How to Lower a Car

Five Methods:For Leaf SpringsFor Coil SpringsReplace SpringsHydraulic CylindersLower the Torsion Bar

There are several methods to use when lowering a car. Whether you prefer the sporty look of a slightly lower stance, or a more dramatic drop in height, learning how to lower a car is a straight-forward process which requires manipulating the vehicle's suspension. We'll show you what it's all about.

Method 1
For Leaf Springs

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    Alter your vehicle's leaf springs. Leaf springs consists of thin strips of spring steel banded and bolted together.
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    Remove the leaf springs from the rear suspension of the vehicle. Take them to a spring shop and have them de-arched, or use a reverse shackle.
    • Another option is reversing the set up by placing the axle on top of the leaf spring, which is called a flip kit. This can be done by a home mechanic with common hand tools.
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    • To get even greater or increased drop, couple the flip kit with lowering blocks. These are available online or from your local auto parts store. They come in differing heights and will enable the vehicle to drop extremely low. They can be installed by a home mechanic. Depending on how low you go, you may have to install a C-notch above your real axle. The purpose of the notch is to give you a greater clearance between your frame and axle.
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Method 2
For Coil Springs

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    Manipulate your car's coil springs. Coil springs can be found on a car's front and/or back suspension, and are attached onto the A-frame or the axles.
    • You can remove the stock coil springs and replace them with shorter springs, or take your springs to a spring shop and have the coils softened and shortened.
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    You can also cut the coils yourself.
    • Use a grinder, cutting wheel, or torch to cut them.
    • Start with cutting in quarter- or half-coil-turn increments, because cutting a coil is a permanent action. You may have to install shorter bump stops or cut your stock ones to fit.
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Method 3
Replace Springs

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    Replace the springs and shocks. Trade them out for adjustable airbag units available at a local auto supply store or from an online auto parts seller.
    • In addition to installing the airbags to replace the springs, this method of lowering your car also requires installation of air lines, an air compressor, air reservoir tank and system activation switch.
    • This process can be done at home.

    • If you have rear leaf springs, you will need to get rid of them and replace them with a 4 link setup. This process usually needs a professional fabricator.
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Method 4
Hydraulic Cylinders

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    Replacing your car's springs with hydraulic cylinders. Hydraulics can be installed on 1, 2, 3 or all 4 suspension corners of your car.
    • Installing a hydraulic system also requires installing an internal control system, hydraulic pumps and batteries to operate the pumps.
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    • One drawback to this method of lowering your vehicle is the large amount of battery power required to operate each hydraulic pump in the system.
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Method 5
Lower the Torsion Bar

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    Adjust your car's torsion bars down using the torsion bar key.
    • This will sag your vehicle so it is lower to the ground.
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    • Torsion bars come factory equipped on vehicles and consists of a spring steel bar that's used in place of a coil or leaf spring. The torsion bar key is part of the torsion bar, which allows the vehicle ride height to be adjusted at the factory when the vehicle is built and as needed afterward.
    • It's easily adjusted with a small hand wrench at home.


  • If using the flip kit method, make sure to buy a flip kit that compensates for the pinion angle change when lowering your vehicle.
  • An advantage to installing the airbag system is that the vehicle can be raised and lowered while moving or sitting still. This enables the vehicle to appear almost sitting on the ground while still being able to be raised to clear speed bumps and other obstacles that could potentially damage the undercarriage.


  • In some locations, it may be illegal to adjust the stance of your vehicle while in motion.
  • Make sure to look, observe, and move any line or electrical wires that may get crushed when your lowered ride hits a gnarly bump.
  • If you don't have a basic understanding on how suspension works, do not lower a vehicle yourself.
  • Changing suspension elements may void some vehicle warranties. If in doubt, check with your dealership, insurance agent or finance company before proceeding.
  • Lowering a vehicle exposes it to road hazards which unaltered vehicles are typically positioned high enough to avoid.
  • After lowering your vehicle many factors change and if you don't compensate for the changes, parts will break. Ex- if you don't compensate for pinion angle, then you will go through universal joints like no other.
  • Replacing your springs with an airbag system requires a lot of fabrication, from removing the existing springs to plumbing the new air system and its components. Air bags also provide a rougher ride.

Article Info

Categories: Car Maintenance and Repair