3 simple yet highly effective ways to INCREASE ground clearance of your car

The situation of most roads in India is nothing to write home about. Our roads are riddled with potholes, badly designed speed breakers and exit ramps among other things. Because of this, even hatchbacks with decent ground clearance also scratch their underbellies or suffer bumper hits. A major reason behind the popularity of SUVs and crossovers in India can also be attributed to their high ground clearance which means that the owner can stay tension free about the vehicle getting a scratched underbelly.

Ground Clearance Boost Featured 3

But what if you own a regular hatchback/sedan, isn’t there any way through which their ground clearance could be enhanced? Thankfully, 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

Assisters are coiled polyurethane pieces that sit in between the coils of a coil spring type suspension. They function by limiting the spring travel of the coil springs in the suspension system. This limitation of suspension travel results in the reduced possibility of a car bottoming out on speed breakers and potholes, which further helps the car stay clear of any unwanted scraping over bad roads.

Usage of assisters also results in an enhanced ground clearance of the car by around 10-15 mm. Though it may not seem to be much, even this much difference is quite crucial. Another important thing to note here is that placement of the assister plays a very crucial role. In a coil spring type suspension, assisters can be placed in 3 different positions and each results in 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

Assisters can be equipped on any car that runs on a coil suspension setup. However, cars with leaf spring suspension setup can’t be equipped with them. There are other ways to enhance the ground clearance for leaf spring suspension setup though. The whole process of the placement too is not much time consuming and can be done at any decent workshop.

Costs and availability?

Spring Assister 3

Assisters are quite an inexpensive way to enhance the ground clearance of your car. A set of four assisters can be bought easily for around Rs. 4,000 to 5,000 and they have a claimed life period of about 50,000 kilometres. 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

Loss of suspension warranty is one of the major implication of using assisters in a car. 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.

Usage of assisters also affects the functionality and characteristics of the suspension. This means that the car may not handle as well as it does with stock suspension in certain cases and under certain conditions. One is therefore advised to drive calmly while driving with assisters.

Taller Tyres and Rims

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country 1

Another way to boost the ground clearance of your car is by equipping it with bigger rims and tires. Since tires are the sole point of contact between a car and the ground, changing them and the rims can easily result in quite a bit of space between the road and your car. One can either go for just bigger tyres or can also upsize both the tire as well as the rim which leads to an even better increase in the ground clearance. Keep in mind to adjust other bits like fenders among other things so no mechanical implication arises.

As an instance, upsizing from 185/60 R14 section tyres to 185/70 R14 section tyres will give you about 10 mm of extra ground clearance. Similarly, 185/65 R15 tyres on 15-inch rims will also give you a decent ground clearance raise. Make sure though that your car’s design allows for such a change and you don’t end up with tires rubbing on fenders or rims knocking on the car’s body while doing lock to lock turns.

On what cars will this modification work

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?

Thar Modd

Tire and rims upsizing costs a lot more when compared to assisters. What one can do is to change the tyres right at the time of buying a car 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?

Suspension warranty of your car may be voided when you upsize. Most authorized service centres though won’t blame the tyre upgrade as long as it is done within acceptable limits, which means 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, the fuel efficiency of the vehicle may take a hit due to larger wheels.

Stiffer Suspension

Adjustable Aftermarket Suspension

Stiffer suspension simply means that your car won’t go all jumping over a bad patch of road. Some of the reputed companies that offer suspension upgrade kits for a lot of mass-market cars include Bilstein, Koni and Tein among others. The suspension upgrade kits come with a level of adjustability, which allows a certain degree of control over the damping characteristics of the suspension.

Simply put, 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 also means that one can have a comfortable yet scrape free ride by adjusting the suspension settings on the go. There are more economical options in the market too but they do not allow for suspension adjustability on the move.

On what cars will this modification work

Suspension stiffening and adjustability can work on 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 kits cost around Rs. 50,000. Such suspension upgrade kits stiffen the ride on speed breakers while allowing for a smoother ride on potholes. They 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?

Aftermarket 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 aftermarket 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.