A Beginner’s Guide On Off-Road Suspension

How do you choose the right off-road suspension?

  1. Establish your needs
  2. Have a set budget
  3. Determine the tires you plan to use
  4. Know your suspension options


A vehicle’s suspension system is responsible for smoothing out bumps on the road, keeping tires on the ground, and maintaining the stability of the vehicle. All three are especially important in off-road vehicles — which must perform well on rough trails and the city highway. That’s why if you’re planning to upgrade this component, you need to read this off-road suspension guide.


Establish Your Needs

The first thing you need to do is to list down your reason for upgrading your suspension. For instance, if you have tons of modifications to your vehicle — such as fridges, roof racks, and more — you might need springs that can support the weight of your 4WD.

The next thing you need to consider is your comfort when driving. The right suspension system will help you drive through the roughest trails without excessive bumps. Other than that, consider the activities you often do. If you typically drive through off-road tracks, then you might need heavy-duty shock absorbers.

Lastly, where do you plan to use your vehicle? For urban city driving or off-roading in remote destinations? If it’s the latter, then you need to consider upgrading to a heavy-duty suspension for your vehicle’s safety and stability.


Have A Set Budget

Have A Set Budget

Your budget plays an important role in what type of suspension can you get. As a general rule of thumb, the more extreme or heavy-duty the suspension is, the more expensive it’s going to be. This is because you need to replace more stock components in your vehicle. Don’t forget that the labor is also included in the cost. On top of that, you also need to consider the changes in your gas mileage.

On the other hand, you also need to think of the cost of not upgrading your suspension system. For instance, if you plan to use your 4WD mainly for off-road trails, you might find that your current setup is not suitable for terrain, so you might have an uncomfortable ride. If you carry heavy loads with standard suspension, you might also be compromising the vehicle’s safety.


Determine The Tires You Plan to Use

To determine the type of suspension you need, you need to know the tires you’re going to use in your vehicle. Bigger tires are preferred for off-road because they can help you drive over large obstacles. But because of the added height and strength required, you also need to choose a more heavy-duty suspension.

For instance, if you’re planning to install tires that are smaller than 33 inches on your truck, you can pick a solid axle and leaf spring suspension. For tires that are 33 to 35 inches, you might need a coil spring suspension. If you’re planning on installing 35 to 37-inch tires, you might need more extreme modifications.

Lift and having large tires will change your vehicle’s center of gravity. The goal here is to strike a balance between tire size and lift. The best way you can do this is to pick the largest tire you can fit a vehicle while having the least amount of lift possible.


Know Your Suspension Options

There are two main types of suspension for off-roading — solid axle suspension and independent suspension.


Solid Axle Suspension

This type of suspension involves connecting the tires by a straight rod in the back and rear of the vehicle, which is why it’s also called a dependent suspension. When one wheel moves, the other wheel will also be affected. It’s considered the classic setup for off-road vehicles.

A solid axle suspension is more durable compared to an independent front suspension. On top of that, it’s also easy to repair, which is why many off-road truck owners prefer this setup. The parts used are fewer, so you can maximize torque. Lastly, it also allows you to have more traction over obstacles on the road.


Independent Suspension

In an independent suspension system, each wheel that is attached to the axle can move independently in a vertical direction, hence the name. Because of this, one wheel can go over a bump without affecting the other. In modern vehicles, you will find independent front suspension (IFS) and independent rear suspension (IRS).

Because of the design of an independent suspension, they can provide the right traction when you’re driving through irregular paths. Since all tires will be on the ground, you can also experience a smoother ride. With these benefits, this type of setup is also beneficial for off-roading.


Key Takeaway

This off-road suspension guide for beginners can help you get started on your dream setup for your vehicle. By establishing your needs first, you will have a better idea of what type of suspension will fit your car or truck. Depending on the type you choose, the benefits will be slightly different.

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