Upgrading your car's suspension will improve its performance massively and its ability to handle the extra power engine tuning has given. Get it right and you will get the same kind of gains as you would spend three times as much on power tuning. Plus, as an added bonus, your car's lower stance will improve its looks vastly too (though going too low on Indian roads can harm your cars underbelly!). There are many types of suspension available, which you choose will ultimately depend on budget. But before you do, read this guide on the effect each type will have.
An up-rated spring kit is the cheapest way to lower your car. They can improve handling by reducing the chassis centre of gravity, and yaw when cornering. However, stiffer up-rated springs can overpower a set of old dampers. If your dampers are worn out, handling could be destroyed - this would show itself through excessive bounce. Springs with a progressive wind offer a smooth ride over rough surfaces, whilst also being able to cope with big hits and extreme cornering.
Lighter cars don't generally benefit from a performance disc/pad and caliper kit. Hot hatches can benefit from a set of oversized discs, race spec pads and up-rated calipers. But the cost involved will only pay dividends if the car is highly tuned or regularly driven on track-days. Modified turbo cars can always benefit from a race-spec kit. The oversized discs increase the pad contact area and also the leverage forces. Both increase the set-ups ability to generate more friction and therefore allowing the car to brake more effectively. The race spec pads are extremely abrasive and cope with very high temperatures - but will wear quickly and may squeal. The calipers will have multiple pistons to increase pad contact pressure. The kit may seem expensive, but you will be amazed at the increase in braking ability.
Spring and Damper Kits
Matched spring and damper kits can be more expensive, but they offer a massive improvement in handling over standard set-ups and non-matched parts. The springs and dampers in matched kits are developed to work in harmony - maximizing handling and comfort. Their ride will be firmer, the chassis will roll less and changes in direction will be dealt with more quickly. Top quality kits will feature: adjustable damping to tune the ride to your liking; progressively wound springs, for an improved ride.
Coilover kits are the ultimate suspension system and are the only option when getting radical with a project car. Handling and comfort are maximized in development and are the only kit to have for the serious tuner. They use narrow coil-springs that sit on a threaded platform which can be wound up or down the body to alter ride height. The narrow springs offer more room right where it is needed, allowing large wide alloy wheels to be fitted. Kits can be purchased with or without adjustable damping.
Strut braces tie suspension mounting points together, reducing flex in this area of the chassis. Without a brace, a chassis will flex under hard cornering - altering suspension geometry and the way your car drives. If you've invested money on up-rated suspension, a strut brace would be a top secondary purchase - ensuring the suspension is working to its full capacity.
Polyurethane bushes are less flexible and therefore hold their form much better than a car's standard rubber suspension bushes. The standard mounts do their job adequately, but tend to be soft, and often in poor condition. If you've already invested in a quality suspension kit, spend the little extra to ensure maximum performance. You'll notice the difference.
When your car is tuned to run fast it needs special brake upgrade to make it stop fast too. The more heat your brakes can cope with the better their ability to perform. Up-rated brakes can handled more heat than standard set-ups - ideal if you enjoy hard, fast runs or have a boot full of heavy In Car Entertainment. What package is ideal for you depend on the car you drive and how you drive it? The information below should give you a good idea what to look for, but always check with your qualified tuner.
Pads use various friction-compounds. Some use more abrasive than other to obtain higher friction, others are made with more lubricants to prevent squeal. Small, light cars don't require a pad that can cope with high temperatures, as it is unlikely you will generate enough heat to get them working properly. The best option is a low temperature highly abrasive pad. Hot hatches encounter a wide range of conditions, so require a medium temperature pad that bites from cold, but also handles the odd high-speed session. Highly tuned and turbo cars require a pad that can cope with a massive heat build up generated from frequent high-speed stopping. A set of high temperature pads will not offer bite when cold - but once warmed up they'll work superbly, and won't expose you the dreaded 'brake fade'.
Found on high performance cars discs can be drilled for improved water and heat dispersion, grooved to disperse waste pad material and dimpled to prevent pad lift due to gas build-up. The best quality discs combine all these attributes.
Small, light cars do not require extra cooling of the disc, so a grooved disc is ideal - keeping the pad's surface square and clear of any glaze build-up.
Hot hatches still don't generate enough heat to require extra cooling, so a set of grooved discs to help generate heat quickly and remove any glaze will be ideal, should the pads over-heat.
Highly tuned and turbo cars will benefit from a set of drilled and grooved discs. These will keep the pad's surface square and clear of glaze, whilst also giving water, gas and heat a good escape route for maximum pad efficiency.