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The Complete Guide to Buying the Best Suspension Parts

Types of Suspension Parts: Coilovers, Control Arms, Sway Bars, Etc.

When upgrading or replacing suspension parts, there are several key components to consider:

Coilovers

  • Coilovers are high performance shock absorber and spring units that allow you to adjust ride height and dampening. They provide increased wheel travel, better handling, and a lowered stance.

Control Arms

  • Control arms connect the hubs/knuckles to the chassis and enable your wheels to move up and down. Upgraded control arms are more durable and allow for greater suspension travel.

Sway Bars (Anti-Roll Bars)

  • Sway bars reduce body roll in corners. An upgraded thicker sway bar will reduce body lean for flatter handling in high speed turns.

Bushings

  • Suspension bushings provide cushioning and reduce vibrations/noise between components. Upgrading to polyurethane bushings will increase responsiveness.

Strut Tower Braces

  • Strut tower braces connect the two strut towers in the engine bay to reduce chassis flex and increase steering response. A common affordable upgrade.

Tie Rods

  • Tie rods connect your steering wheel to the tires and wheels. Upgraded adjustable units allow you to tune steering angle and response.

End Links

  • End links connect the sway bar to the control arms. Upgraded units are stronger and more durable.

Consider the primary areas where your vehicle’s handling is lacking when choosing new suspension hardware. An alignment after installation is also key to balancing the geometry and ensuring maximum grip and performance.

Where to Buy Quality Suspension Parts Online

  • Check manufacturer websites. Many major brands like Bilstein, KYB, and Monroe sell their products directly on their websites. This is a great way to ensure you are getting a genuine part for your vehicle.
  • Use reputable online automotive parts stores. Sites like Summit Racing, RockAuto, and JEGS specialize in aftermarket and performance parts and have excellent selections of shocks, springs, and other suspension components.
  • Look for endorsements or approvals. Seek out parts that meet or exceed OE specifications or are approved for track use. For example, search for parts that carry the SEMA Garage or NMRA certifications.
  • Read customer reviews. What do actual customers have to say after installing and using the parts? Sort reviews by most helpful or critical to determine real-world quality and fitment.

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FAQs About Suspension Parts

Wondering what you need to know before buying new suspension parts? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

How do I know what parts I need?

  • Check your owner’s manual to see what suspension system your vehicle has – like MacPherson struts or a multi-link rear suspension. This will determine the specific components.
  • Note the make, model, year and trim level. Double check the parts are compatible before purchasing.
  • Inspect current parts – if shocks are leaking, bushings cracked or tie rods loose, plan to replace those worn items.

What’s the difference between OEM and aftermarket parts?

  • OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are made by the vehicle company to their specifications. They fit right but tend to cost more.
  • Aftermarket parts are made by third party manufacturers. They can perform as well as OEM but research brands, reviews and warranties to find reputable options.

How difficult is DIY installation?

  • Basic parts like shocks, struts and stabilizer bars can be swapped fairly easily with some mechanical know-how. But extensive suspension overhauls are best left to professionals.
  • If tackling it yourself, have proper jacks, jack stands and tools for safety. Follow instructions closely. Get help if needed.

Any tips for getting good deals?

  • Buy shocks and struts in sets of four to maximize savings and balance the suspension.
  • Look for sales, coupons and rebates from retailers. Or find lightly used parts through junkyards or online exchanges.
  • Consider value brands that offer affordable quality. And don’t pay for extra features you may not need.

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