How to ensure equal ride height?

For those that are new to coilovers, an obvious question you may ask yourself is ”how do I make sure my ride height is set even?“ While there is no real science to it, there are some things to take into consideration and to keep in mind when adjusting the coilovers once installed. Let’s go over a few things that will help you get set-up and back on the road.

Where do you start?

We often get asked where do I even start once the coilovers are on. We have seen in many ways, but the two most popular starting points would be to start with the spring half way up the shock body or start with the spring at the bottom of the adjustment. Once you set the vehicle on the ground you can then get an idea if you need to go up or down based on where you start the spring height at. For something getting a decent drop we typically opt for starting at the lower portion of the shock as that often leads to less adjusting after we’ve set it on the ground.

Get out the measuring tape.

As mentioned, getting ride height set isn’t rocket science. You’ll simply be using a measuring tape to dial it in. This will ensure you can get a good starting point side to side. In this step we typically recommend measuring the exposed threads left on the coilover rather than your wheel gap or distance between fender and ground. This has proven to give a better starting point for us personally. Match up both fronts to the same adjustment and then match up both rears to the same adjustment. The front and rear often will not match each other.

Set it on the ground.

Once you have measured your starting point set the vehicle on the ground. Roll the car back and forth to ensure the springs and shocks settle. From there you can get an idea if you need to go up or down from your initial setting. Make note for each corner.

Raise it back up.

We have been doing this for years and I could probably count on one hand how many times we nail ride height on the first try. We’re often very close but typically need to do minor adjusting after the initial setting to get it perfect. This means you may have to adjust the collars a few times before it is dialed exactly where you want it. Using the notes made when the vehicle was on the ground, make the appropriate adjustments and set it down on the ground again. Repeat this as many times as needed until ride height is achieved.

Important points to remember.

While the steps to setup ride height aren’t too difficult there are some things to keep in mind. Let’s go over those things…

  1. As mentioned before, your position of the spring on the shock will rarely match both front and rear. They almost always will be adjusted to different settings.
  2. Even after you have measured thread below the collars to match side to side, you often have to raise one side more than the other. Each vehicle is different and isn’t always weighted a perfect 50-50 from side to side so it is normal to have to adjust one side a slight bit higher than the other to achieve equal visual ride height.
  3. This is the time to make sure threads are coated with anti-seize. All components exposed to the elements take a beating. Don’t skip this step as you may be trying to adjust in the future to then find your collars are locked tight against the shock.
  4. If you’re looking to measure gap when the vehicle is on the ground, don’t measure from ground to fender. There are other variables that play part in making that gap more or less than it seems. Go from center of hub or top of rim to fender for more accuracy.

So, not too difficult. If you need more help on the technique to adjusting the coilovers check out our blog post and video on that here. If you have other questions not covered here, feel free to give us a call and one our technicians would be happy to walk you through the process, 801-365-1440.

13 thoughts on “How to ensure equal ride height?

  1. Kaden Enoch says:

    I have a 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 and my rear springs are adjusted to the same height but my left is higher than my right. Any suggestions?

    • Cody Graham says:

      It is normal to have a small difference from side to side due to the fact that the weight isn’t equal from side to side. You may need to adjust them independently to even them out. Give us a call if you have any other questions!

      • Andrew Hendrick says:

        When you say slightly different from side to side, how much is slightly versus excessive?

        On mine I have to raise the base plate almost an inch higher on the passenger side than the driver side. Is that way too much of a difference from side to side? Would that affect the spring rate? Could the possible cause of this be a bad coil spring?

        I have my car leveled sitting at ride height with all race weight in the car. So I set my shocks to the recommended ride height on each side (rear coil overs) so I have 40% compression and 60% rebound, this is a drag car, and I notice the body sits lower on the passenger side. So as I spin up the baseplate on the passenger side to level the car out it’s now an inch higher than the driver side.

        Also I have triple checked my chassis that it is square and level in the body and all is correct.

        Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Cody Graham says:

      If you’re coilover kit is a partially threaded kit, yes, it will be close to 1:1. Let us know if you have any other questions!

    • Cody Graham says:

      For partially threaded coilovers, yes but only if you’re not going to replace the upper strut mounts. If they are still on good condition, then you’ll still need them.

  2. Bryan says:

    I can get three of the four wells pretty much even, a hair off from each other. However, the rear driver side won’t, it’s about a quarter inch difference and I can’t get it closer. Every time I adjust one all the others are thrown off.

    • Cody Graham says:

      We’re sorry for the trouble! Give us a call when you have a moment and we’ll run through some trouble shooting with you. Our number is 801.365.1440.

  3. Lee Carver says:

    Hi: I have installed adjustable coil over shocks (front and rear) having a hard time getting
    front evenly adjusted from left to right side? (rear is no problem) How close should I be?
    right now left front is 3/8″ lower than right when measured from center of fender to ground

    • Cody Graham says:

      You may just need to give the adjusting collars a turn to get it where you need it on the one side. Give us a call if you have any other questions!

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