How to Make a Car Handle

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Improving a car's handling is one of the best ways to not only make it more fun to drive, but to make it safer as well. A car that handles well is easier to control when driving aggressively. Improving your car's handling is a relatively straightforward process, though suspension work can be quite time consuming and physically difficult.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Full set of tools
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Upgrade to new performance tires. Tires made from a softer compound will greatly increase grip and predictability, allowing the vehicle to be driven around corners faster.

  • Install lighter, stronger wheels, particularly if your car has steel wheels, to better alloy wheels is the next step after upgrading tires. Wider and lighter alloys will make your car feel more nimble. Don't get wheels that are too large, however. When it comes to wheels, bigger is not always better. It's usually recommended to increase the wheel size by 1 or 2 inches in diameter and width.

  • Install high-performance shocks to reduce body roll and excess movement from the chassis, making your car more predictable during aggressive cornering. There are many good shock brands, including Koni, Bilstein and Spax (see "References").

  • Install lower, stiffer springs to stiffen up the chassis, lower the center of gravity and improve chassis response. Just don't go too stiff if the car is driven in bumpy conditions or as a daily driver, since you may ruin its usability. In stock form, most cars have relatively light springs so that the ride remains comfortable. This often compromises the handling and chassis control.

  • Replace the stock anti-roll bars with larger bars. Most stock vehicles have relatively small anti-roll bars, so upgrading to larger bars will greatly reduce body roll and make the car more controllable. Match the sway bars properly so that the vehicle remains neutral during cornering. Consult the company you are buying your bars from to determine the proper sizes for your car and needs.

  • Replace the stock rubber bushings with harder urethane bushings. During aggressive cornering, rubber bushings move around and compress excessively, reducing the precision of the suspension. Installing harder bushings eliminates this excess movement, making your car feel much more tight.

  • Brace the shock towers with chassis braces. These are bars that bolt in between the shock towers, reducing chassis flex and making your car more precise.

  • Get a performance alignment to improve the vehicle's handling. All the performance parts in the world won't make your car handle better if the alignment is not right. Have a good shop that understands performance align your vehicle with the proper camber, caster and toe settings.

References

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