Budget-Friendly Suspension Upgrades: Where to Invest for the Most Impact

Whether you’re a seasoned or novice off-roader, improving your vehicle’s suspension is a great way to boost its performance, comfort and handling. Plus, it will fit right in with the rest of the modifications and upgrades you’ll get for your custom build.

Your ride’s suspension system is critical for off-roading because it serves several key functions including:

  • Absorbing shock by damping the impact of rough terrain. This makes for a smoother and more comfortable ride.
  • Maintaining traction by helping to keep tires in contact with the ground, especially on uneven terrain.
  • Enhancing vehicle control by stabilizing it and making it easier to steer and navigate obstacles.
  • Protecting your vehicle from damage when tackling rough terrain, thereby enhancing its durability.

Budget-friendly Suspension Upgrades

At Dixie 4 Wheel Drive, we know how confusing, and sometimes expensive, suspension upgrades can be so we decided to limit ourselves to only budget-friendly options

Shocks and struts

Upgrading your shocks and struts is a cost-effective way to improve your vehicle’s suspension. Quality shocks and struts can significantly enhance ride comfort and performance by helping your vehicle balance on the road. Go for aftermarket shocks or heavy-duty options that are designed to handle rough terrain while improving how the vehicle handles sudden braking and swerving without going off-balance.

Sway bars

Also referred to as anti-roll bars, sway bars help control body roll when making quick turns or cornering. This improves the vehicle’s grip, control and overall handling. For off-roading, you may want to swap stock sway bars for performance ones that disconnect when you need maximum wheel articulation, thus improving your vehicle’s ability to tackle uneven terrain. Sway bars are available as bolt-on parts that can be easily installed.

Bushings

Bushings are inexpensive parts that are often overlooked. Unfortunately, they degrade with time and can lead to poor body control and sloppy vehicle handling. Replacing your stock rubber bushings with polyurethane ones is an inexpensive upgrade that can do wonders for your suspension’s responsiveness. This is because polyurethane is more durable, providing better control while reducing sway and vibration.

Lift kit

Another common truck upgrade or jeep modification is installing a lift kit. That’s because this is an excellent investment for off-roaders on a budget. A lift kit not only improves your ride’s ground clearance but also allows you to add larger off-roading tires and wheels, enhancing the vehicle’s off-roading capability. There are various lift kit options in the market from basic spacer kits to more comprehensive systems to suit your budget.

Springs

Your ride’s springs can be raised or lowered depending on the look you want for your custom truck or Jeep. However, for off-roading purposes, replacing stock springs with heavy-duty ones can go a long way toward improving suspension articulation while helping to support the vehicle’s weight. Upgrading your springs is especially useful if you’re going to be carrying heavy equipment or doing plenty of overlanding.

Control arms

If you’ve installed a lift kit, you may want to upgrade the control arms as well to help correct suspension geometry. Installing adjustable control arms will allow for more precise adjustments, helping you to maintain proper suspension performance and alignment as you take your vehicle off-pavement.

Alignment

While this isn’t a traditional suspension upgrade, it’s still worth mentioning. Proper wheel alignment and balancing are essential when off-roading because they ensure that your tires maintain consistent contact with the ground. Taking your ride for professional alignment and balancing can improve your tire wear as well as the vehicle’s handling.

Steering stabilizers

Steering can be quite a challenge when driving on uneven trails. A steering stabilizer, also known as a steering damper can improve control by reducing steering vibration. This budget-friendly addition can make a significant difference when driving off-road, saving you from wrestling with the steering every time you encounter rocky terrain.

As you invest in budget-friendly suspension upgrades for your ride, don’t forget to go for regular suspension maintenance. Keeping your suspension components properly torqued, well-lubricated and free from wear and damage can significantly enhance their performance and improve how your vehicle handles rugged terrain.

Also, keep in mind that suspension components work in tandem with each other and changing one part is likely to affect another. That’s why you need the services of qualified mechanics whenever you’re looking to modify any part of the suspension system. If you want a suspension upgrade, bring your ride over to the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto shop and let our 4X4 experts look it over. 

Devil's Cove, Nevada

St. George Jeepers Trail Ride
Devil’s Cove, Nevada
March 28, 2017
Submitted by Bud Sanders

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