If you ever read my blog, you may know by now, I’m not a big fan of people (most cases young drivers) lowering their cars, for many obvious reasons. One of them is as a picture shows, if you ever have a head on collision the X5, or with any other similar height SUV due to its ride height (and extra weight on top) will plow over the hood of the lowered 328i and may decapitate both the driver and the passenger at the front.
Lowered 3 Series BMW
This became a major concern of mine since my daughter started dating a young gentlemen whom has the “cool” lowered 3 series which she rides in occasionally. So I am as a father, concerned about her well-being. I have expressed my opinion about the subject to both of them and got them thinking about the possible consequences if their luck runs out.
This is for all the parents to know what is this new fashion can or capable to to their loved ones if their lowered car gets hit by some inadvertently. Therefore all you parents with teenage kids please let them know the consequences of dropping their car to the ground is might be cool, but it is dangerous, since it will perhaps kill or cripple them, if they get into an accident, and that is a unacceptable price to pay for any fashion item.
I have one more thing to say; Before you spend your hard earned money on lowering your vehicles suspension system, be a BMW or not, you should make sure it complies with the regulations. There are major changes to the Ontario safety regulations.
Lowering your BMW and or any car, should you or shouldn’t you?
Before you spend your money lowering your vehicle suspension system, you should make sure, the change is compliant with your, country, province, or state’s, the Motor Vehicle Act.
You should know that: In Ontario any modification in vehicle height of more than 10 cm (lower or higher) requires the inspection of the vehicle at an approved designated inspection facility to ensure that the modifications meet safety standards.
Modifying your car to a lower stance, will make your vehicle sit closer to the road. It might improve handling, speed and control, but only when done properly. Some car owner lowering their car for cosmetic reason.
What ever your reason is to lowering your car, it is fact a lowered car often create rougher ride. However there are car owners that don’t mind because they value aesthetics over the ride.
There are a lot of different kind of lowering kit are on the market, however any kind of after market suspension lowering kit, and / or suspension system alteration has its own specific effects on a vehicle.
There are pros and cons to lowered suspension systems.
The Pro’s: Lower center of gravity, to improve the cornering ability of the vehicle. With a lowered suspension, less air going underneath the vehicle, and this can create a better outcome for wind drag on a car. It’s done on race cars to improve the cornering ability, to gain speed or keep high speed during cornering..
Lowered suspension also increases camber which will furthermore increase the angle to fight the tire distortion in extreme cornering. It will ultimately cause excessive and extreme tire wear (sometimes less than five thousand kilometers driving).
When the center of gravity is lower, the rollover risk is lower too. The higher the car sits, easier it rolls over.
Take a look at the next photos and you will see, the tires are fairly new, but they have a lot of damage, wear inside and cracks, do to incorrect suspension geometry, and weight delivery.
The con’s: Stiff uncomfortable ride. Excessive suspension component wear on joints and shafts and unpredictable handling in rough road conditions including bumps and potholes, could cause body damage to suspension mounting points on the chassis. Contact with the ground can cause seriously damaged. The oil pan and exhaust system are particularly vulnerable.
More con’s; The normal ride height is optimized by the suspension engineers to give you proper comfortable ride, great cornering and optimal tire wear. Furthermore joints and axles are optimized for the original ride height to provide proper suspension travel and suspension and tire wear for the rest of the life of your vehicle.
Shocks and springs are matched to work together regardless of type of the vehicle and for the best ride quality possible considering weight and type of the vehicle.
Low suspensions can get caught up in anti-lock brake apparatus, sway bars, or even with the sidewalls of the tires. An incorrectly set up suspension can actually chew on tires, causing some serious potential risks.
Please keep in mind there is a reaction to every action and suspension geometry is engineered not guessed by the manufacturers by people whom do this for a living with years of experience and knowledge in the field. So when you modify your car beware of the consequences.