Comfort is something that everyone wants from their cars. This parameter is more important in India due to the poor road infrastructure. Is it possible to make your car more comfortable? Of course it is. We tell you how.
Let’s begin with the parameters that make the car comfortable.
- Driving habits
Now, let’s look at how these parameters can be modified for maximum comfort.
What does a suspension exactly do? The main job of a suspension is to absorb bumps and imperfections on the road and keep the occupants comfortable. This is the most important parameter that provides comfort in the car. The first thing to do is to ensure that the suspension is in good condition. Get your car’s damper checked to ensure there is no leakage and that the bushings and springs are in good condition. If they are okay and you still want something more comfortable, look for aftermarket options.
In the aftermarket world, TEIN and Koni are two among many suspension brands that have adaptive damping, and they shall make the ride quality better. If you are opting for aftermarket suspensions, ensure you read everything there is about the model you are planning to order and get it installed by a trained technician who can set it up the way you want. You will need more flexible springs and shock absorbers with more travel. Adjustable suspension has various parameters that can be played around with, so it will take you some time to find out which setup works for you and which doesn’t.
In cars with leaf spring suspension, removing a leaf will make the ride more comfortable, however it will affect the handling characteristics of the vehicle. If any of you have watched Top Gear, you would remember that in one of their special episodes where the trio were driving trucks, Clarkson loaded the back of his truck with junk to make the ride quality better. Leaf springs are meant to provide best comfort when there is load on the suspension. So if there is no or less load, they will not provide adequate comfort. To counter that, some people put sand bags or other items in the boot of the vehicle above the leaf springs, which act as load and help to improve comfort.
The tyres are the first thing that take in the impact of any bump or pothole. They also play an important role in keeping the cabin comfortable. To ensure best ride quality, one must opt for the tyres with larger side profiles. To maintain the overall outer diameter, you may have to opt for rims a size smaller to counter the larger side walls.
When you are changing the tyres on your car and are up sizing or down sizing, ensure you adhere to the 3% rule. You should also opt for softer compound tyres that can provide better insulation. Lower profile tyres or those with stiffer side walls are something you should avoid if ride comfort is what you are looking for.
If your car has the option of multiple rim sizes, opt for a smaller rim as it will get larger side walls for better comfort. Keep one thing in mind that opting for larger side profile tyres will reduce the handling capabilities of the vehicle and will put more load on the side walls in the event of heavy cornering.
Nowadays most companies, in an attempt to keep costs down, opt for seats with lesser padding. Opting for a custom made seat or getting your seats reupholstered and adding the right amount of padding will make your journeys much more comfortable. Not only that, getting your seat adjusted to suit your body structure is also important. Sitting too far behind or too far ahead will result in more strain on your legs and back, which will provide discomfort.
If you have a driver, this becomes a very important parameter to ensure comfort. The driver should drive in a smooth manner and not cause any jerks. That can be done by accelerating and braking in a linear manner, rather than suddenly. If the driver slows down for the bumps adequately, the ride will be more comfortable.
If you drive yourself, then ensure you leave the clutch smoothly. If you are travelling long distances, take adequate breaks. Driving or sitting in the car for long periods of time can get uncomfortable. One more thing, keep the windows up while driving at higher speeds. Keeping them open will not only cause drag, it will also cause excessive wind noise that adds to the fatigue.
Arm rests for the driver is something that can certainly make your drive more comfortable. Most small cars miss out on that feature. There is an option of getting an aftermarket armrest. This will set you back by Rs 700-Rs 1300 depending upon the type of armrest. Another accessory that can be bought is a neck pillow or seat cushions. These are cheaper alternatives if you don’t want to get your seats reupholstered.