offroad suspension

Getting the Results You Want: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Upgrading Your Suspension

Upgrading the suspension of a truck, SUV, or car is often the best, easiest way to make it more capable when off road. No other system matters as much as the suspension when a vehicle is moving over rough terrain.

Most suspension upgrade projects work out well, at least for those who do some research first. Become familiar with the following eight suspension upgrade mistakes, and you will be well-equipped to avoid them.

1. Forgetting About Ride Quality

Every suspension needs to achieve an appropriate balance between conflicting goals. Many people who head off road from time to time end up making their daily driving miserable as a result of suspension upgrades.

An overly stiff or aggressively tuned suspension can make a formerly comfortable vehicle torturous to drive. Get some help at, and you will not have to live with the consequences of this especially common mistake.

2. Mixing Mismatched Kits

The parts included in suspension kits are generally designed to work well with each other. That is one of the best reasons to buy a kit instead of piecing together the parts of an upgrade one by one.

Some drivers make the mistake of pulling parts out of one kit for use with the rest of another. This most often happens with spacers that are used to lift either the front or rear of a vehicle.

Unfortunately, swapping in a different set of spaces will drastically alter the vehicle dynamics a given kit is designed to support. Only experienced drivers should normally even consider this option.

3. Failing to Think About the Whole System

Some suspension components are more inherently interesting than others, and that can mean they receive undue amounts of attention. Every suspension is a system whose parts must work harmoniously with all the rest.

Focusing too much on targeted upgrades will leave a vehicle with a suspension full of weaknesses. It will always be better to think systematically in the first place.

4. Spending Too Little on Shocks

Even given the fact that suspensions are systems, certain parts are more important than others. The shocks that actually absorb everything from minor vibrations and bumps to huge jolts, for instance, need to be of very high quality.

Purchasing inexpensive shocks can seem like a good way to save money. As professional racers know, though, no other suspension component benefits as much from investment.

5. Overlooking Airbags

Surprisingly few vehicles set up for off-road excellence feature suspension-mounted airbags. These affordable additions keep spring rates up even when a vehicle is loaded down. That will improve performance and ride quality, often to a surprising degree.

6. Adding Too Much Lift

Clearance is often king when off road, but it always comes at a price. A vehicle that gets lifted overly high for how it is actually driven will be hard to handle and otherwise unpleasant to drive.

7. Forgetting to Upgrade Bump Stops

Humble little bump stops often get overlooked when suspensions are being upgraded. No other part is as affordable, and a higher quality bump stop can smooth out a suspension’s rough edges.

8. Failing to Torque as Indicated

Just about every part included in the average suspension kit or upgrade plan will be designed to be torqued to a certain level. Despite that, some drivers carry out upgrades without even having torque wrenches on hand. Always torque fasteners and parts as instructed, to avoid future problems.

Be aware of these eight common mistakes, and you will become less likely to make them when upgrading your vehicle’s suspension. That will make a successful, rewarding upgrade even more likely.