Vehicle Ground Clearance: Potholes and oversize speed bumps are common characteristics of Kenyan roads. Most of us buy affordable and economical cars; seeking some practicality in them, however the foreign used cars we import from developed countries are not directly compatible with our roads.
These cars suffer from a relatively low ground clearance and come with “soft” coil springs designed for on road comfort. Its all rosy until when you haul three adults in the back or some heavy cargo in your boot. Going over bumps, potholes and even going to ” Shags” becomes a nightmare.
There are however some ways in which you can increase your car’s ground clearance.
The first one is installing spacers to improve the vehicle’s ride height. This however is a very controversial way and does not seem to go well with most insurance companies. It might be cheap and convenient since installing them and removing them is easy and cheap, but if you must use spacers on your car, I would recommend you take your car for insurance valuation with the spacers already installed so that their use can be noted in the valuation report.
The other is fitting bigger tires which are within the manufacturer’s recommended tire sizes. Fitting tires with a larger tire profile may also help. This is however not very helpful. The softness of the springs means that despite the larger tires, the car will sag when subjected to weight. It means that the tires might end up touching the body beneath the wheel arcs and also get the belly of your car scratched when going over bumps. In addition to that, this way of increasing ground clearance is expensive and not very productive.
The most efficient way is installing a set of coil springs that are slightly longer and with a little more tension as compared to the stock ones; however the choice of springs is something that requires an expert to advise on. Springs that are too stiff will make your ride very uncomfortable and might even result to damaged shock mounts. You need tension that is only slightly stiffer than stock. Secondly they do not have to be too long otherwise they will compromise on the stability and looks of your car.
The installation also has to be done by a professional. A shoddy job can lead to very annoying noises while steering and squeaking sounds from the rear. It can also lead to uneven clearance and very poor handling.
If you have any questions with regard to improving your vehicle’s ground clearance, you can drop the questions on my Facebook Page.