Suspension Overview: Air Spring vs. Coilovers vs. Lowering Spring


The suspension system of a vehicle is a dispensable system in any car. However, many people often neglect it. Typically, the suspension system is made up of many components that allow it to function well. Actually, there are many suspension options available, such as coilovers, leaf springs, lowering springs or others. Or many drivers choose the air spring from Though they are not the same, they have the same purpose.

The core purpose of suspension springs (coilovers, lowering spring, air spring)

Well, the goal of any suspension system is to achieve the perfect balance between comfort, control, and contact.

  1. Comfort eliminates bumps and vibration, providing a smooth ride.
  2. Then, for safe acceleration, effective braking, and stable cornering, weight transfer is minimized by the ability of control.
  3. In addition, to maintain maximum traction, contact means the tires touching the road surface.

Suspensions: control, contact, or comfort? 

However, whether it’s with an air spring or lowering spring, maintaining a balance among comfort, contact, and control is difficult. For example, more comfort may result in less control, and vice versa. Well, comfort is the main focus of a factory suspension system.

However, a more performance-oriented suspension usually offers less comfort. At the same time, it will still offer a lot of potential for improvement in terms of contact and control. Actually, most vehicle enthusiasts want to improve these two aspects.

There are many methods to gain control and contact. And the easiest way to do this is to lower your car. If you use a shorter spring, it will lower the car’s center of gravity and all other aspects. As a result, it increases handling while decreasing body roll. Besides, it looks super cool.

Enhanced contact and control: lowering spring, coilovers, and air spring

The most popular ways to improve contact and control the car by lowering it are using coilovers, lowering springs, or an air spring. This overview will cover the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Lowering spring

In aftermarket suspension modifications, lowering spring and air spring as well as coilovers are the top 3 options. Though lowering springs tend to be the cheapest option, it will work with all of your stock parts. Yet, you need to take these factors into consideration.

2 Things to consider

It is vital to find out how much the springs drop. While we all want our cars to look great, too much of a drop can lead to many problems. Actually, too low height can cause poor alignment and ill-handling. Worse still, you will suffer from scraping on the ground or rubbing tires. Then, you will experience premature damper fail and many other problems. The proper lowering level will be about 1 inch to 1.5 inches. That is a good amount for most cars and can be used with the stock tire and wheel size and the stock dampers.

In addition, the spring rate is another thing to be aware of, whether it’s lowering spring or air spring. When it comes to lowering spring, the spring rate is a key factor. Actually, it determines how stiff the spring is. And this will affect the body roll and control. But this can come at the cost of comfort. While this might be suitable for a smooth track, if you drive every day, you will soon discover the imperfections of the road.


Coilover is the type of suspension that features “coil over strut”. It can lower your car. Also, it has many advantages, adjustability for instance.

Benefits of coilovers

Similar to air spring, a coilover’s greatest benefit is the ability to adjust your ride height. Basically, instead of using the original springs, you replace them with a spring over a strut. And this strut rides on a locking collar attached to a sleeve. Some units allow you to adjust the preload of the spring independently from the ride height. Also, some have adjustable dampening, which allows for racing without compromising comfort while commuting.

Actually, it’s easy to adjust the stiffness of your shock absorber with good coilovers. To set the damper in race mode, simply turn the knob clockwise on it when you arrive at the track.

Air spring 

high-quality air suspension spring

Air spring suspension looks gorgeous and can be unbelievably flexible. However, air solution is the most costly type among the three.

How does an air spring works?

The air spring suspension replaces regular spring and struts combos with an air spring or airbag. And the airbag uses compressed air to inflate and deflate to adjust the ride height. With air lines, they link each airbag to an air tank. Also, they connect the air compressor with the air tank. And the pressure can be controlled by valves between each air spring and the tank. Normally, the adjustability airbags can offer surpasses a coilover, as it allows for instant adjustment.

The downsides of the air springs

Air spring suspension tends to be expensive initially. Also, it can be pretty complicated. Also, airbag suspension systems are more costly and complex to maintain than traditional ones. Besides, an air spring can also be susceptible to air leaks, which may end up in serious trouble.

Coilovers, lowering spring or air spring modification: things to remember

You can have your car’s suspension properly set up. Do it with either a lowering spring or an air spring. Coilovers are a good option as well.

Modifications using the air spring or the other two can make your car more enjoyable to drive. Yet, you should always align your car after making suspension adjustments. Because the modification will affect the alignment. You need a proper alignment to prevent uneven tire wear and poor handling.

Also, remember that lowering your car too much can lead to a bad thing when it comes time to adjust the ride height. For example, it can lead to a host of problems if you lower it too much. Scraping the ground is a common one. This is dangerous as you can not handle it or brake while driving.


These three suspension systems manage to maintain the balance among the three factors: comfort, control, and contact. I personally will choose air spring though it could be the most pricey one among the three. But it offers a smooth and comfortable ride. Which suspension will you choose?


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