings tighten up steering and chassis responses. You’ll take corners with precision and confidence.
  • Improved traction and grip – Upgraded stabiliser bars, tyres and alignment settings enhance grip, so you can accelerate, brake and corner harder.
  • Smoother ride quality – Modern shocks and springs greatly improve your ride comfort, isolating you from bumps and vibrations.
  • Restored alignment – Installing new springs, control arms and ball joints accurately realigns your wheels so your tyres meet the road evenly.
  • Increased load capacity – Heavy-duty coils and leaf springs allow you to carry more weight securely.
  • Customisation – Performance springs, adjustable shocks and anti-roll bars let you tune handling and ride height to your driving style.
  • Aesthetic improvements – Lowered sport suspensions improve stance while lifting kits add ground clearance and aggressive styling.

Proper maintenance goes a long way, but suspension components eventually wear out. Upgrading provides noticeable improvements in performance, comfort, safety and appearance.

When Should You Upgrade Your Suspension?

Deciding exactly when to upgrade your suspension depends on several factors:

  • Vehicle age and mileage – Like tyres and brakes, bushings, springs and shocks just wear out over time and miles. Most need replacement between 50-100k miles. Upgrades are smart for high-mileage vehicles.
  • Performance needs – If you regularly corner hard, tow heavy loads or go off-road, higher-performance suspension components will provide increased capabilities.
  • Comfort and noise – If your suspension is noisy or uncomfortable over bumps, new shocks and bushings will smooth out your ride.
  • Appearance – Lowering sports suspensions or lifting kits changes stance and aesthetics. Upgrade if you want to alter your vehicle’s look.
  • Adding larger tyres – Fitting significantly larger tyres may require lifting the suspension to avoid rubbing.

So if your car feels loose and uncontrolled, bounces excessively, lacks its factory stance, or has simply covered over 50,000 miles, suspension upgrades are likely overdue. Any time-worn parts compromise performance, comfort or safety is a good time.

Key Suspension Components to Upgrade

Suspensions incorporate several critical components that wear and may need replacement. Here are some of the most important:

  • Shocks/struts – These dampen oscillations and control wheel motions over bumps. Upgrade to high-performance gas shocks for tighter handling.
  • Springs – Leaf or coil springs support vehicle weight and determine ride height. Sport springs lower vehicles, while heavy-duty springs increase load capacity.
  • Control arms – These connect the chassis and wheel hubs. New arms with fresh bushings tighten the steering and chassis feel.
  • Ball joints – Critical pivot points that should be replaced if loose or worn.
  • Stabiliser bars – Also known as sway or anti-roll bars, these tame body lean when cornering. Upgraded bars reduce lateral roll.
  • Tyres – Better tyres provide more grip. Consider high-performance compounds when upgrading your suspension.
  • Bushings – These rubber bits dampen vibrations and cushion components. Replacing dried, cracked bushings refreshes your suspension.

Upgrading these essential parts gets your suspension working like new – or better. Bushings, springs and shocks make the most dramatic improvements in ride quality, handling precision and comfort.

Consider Professional Upgrades for Optimal Results

While DIY upgrades are popular, having a professional suspension shop upgrade components is ideal for achieving maximised performance benefits:

  • Proper installation – Experienced technicians ensure new parts are fitted, torqued and aligned correctly. This optimises geometry, precision and durability.
  • Testing and inspection – Shops can diagnose issues and check components like ball joints for wear before installing upgrades.
  • Alignment service – New parts often require alignments to realise full handling benefits. Shops have professional equipment.
  • Custom tuning – Pro suspension installers can advise upgrades tailored to your vehicle and needs, and then properly tune them.
  • Warranties and support – Reputable shops provide warranties and support if any issues arise down the road.

With experienced technicians, specialised tools and extensive know-how, professional shops excel at maximising a suspension upgrade’s benefits. The additional cost is well worth it.

Safely Refresh Your Suspension

A vehicle’s suspension endures a lot of abuse over countless miles driven. But like other automotive components, bushings, springs and shocks require periodic replacement to maintain proper, safe performance. If your car feels loose, bounces excessively or is just high mileage, upgrading key suspension parts restores precision handling, confident cornering grip, stable braking and a smooth, comfortable ride. For optimal gains in performance and life from new components, a professional suspension shop is a smart choice. With a refreshed suspension, your vehicle will handle bumps and turns like new – and put a smile on your face mile after mile.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to upgrade the suspension?

Suspension upgrade costs range from $500-4000+ depending on which components you replace and whether you DIY or use a shop. Shocks and springs may run $500-1500+ for parts. But full upgrades with labour average around $2000+ at shops.

Should I replace shocks and struts together?

Replacing shocks/struts in pairs on the same axle is best, as it balances damping and ensures even handling. Staggering front and rear at different intervals is fine.

Will new shocks improve ride quality?

Yes, replacing worn factory or cheap shocks with higher-quality aftermarket shocks (e.g. gas shocks) significantly improves damping, reducing bounce and harshness for a smoother ride.

What is the best suspension upgrade for my car?

The ideal upgrades depend on your usage, goals and budget. For street driving, prioritise shocks, springs, bushings and anti-roll bars. For off-roading, upgrade for higher travel shocks, lifting springs and beefier arms. Ask a shop for recommendations.

Why Choose SNC Automotive?

Here at SNC Automotive, we have over 20 years of experience upgrading suspensions for all makes and models. Our certified mechanics will inspect your existing suspension, advise cost-effective upgrades to suit your needs, and professionally install high-quality components for improved performance, handling and comfort. We also provide wheel alignments and offer warranties for peace of mind. For suspension servicing you can trust, choose SNC Automotive in Brendale.

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