LAST UPDATED: February 10, 2020
Best Suspensions: Enhance Your Driving Experience
These top suspension systems will keep you driving safely.
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON February 10, 2020
Vehicles typically have a front and back suspension system, as all four wheels are connected differently. One of the most popular and high-performing front options is a coil spring suspension system. Purchasing a high-quality suspension system provides greater driving comfort and an enhanced driving experience for the driver and the passengers. We’ve searched for suspension systems for cars and trucks and compiled a list of the top options based on overall performance, price, customer feedback, and durability.
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Benefits of Suspension
- Improved handling. One of the main purposes of your suspension is to make the ride a little smoother. You want a comfortable ride when you’re driving down the road, no matter what type of surface.
- Shocks and vibrations absorbed. In the early days, drivers used cushions on their seats to absorb the impact of potholes and other road conditions. Fortunately, the best suspension brands help reduce this type of impact.
- Enhanced safety and performance. A suspension system ensures that the wheels stay in contact with the ground instead of going airborne when the vehicle hits certain bumps. This prevents the vehicle from rolling and flipping over.
Types of Suspension
This type of suspension is also called a solid axle or live axle. It uses one beam to connect the wheels. When one wheel moves or hits a bump, the wheel on the other side reacts in kind, which can affect ride quality. This type of suspension is cheap to manufacture but is beneficial to off-roaders because it provides a lot of wheel travel. It can also support heavy loads. Jeep Wranglers use rigid axles, for example.
An independent suspension is more common. Each wheel moves separately over the surface, so the other wheels don't feel the impact. The ride is smoother with this type of suspension, but the technology is a little more complex. It reduces wheel travel and load capacity and is also more expensive than a rigid axle. There are two types of independent suspensions: MacPherson struts and double-wishbone.
Based in Michigan, Detroit Axle has been producing OE re-manufactured and new aftermarket auto parts for over 30 years. The company manufactures shock absorbers, complete strut assemblies, suspension and chassis parts, and wheel hubs and bearings, among other things. One of its top suspensions is this 12-Piece Front Suspension Kit.
Moog was founded in 1919 and traces its roots back to brothers Alva and Hubert Prater Moog. The siblings bought the St. Louis branch of the Jenkins-Vulcan Spring Company, which designed automotive leaf springs for Ford Model T cars and trucks. One of its top products is this Moog Strut and Coil Spring Assembly.
TRW Aftermarket has been in the automotive business for more than 100 years. The company designed the first wooden wheels for the Ford Model T back in 1908. It has since developed power steering, electronically controlled anti-lock braking systems, and even remote keyless entry systems. Check out its Premium Suspension Stabilizer Bar Bushing Kit.
Based in Ontario, Calif., ECCPP (Epsilon Car Component & Parts Produce) was founded in 2000. The auto parts company manufactures a variety of components, including ignition coil-on-plugs, LED light bars, headlight bulbs, CV axles and the ECCPP Air Suspensions Shock Absorber.
- $100-$200: You can usually find decent-quality suspension components for around $100 or so. Many kits include control arms and ball joints as well as tie rods and sway bars. The best suspension for cars can cost a little more money if it's from a well-known and familiar manufacturer. Also, some kits with more parts are a little bit pricier.
- $200 and up: The overall cost of the suspension depends on a variety of factors, including the type of damage your vehicle has and the exact repair you need to perform. It can cost several hundred dollars to buy all the parts you need to do a complete suspension overhaul.
The main part of the suspension is the springs. They absorb the vertical energy generated by the wheels. The springs return the wheels to their normal height following vertical travel. Coil springs are used on the front and rear wheels of many cars and some trucks and SUVs, but they're not suitable for heavy-duty use.
Leaf springs are made with thin steel leaves that are curved. They bend and flex when the wheels travel over uneven surfaces, but they aren't as smooth as coil springs. They're common on heavy-duty trucks, SUVs, and rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Torsion bars twist to absorb vertical energy. They’re used on a variety of vehicles, usually on the front-end suspension.
Shocks and Struts
The shocks dictate ride quality. If your vehicle only had springs, the wheels would bounce up and down too much. Shocks, aka dampeners, control the shaking of the springs to provide a smoother ride. They also dissipate heat. Manufacturers try to design them so they don't get too hot, which can prevent them from absorbing energy. There are several types of shocks, including dual-tube shocks, monotube shocks, foam cell shocks, and coilover shocks.
Sway Bars and Strut Bars
How sturdy your vehicle's chassis is also determines ride quality. One way to make it more stable is to upgrade the suspension by installing anti-sway bars. They connect two wheels together. A strut bar is installed under the hood and is commonly used by racers and sportscar enthusiasts who want stiffer, more improved handling.
Some truck owners put suspension lift kits on their vehicles to raise their vehicles several inches. This allows for the installation of larger tires on the truck or Jeep. These kits tend to be on the pricey side, and they can void some warranties. They also don't provide as smooth a ride as vehicles without lifts. Body lift kits use spacers between the body and frame to lift the truck or SUV two to three inches.
- Vehicle Type. The best off-road suspension is not the same as the best suspension for cars. Suspension upgrades are designed with specific vehicles in mind. Make sure you choose a kit that's compatible with the year, make, and model of your vehicle. You need something different for the track than you would for off-roading.
- Style. Many off-roaders choose a particular suspension kit because of the way it looks. The best Jeep suspension, for example, may include special finishes that add a bit of flash to the wheel wells. And if you add off-road tires and aftermarket wheels, it looks even more impressive.
Best Suspensions Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This suspension kit features direct replacement air suspension struts for a variety of Mercedes-Benz GL and ML models. The struts reduce noise and vibrations and improve stability when you’re driving on bumpy roads or making turns. ECCPP's struts look very similar to Bilstein OE struts and are designed to resist rough and uneven pavement. They improve braking and steering and provide a more economical and safer driving experience. The shocks work as designed, and they fit perfectly on several Mercedes models.
One drawback is that the kit is more expensive than the others on this list. Also, it only fits limited vehicles, so if you don’t have a Mercedes-Benz, you’re out of luck. One user also complained that he received a faulty part; however, the company promptly sent a replacement kit.
This 10-piece front suspension kit includes two upper control arms, two lower ball joints, and two inner and outer tie rod end replacements. It fits certain Ford Explorer, Ford Ranger, Mercury Mountaineer, and Mazda vehicles. The kit is designed to reduce noise, increase stability, and make steering tighter and more stable. One of the best things about this kit is its value. It includes everything you need for the front end of your vehicle, and it's very easy to install. The parts feature an anti-rust treatment, and they're welded precisely for added strength and protection. The parts are designed to perform in extreme temperatures from -22 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit.
One problem with this kit is it only fits a select number of vehicles. There have also been complaints that only one control arm fits correctly, not both. In addition, the new hardware may be inferior to OEM hardware.
This 13-piece suspension kit from Detroit Axle includes the upper control arm, lower ball joints, inner and outer tie rods, sway bar links, and a four-groove pitman idler arm assembly. It's designed for Chevy Silverados, Escalades, Avalanches, Tahoes, and GMC Sierras and Yukons. The company provides a 10-year warranty. All of the suspension parts fit perfectly on compatible Chevy and GMC trucks. The kit lasts many miles after installation, and it's very high quality. The pre-pressed ball joints work really well, and each part is nearly identical to OEM parts. The price is also very reasonable for what you get.
However, the rubber covers and clamps appear a little cheap, and the tie rods may wear out in a short amount of time. In addition, the ball joints in the control arms don't have grease fittings.
The Rough Country 2.5" Lift Kit Suspension System is designed for 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJs and LJs. The kit has lifted front and rear factory-tuned coil springs to create a taller profile and enhance off-road performance and ground clearance. The N3 shock absorbers work well both on and off the road and have great dampening. The kit provides a smooth, OEM-like ride without any wobbling or vibrations, and users report that it's simple to install as long as you use a spring compressor (which you may be able to rent from a local auto store). Rough Country provides a lifetime replacement warranty and a three-year warranty for shocks and struts. Customer service is also very helpful and accommodating should you have any problems. Overall, it's a great budget upgrade if you want to tackle intermediate off-road trails.
However, you likely want to purchase a 1-inch transfer case drop kit for better performance. You may also need to purchase other components, such as front and back track bars, which can drive up the cost. The instructions are also a little lacking.
The Detroit Axle - New 16-Piece Front Suspension Kit is designed for the 2004-2008 Acura TSX and 2003-2007 Honda Accord sedans and coupes with 2.4-liter engines. The kit includes front upper and lower suspension control arms and ball joints, front and rear stabilizer sway bar end links, boots, and front inner and outer tie rod end links. This OE-quality aftermarket suspension kit is good quality, easy to install, and affordable. All the parts fit well as long as your vehicle is one of the compatible models. The parts come as described and perform as expected.
While the upper and lower arms are marked L and R for left and right, you must be careful to make sure which side you are installing the other parts on, particularly the sway bar end links. There have also been some complaints that the ball joints fail prematurely.
- Keep your shock absorbers in good condition, as these are designed to create a smooth ride when you go over a bump. Push on the corner of your car and see how many times it bounces. If this happens more than twice, your shock absorbers could be worn.
- If you hear rattling as you drive, your strut mounts could be damaged. Alternatively, another sign that they’re damaged is when part of your car begins to sag as they lose their tension.
- If you’re not comfortable testing your car’s suspension system from home, we encourage you to get your car serviced once a year. This way, an expert can analyze your car’s suspension system and ensure it’s in tip-top condition.
Q: What’s a common sign your suspension system needs replacing?
You might feel your vehicle drifts or pulls while driving. This motion indicates that the shocks are no longer keeping the vehicle’s body stable as you make a turn. Don’t ignore this sign, and take your car into an auto repair shop.
Q: If your tires are leaving bald spots, is this related to the suspension system?
This sign could indicate you need to replace your suspension system, though some drivers believe this is only related to tire issues. However, if you notice the tread is uneven on your tires, or there are bald spots present, it could be a sign your car isn’t putting even amounts of pressure on the tires.
Q: How long does a suspension system typically last?
When you purchase a suspension system, it will usually state the number of years or miles it will last. However, this depends on how often you drive, your driving skills, and the materials used within the suspension system. On average, a suspension system lasts 4-5 years.
The ECCPP Air Suspensions Shock Absorber kit is a great option for Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the DLZ 10 Pcs Front Suspension Kit.