Ground clearance is one of the factors that consumers consider while buying a new car. We all know that the road conditions in India are not really good. There are deep potholes, unpaved road patches and huge speed breakers. Due to which the chance of scraping the underbelly of your car is very high. This is one of the reasons why people prefer SUVs over other body styles because they come with good ground clearance. But not all people buy SUVs some people do have sedans or hatchbacks which has less ground clearance than SUVs. Fortunately, there are some simple ways through which you can increase the ground clearance of your vehicle.
Bigger Rims and Tyres
One of the easiest ways to increase ground clearance is to install bigger rims and tyres on the cars. Many people do this as soon as they get their vehicle. However, they do generally do it for looks, not for practicality. They will install bigger rims because they look nice and enhance the stance of the vehicle. However, bigger rims also mean that the ground clearance of the vehicle will also increase. For instance, earlier the rim size was 18-inches and the new wheel size is 20-inches. Then there are the tyres which you can upgrade for more sidewall. For instance, you can upgrade from 165/55 to 165/65 which will get you more tyre sidewall that will increase the ground clearance.
However, you just cannot go and jack-up your vehicle. There are certain limitations of the vehicle. If you up-size the rim too much then the tyre will start touching under the wheel arches, it is possible that whenever you go through a large bump the tyre touches the wheel arch, larger tyres also decrease the turning radius of the vehicle. So, remember to do your research first before up-sizing your wheels and tyres as it can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Installation and price
Alloy wheels are available for every vehicle. Sometimes, the manufacturer themselves offer different alloy wheels or you would need to go for some after-market option. But remember the alloy wheels should be of high quality or else they will break when you hit a bad pothole. Installation can be done by the dealership or the after-market shop that you choose. Having said that alloy wheels and a new set of tyres does cost quite a bit of money. Some after-market shops also buy back your current set of tyres and give you a discount. You can try to get new alloys when your current tyres run out of tread.
Changing the wheels can lead to warranty issues provided by the manufacturer. This is because you are not running the recommended tyres or wheels. So, first, you would need to check in with your dealership and service centre. Other issues include a drop in fuel efficiency, ride quality can also take a hit and the odometer and speedometer can show a wrong reading because they are calibrated for the stock alloy size.
Coil Spring assisters
Most cars nowadays are fitted with coil spring type suspension. Coil Spring assisters are a very cheap and easy way to increase ground clearance. These assisters are made of a hard rubber compound that is rugged and can last a lifetime if you drive the vehicle properly. The science behind the assisters is simple, they ensure that the coil spring does not bottom out and hit the underbody of the vehicle. An increase in the ground clearance depends from vehicle to vehicles. But usually, assisters provide a boost of 10 to 15 mm of ground clearance.
Installation and price
Installation is pretty easy, so any local mechanic with decent knowledge should be able to install the coil spring assisters in your car. Any car that comes with coil springs can be equipped with assisters.
Because coil spring assisters are installed from after-market, manufacturers may void your warranty. So, what you can do is visit a local mechanic before going to the service centre and the mechanic can remove the assisters.
A stiffer suspension is the most expensive way of ensuring that your car does not scrape. It would require you to change the whole suspension setup and assembly. It might help you in increasing the ground clearance or you can just use a stiffer suspension setup. If your suspension is stiff, then your body roll will be well contained and your suspension will not bottom out because there is very less body movement.
Installation and price
You can get different suspension kits from after-market shops. Usually, most vehicles do have an after-market suspension kit available. Manufacturers like Bilstein, Tein and Koni make some high-quality suspension setups. The prices depend on the quality and from where you buy the suspension assembly. They usually start from Rs. 50,000 while the high performance, good quality suspension kits can cost you more.
You will need to follow the instructions given by the seller as not everyone can install a new suspension assembly. Also, the manufacturer might void your warranty. However, there might be a chance that your suspension manufacturer gives a warranty on suspension assembly only.
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