We live in a country whose road infrastructure is best left unsaid about. Potholes, badly designed speed breakers and exit ramps are among some the the things that our roads are riddled with. Many times, regular cars get scratched underbellies or bumper hits due to these. This is also a reason why SUVs are increasingly becoming popular in our country, with sub-compact SUV being the latest rage.

However, if you own a regular hatchback/sedan, there are a few ways by which you can increase the ground clearance of your vehicle. Here then are three easy and straight forward ways to boost the ground clearance of any car.

Assisters for coil springs

Spring Assisters

Simply put, assisters are a piece of coiled polyurethane that sits in between the coils of a coil spring suspension. What they do is that they limit the travel of the suspension system to an extent. When the suspension travel is reduced by an assister, the vehicle will not bottom out on speed breakers and potholes. This helps in reducing unwanted scraping of cars over bad road features.

The ground clearance of the car is also boosted by 10-15 mm by this modification. Even this much difference is crucial and can result in low slung cars escaping from kissing the speed breaker. Placement of the assister plays a very crucial role and can be placed in 3 different positions on a coil springs. Each position produces a slightly different effect. When placed at the top of the coil, it acts at all loads. When placed in the middle, the assister gets into action under mild loads. Lastly, when placed at the bottom, the assister acts only under full load.

On what cars will this modification work

Spring Assister 3

Every car which has a coil suspension setup can be equipped with a coil assister. However, older cars and some SUVs which come with leaf spring suspension setup can’t be equipped with them. There are other different ways for leaf spring suspension setup though. The whole process of placement too is not very time taking of typical and can be done at any decent workshop.

Costs and availability?

Thankfully, assisters are among the more affordable ways to get the ground clearance of your car boosted. A set of four assisters can be bought easily for around Rs. 4,000 to 5,000. Assister have a claimed life period of about 50,000 kilometers. Therefore, when you get your suspension overhauled, you’ll need to go in for a new set of assisters.

What are the implications that I need to know about?

Spring Assister 2

One of the major implication upon the use of assisters is that you might lose suspension warranty if you use them. However, you can easily remove or get the assisters removed before making a warranty claim on the suspension. While this is not the most ethical thing to do, it will make sure that your warranty remains intact. Also, removing assisters takes just about 15 minutes, which makes it an easy job to handle.

Moving on, use of assisters also affects the functionality and characteristics of the suspension. What this means is that your car may not handle as well as it does with stock suspension in certain cases and under certain conditions. You’re advised to take it easy while driving with assisters.

Taller Tyres and Rims

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country 1

Now this is the most straight forward way to give your car the extra boost it needs in terms of ground clearance. Tires are the sole point of contact of the car from the ground and by changing them and the rims, you can easily gain quite a bit of space between road and your car. One way of doing it is by upping the tyre size and letting the rims remain the same. Another is by upsizing both the tire as well as the rim, resulting in a better increase. Make sure though that upsizing does not result in any sort of mechanical challenge like fender scraping or any other such thing.

For instance, going from 185/60 R14 section tyres to say 185/70 R14 section tyres will give you about 10 mm of extra ground clearance, if your car’s design allows for such a change. In a similar fashion, 185/65 R15 tyres on 15 inch rims will also give you a decent ground clearance raise if your car is able to take the larger rims without causing rubbing on lock to lock turns.

On what cars will this modification work

Again, this modification work for almost all cars sold in our country. Most of the cars sold here easy manage to be okay with tyre size increase by a size or two.

Costs and availability?

Compared to assisters, tire and rims upsizing costs a lot more. However, If you change the tyres right at the time of buying a car, it can be an economical option as the tyre dealer will buy back your existing tyres and replace them with taller ones at a smaller cost. However, if you’re upgrading to bigger tire size while in the middle of your tyres life cycle, it will be an expensive bet. Replacing both rims and tyres is even costlier. As for availability, any decent tire shop can make these changes easily

What are the implications that I need to know about?

As is the case with assisters, suspension warranty of your car may be voided when you upsize. However, most authorized service centers won’t blame the tyre upgrade as long as it is done within acceptable limits. By acceptable limits, we mean an upgrade of one or two sizes.

Handling dynamics and ride quality may also change when you opt for wider and taller rubber. You will have to adjust your driving accordingly. Also, large and wide tires mean that fuel efficiency of the vehicle may take a hit.

Stiffer Suspension

Adjustable Aftermarket Suspension

Stiffer suspension means your car won’t go all jumping over a broke road or any such bad surface. Bilstein, Koni and Tein are among some of the reputed companies that offer suspension upgrade kits for a lot of mass market cars. The upgrade kits come with a level of adjustability, which allows the driver to have a control over the damping characteristics of the suspension.

For instance, you can make your suspension softer when on a bad stretch of road and make it stiffer when going over a large speed breaker. This means that one can have a comfortable yet scrape free ride by adjusting the suspension settings on the go. More economical options are also available in the market. However, they do not allow for suspension adjustability on the move.

On what cars will this modification work

Suspension stiffening and adjustability can be put onto any car for which a proper suspension upgrade kit is available. Most of the popular cars in the market have a suspension upgrade kit available though.

Costs and availability?

Suspension kits are quite expensive and even a basic suspension upgrade kit will set you back with about Rs. 50,000. This upgrade kit will stiffen the ride on speed breakers while allowing for a smoother ride on potholes. These kits are available with many car modifiers such as Red Rooster Racing, Pete’s and Methods Automotive among others.

What are the implications that I need to know about?

After market suspension kits are model specific and are actually better than most of the stock suspension systems. However, the main catch in it is in getting the right kind of after market suspension kit by considering your driving style and other requirements. An expert’s advice can be handy when choosing over the right kit for your car.