We’ve heard and noticed too many accidents lately. And with the upcoming Raya celebrations, our highways will have more cars than people in Kuala Lumpur. So we’ve compiled a brief list of things you can do to improve your car’s handling which could possibly save your life!
Possibly the most easily found aftermarket accessory out there. These strut bars may just seem like metal rods that are bolted on to hold different parts of your car together, but it actually tightens and holds together parts of the chassis that flexes when you’re going around the bend.
The different strut bars for different areas in a car.
Rather than feeling wobbly, adding these strut bars on actually makes the car feel stiffer and tighter. Downside is perhaps adding a little weight – as some of these strut bars actually weigh a few kilos each.
Polyurethane (PU) Bushings
LEFT: Rubber bushing RIGHT: PU bushing
This upgrade is actually very effective but often overlooked by most motorists. The bushings in most car components like the ball joints and lower arms etc. are usually made of rubber and in the long run like the rubber sole on your shoes, they wear out or harden up, get crispy and just break off.
TOP: Rubber bushing BOTTOM: PU bushing
These Polyurethane bushings are much more durable and stiff hence resulting in less "play" or movement in the chassis components, providing an inexpensive way to improve handling and possibly even the ride of your car. The next time your mechanic says that the rubber bushings on your car need replacing, ask them about these PU bushes!
Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, once said “Simplify, then add lightness”. Although that may refer more to power and performance, what most people don’t realise is that making your car lighter actually improves the handling of your car. Less weight means less wear on your tires and brake pads too!
Now we don’t mean throwing out the spare tire or removing the rear seats, although some people actually do that. Components made of Carbon fiber, magnesium and titanium are all lightweight and helps reduce your vehicles weight (although these parts are friggin’ expensive!).
Bigger Rims/Better Tires
Bigger is not always better.
Even for wheels, size isn’t everything. It’s recommended that we only move up by only ONE inch. Say if the standard Perodua Myvi rim is 14-inches, we should only change up to 15-inch at most. Anything more than that and you’re almost guaranteed to notice a huge change in fuel consumption. Bigger rims can also make your speedometer inaccurate – which we will explain in the coming weeks.
A simple upgrade like this, which almost everyone does upon buying a new car drastically improves stability and controllability at high speeds as the added weight makes the car feel less nervous and more planted on the road.
Got grip, bro?
As for better tires, we don’t have to tell you why you need better tires – stickier rubber equals better grip equals improved handling. Rubber protection is just as important on the road too you know!
A typical set of coilovers for each corner of the car.
A set of sports absorbers or coilovers are possibly the most effective method to significantly improve your car’s handling. Although they may also be the most expensive method, depending where and what you buy, this upgrade not only keeps your car stable at high speeds, nimble through the corners, it could even save you and your family’s life when you have to emergency brake or switch lanes suddenly to avoid a car or object.
TOP: Before BOTTOM: After
Apart from looking good with a lowered ride height, it lowers the car's center of gravity as well hence increases stability. We recommend getting a set from established workshops – there’s no such thing as cheap and good suspension upgrades, in our opinion.
It's the most common must-have car accessory in Malaysia. Most of us add a spoiler or a “wing” to make our car look good, to use as a table or a clothes hanger. Although a spoiler or “wing” (the properly engineered ones, not the ones you get from your neighbourhood accessory shop) does actually add downforce and improves traction, most of us wouldn’t or can’t go fast enough to utilise it. Next!
Tire Pressure / Wheel Alignment
Surprised right? This is actually and possibly the cheapest way to improve your car’s handling. Most of us think that wheel alignments and balancing is just something workshops do when we change a new set of tires but that’s NOT the case.
By adjusting the camber, toe angle and caster of your wheels (something we will explain in the future as well), it improves the contact points of your wheels and tires on the road, which ultimately improves the stability of your car whether it’s in a straight line or going through a bend!
Avoid driving with so little air!
Don’t neglect tire pressure as well. We only pump our tires up when they appear flat – but tires with little air actually makes the car wobble like tau fu fa when we are cornering so keeping your tires inflated which helps improve cornering stability and fuel consumption!
Too little air wears the tires out unevenly and or even swerve when you corner to hard but too much and your ride will feel stiff. So consult your tire shop and pump accordingly!
This can be considered a motorsport-level of improving your car’s handling. Essentially, certain metal components on the body or chassis of the car are welded together to improve the rigidity of the chassis. Too extreme, too much compromise – don’t bother with it.
Find out all you need to know about the new Vehicle Ownership Certificate (VOC)!
Or read about the Six Reasons Why You Need The New Volkwagen Vento!
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