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Lower Your Ride’s Suspension With NAPA

Lower Your Ride’s Suspension With NAPA

Cruise the Strip in Your Modified Lowrider

A lowrider drives a little slower. A lowrider knows every street. Take a little trip and see. The dreamy, highly stylized, cultural marvel that is lowrider vehicles hit the streets of Southern California in the late-1950s. While lowrider culture is seen on American freeways from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, including along Route 66, this custom auto scene has also traveled around the world, from European drivers who drop Volkswagens and BMWs to Japanese Mooneyes with their heavy-metal scrapers and bulging tires.

The lowered car culture combines the elongated look of Detroit’s chrome coupes with the Chicano community’s bright creativity. The Chevrolet Impala emerged in 1958 and featured an X-shaped frame that was perfectly suited for lowering car suspensions and modifying with hydraulics. Customized vehicles with lowered car alignment are not just engineering feats, but also pieces of unique art. Low suspension cars often roll down the city strip on wire-spoke wheels with whitewall tires. The bodies of the most advanced lowriders can be raised, lowered, bounced and slammed with the touch of a button.

How Low Can You Go?

You’re revving to go on the customization of your prized street racer or cruiser, like the supercharged 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, but first you’ve got to get low. The primary consideration is how much to lower a car. As a lowrider enthusiast, you know a lowered body:

  • Decreases undercarriage drag
  • Drops the center of gravity for better gas mileage
  • Improves acceleration squat and stopping action
  • Advances cornering capability with less body roll

To understand how to lower a car, you must first grasp the mechanics of a standard sedan or pickup. The foundation is the chassis, which is elevated off the axles and kept level by your suspension system. The suspension system supports the vehicle’s weight, absorbs bounce from bumps and dips to maintain a smooth ride, and provides a pivot point for the wheels to turn corners without losing grip on the road. Most vehicles are equipped with easy-to-maintain steel springs and shocks, utilizing either the coil spring or torsion bar system for front suspensions.

In a MacPherson Strut System, the shock absorber, coil spring plates, coil spring and upper steering axis pivot bearing are combined into the strut assembly for front-wheel-drive vehicles. The shock absorber dampens vibrations, while the coil spring controls bounce and ride height. Most modern rear-wheel-drive vehicles use leaf springs. For more expertise on coil springs, including independent suspensions, check out Suspension System Types: An Undercar Overview

Before you tackle how to lower car suspension, it is important to determine the best method for your exact lowrider. Do you want a permanent modification by installing car lowering springs? Some lowrider owners prefer high-end air suspension springs engineered with a chamber of air and a series of solenoid controls (comparable to traditional shocks) that manages the movement of air. Consider introducing hydraulics into the equation, which can raise and lower a vehicle with the touch of a button. In this type of setup, the aftermarket shock is comprised of a piston, tube and hydraulic fluid or gas. 

Take a Little Shopping Trip With NAPAonlineBelltech Drop Spindles

The lowrider lifestyle is not cheap. In fact, it is often a flashy way to show off status in the community. Still, it is important to estimate how much it costs to lower a car before you make a commitment. A professional lowering kit can cost more than $2,000, while individual components and basic sets of lowering springs can deliver a secure, smooth, sunken application for less than $200. carries a vast selection of parts for DIY height upgrades (and downgrades). Take advantage of Free One-Day Shipping on 160,000+ items! 

The NAPA Network sells performance suspensions under the aftermarket NAPA Accessories line. Although much of this online selection is lift and leveling kits for off-road vehicles and heavy-duty trucks, there are many car lowering kits available to help you achieve that lowrider look and feel. From struts and springs to drop spindles, NAPA carries the parts you need from name brands like Belltech, Eibach, BBK and Ground Force. If you want to improve performance while taking the look of your vehicle to a whole new level, a lowering kit is a great option. The NAPA experts recommend the Ground Force Suspension Drop Coil Kit. Hot wound and finished with an anti-corrosion coating, these drop coils are engineered to exactly fit your make and model. Additionally, this kit is protected with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

You can correct your nose dive and gain a 1.5-inch drop from a set of four chrome vanadium steel TEIN S.TECH Lowering Springs. If you are specifically modifying a lowered truck or SUV, consider the Belltech Lowering & Lifting Strut. This outstanding product can lift or lower your vehicle by two inches. And, best of all, your new lowered stance is protected with a Lifetime Warranty. If you want the ultimate drop with maximum stability, our NAPA experts recommend the Belltech Drop Spindles made of ductile iron for added strength and durability. This pair of spindles provide up to a 3-inch drop, but are not applicable to all-wheel drive vehicles.  

For the entire package at an approachable price, go with the Belltech Lowering Kit made of thick steel slabs, ductile iron and spiral-wound springs. Pick either the Belltech Nitro Drop 2 Shocks or Belltech Street Performance Shocks. Each kit includes all the high-quality mounting hardware necessary for installation. The NAPA experts also recommend the comprehensive Eibach Pro Plus Kit, which includes state-of-the-art Anti-Roll Sway Bars and Pro-Plus Springs. The revolutionary sway bars generate improved control with equilibrium, just the right rigidity and out-of-this-world responsiveness.

Be warned, you may void your vehicle’s warranty if you lower a truck, SUV or sedan. A vehicle that’s older, with an expired warranty, is a good candidate for modifications. And, keep in mind, any replacement of springs, shocks or struts (even with a drill-free, bolt-on application) requires a wheel alignment service to ensure your tires wear evenly and deliver the best control. If you are not confident in installing a lowering kit and balancing your vehicle, schedule an appointment with a local NAPA Auto Care center near you. Our ASE-certified technicians are here to provide expert service to give you peace of mind and an outstanding ride.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.

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