One doesn’t needs to own a luxury car in order to get a good deal out of his car. On the other hand any car will put a smile upon your face if the car sports a sweet handling. It is not impossible to get a good deal out of your ordinary car. In fact rather thinking it’s impossible, make it possible. Here are few steps that can provide you with the insights of the handling and a little bit of physics. Follow me and grab yourself cool and handy tricks to how to make your car better than the rest of its siblings. This article will be divided into four sections. Each section will be covering one of the most important aspects of the car.
Among all the other modifications done in order to improve the handling, tyres is the most important feature that makes a difference to the handling. Like the best audio phile grade media player, high performance amplifiers and high end equalizers when compiled with the cheap quality speakers make it a waste of money, exactly the same way you just can’t get the best handling with missing out on the most important feature ‘TYRE’. If you want some real dude deal out of your car, then invest in the best possible car tyres because that’s the final link between your car and the tarmac and believe me or not the grip makes all the difference.
Now the trick of the trade becomes handy when you fit those broad tyres in your car. Fit the best possible or rather the widest rubber tyres available, in your car. Since the tyre prices vary, you don’t need to go out and hunt for those ultra high performance tyres, as in our opinion you can get away with a VFM sports tyres which comes in almost the 60 percent cost of the former one. The special part about these tyres is that these tyres offer an 85 percent of grip of those ultra high performance tyres. There is a myth that one can’t fit in a bigger tyre than the one the vehicle came with. In fact one can fit in an approximately bigger tyre (an inch or two) than the actual tyres it came along with, as it doesn’t make much of a difference. Like for example if the car is available with the 70-14 tyre than the tyre that can be used without any problem is the 50-15. But do not go fancy with the outer diameter of the tyre as it will lead to the inaccuracy of the car’s speed and also the overall gearing of it. So what we get here is the reduced height of the side wall of the tyre with every upsize of the rim. The low profile tyres have shorter and stiffer sidewalls which enhances the directional response of the steering input. Also, the tread remains flat to the road making it a more comfortable driving experience with the enhanced grip.
The problem that comes here is that, one can easily opt for the upsizing of the tyres but the lower the profile, more sensitive the tyre will become. It’s been said by many experts and I might be repeating their words. But the truth is that the ultra profile tyres are more sensitive to the suspension tuning and camber changes. Stiff sidewalls have to suffer more as they are not able to cope up with the uneven Indian roads easily. Also the low profile tyres are extremely sensitive to shock especially the harsh surface makes them even more vulnerable as they are not able to dig into and find a grip rather they skip and hop at these situation. Also the large wheel with tyre combination increases the rotating and unsprung weight. Like for example most of the car enthusiasts uses a 205/40-17 tyres over 17 inch wheels on the small bore, four cylinders, and four wheel drive cars. No doubt that they look cool but I don’t approve of this combination, as this is just not ideal for the optimal performance one wants to derive out of the car. A sensible option will be using 205/50 -15 tyres over a 15 x 6.5 inch wheel.
Bigger wheel increases the car’s final drive. They also cause a flywheel effect which results in the slowing of the car’s acceleration which ultimately leads put load on the brakes. The huge wheel also increases the unsprung weight which isn’t suspended. This includes the brakes, suspension arms, half of the shock absorber and the wheel and tyre. In order to make the suspension work well, the ratio of the sprung to unsprung weight must be kept low. See, the more unsprung weight means that the shocks have to work even harder in order to damp the wheel movement. So if the unsprung weight is reduced and the overload in suspension is taken away then the ride quality improves and the tyres remain in contact with the ground.
One of the obvious ways to look after this disadvantage of the increased wheel diameter and the width is to use a light weight wheel, as these light wheels are much easier to accelerate and apply brake. Mostly all the forged and semi solid forged are expensive wheels. This process helps in better grain structure and also it provides superior strength for the weight.
Reduced Body Motion:
Now here is one of the important tricks. The fine suspension set-up can be achieved by cutting down the excess body motion. The experts say “roll under the hard cornering, dive under braking and squat under acceleration-they all create problem for the driver”.
Usually people believe that the roll doesn’t cause any weight transfer to the outside wheels. In fact it is the opposite of the common belief, as it hurts handling badly by slowing down the chassis response to the steering, braking, and acceleration- all are the important aspects of driving the car. In fact it appears that the car isn’t handling well when there is a lot of body motion involved. In fact, all the above attributes (roll, dive, squat) complement to only one thing which is lack of confidence behind the wheels. Besides these small-small issues, the excess body motion can lead to the some of the serious problem as well. The vehicles which have a soft spring when rolled, the bottoms, the front suspension, sometimes even the rear suspension especially at the time of cornering hard, is the worst treat to the tyres. This in turn increases the amount of load on the tyres causing an instant loss of traction towards the bottom of the car.
Majority of the vehicles right from their inception times have a compromised suspension geometry. This can lead to many problems especially when the car heels over to take a turn. Let me ask you a question? Do you know why the tyres have more wear on the outer edge than the inner one? Because the suspension of a car can develop a positive camber in the cars that are fitted in with a McPherson strut suspension, where the car rolls but the tyres don’t which forces the tyre to roll onto its outside edge hence reduces the contact patch. So the first thing to be done is to control the excessive body motion as already stated. But how? So, you can use stiffer springs, as they will help in resisting roll and bottoming out under roll and combination of dive squat and roll. Now the problem will arrive because of the stiffer springs, as they have more rebound energy (obviously), so in order to counter that one need to install the shocks with more damping. The shocks don’t affect how much a car rolls but they definitely determine how the suspension responds to bumps and steering input. More rebound damping results in keeping the car away from bouncing and floating over the bumps and undulations. It also results in more responsive steering. But too much of rebound damping can prevent the suspension from returning once compressed which is a common problem with cars. Stiffening the suspension also degrades the ride, by making the car too stiff. The problem is that the suspension won’t be able to cope up with the bumps and will hop its way around the turn rather than simply and compliantly absorbing the bumps and finding traction.
Another way of reduce this problem of body roll is to fit in a large anti roll bars. One might have heard a great deal about the anti roll bars but what it is exactly? Anti roll bars are torsion bars that connect the wheel. They don’t have much role to play but their share of work is the most important of all. They come into the picture when the car rolls in turn, as they twist making the car to lean at the time of roll. But they have no effect at the time of squat or dive. When the diameter of the anti roll bar is changed, there is simply no need of altering the shock damping.
Since there is much more to share, I’ll be sharing few more tips on how to achieve better handling. I’ll be updating it in our next blog. So watch out for my next update and keep yourself updated.