India’s road network is ever-changing and evolving in terms of quality of roads and routes. It becomes something of prime importance especially around the elections to first take into consideration the condition of the road as that is something that is the most evident for the educated voting class of the country. Post the elections the same new roads are filled with potholes, illegal and poorly placed speed breakers and rough patches all along. Regular drivers in India are quite careful about such road abnormalities and try to save their car from any sort of damage but its sometimes beyond the control of the driver also to save the car due to lower ground clearance. We have listed a few ways to save your car, in case you have a low ground clearance and these methods don’t burn a hole in your pocket too, in fact, they save you lots from potentially serious damage.
Nowadays, cars come with the coil spring type suspension, which is anyway put there to save your car from the damage that can be caused due to low ground clearance. To increase the ground clearance furthermore, you could install assistors with this kind of suspension. They are specially made by polyurethane coils that can be easily placed between the gap of any spring suspension. The working of the assistor is very basic and simple, whenever your car hits an uneven road patch at a high speed, the assistor prevents the suspension to bottom out and hit the body of the car.
Assistors can potentially increase the ground clearance by 10mm to 15mm, depending on the type and the size of the car. That is a significant amount of ground clearance. If the assistor is placed on the top of the suspension, it generally acts on all kind of loads on the vehicles, similarly, in the middle, it works under a mild load and at the bottom it comes under a full load.
Can you install it
It is an extremely simple device that can be added in all cars with coil spring suspension. It doesn’t even take much time.
A set of four assistors costs you somewhere around INR5000 and can last for approximately 50,000 kilometres, subject to the condition of the road you’re driving it on. You can put a new set of assistors whenever the suspension gets overhauled.
The only problem in installing the assistors is that the manufacturer might void the warranty of the suspension of the car if they see the assistors. Since they are easy to install and remove, it’s best if you are careful to remove it before the car goes for servicing during the warranty period.
Taller tyres and rims
Taller tyres and rims for your car are the most obvious ways to increase the ground clearance of your car. Either of the two options can be used in your cars. Car owners still need to be aware that the tyre size and the rim size could very easily have a negative impact on your car’s suspension by causing scratches on the wheel arches and limiting the original turning radius of the car too.
If you happen to increase the tyre size from 185/60 R14 to 185/70 R14, it will give you at least a 10mm extra ground clearance. When it comes to altering the rim size, if you go from 14 inches to 15 inches, it will add a lot of ground clearance to your car as well. Make sure you do follow all the upsizing rules for the car and not going completely overboard by surpassing the upsizing rules and installing massive tyres for your car.
Can you install it?
Any vehicle from the smallest hatchback like the Celerio to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can have aftermarket rims and tyres installed. If you really want to choose this way to increase the ground clearance of the car, the best way to enjoy it is by not upsizing the tyres too much and making sure the quality of the alloy wheels are excellent too.
This could be a costly affair if you are specially going out of your way to change the tyres, however, doing this when your old tyres have worn off seems like the logical way to do it as you were anyway prepared to spend money to change your tyres. You could also check with the dealership if they are willing to upgrade the tyres while buying the vehicle, as the dealership would buy the old tyres from the car and the cost of upgrading can come down.
Taking the route of upgrading your tyres and rims could also lead to the void warranty for the suspension of your car. You can always check with your service centre when you’re making this decision, whether it can be safely done or not. A lot of changes in the driving quality of the car. The fuel efficiency and speedometer reading also get affected because the size of the tyres is different from the stock tyres.
New stiffer suspension
You have the classic old method of upgrading the suspension of the car itself by installing a much stiffer suspension. It will help to make your car more stable on rough and uneven patches and the stiffer suspension will also make sure that the vehicle doesn’t get damaged by the jump caused by driving on high speed and coming across a pothole. A lot of reputed companies have manufactured these aftermarket suspensions such as Koni, Bilstein and Tein that can be easily used in mass segment cars. These aftermarket suspensions also allow the user of the car to set up the exact stiffness of the suspension that further allows them to have better control over several characteristics of the car. These suspensions are a sure-shot way of getting a damage-free ride, however, there are always economical options available but they don’t allow the adjustability.
Can you install it?
Aftermarket suspensions are readily available for mass segment cars. It can also be imported or completely made in India. The suspension stiffness adjustment has to be done through a service centre.
How much do they cost?
There are a lot of car modification garages like Pete’s, Red Rooster Racing etc who provide the service of the suspension upgrade. This is the most expensive way discussed so far and can cost somewhere around INR50000 or more depending on the type, brand and quality of the suspension.
Aftermarket suspensions are not generic in nature even though they are available for mass segment cars, which is also why it is better than having a stock engine in your car. Therefore, you’ve to be really careful and seek expert advice if possible to get the right kind of suspension for installing in your car.