Volkswagen cornering enhancements

В рубриках: Automobile | Автор: admin 05.12.2011

Volkswagen Cornering Enhancements

Volkswagen Cornering Enhancements

If you enjoy taking a corner or two a bit crazy once in a while like me you may find your Volkswagen’s current handling performance a bit lacking. There are a few key things that affect the way a car handles corners. Improving any or all of these elements will greatly increase the handling capabilities of your car.

Sliding off the road:

One of key components to how well your car corners is the tires. The tire width and compound of the rubber play crucial roles in keeping your VW from sliding off the road.

Wider tires have more surface area in contact with the road which will improve traction. It also has the unfortunate side effect of decreasing your gas mileage due to increased friction with the road. It is not uncommon for people to install wider tires and see their gas mileage go down by 50 miles per tank! If you have ever wondered why car makers put such skinny tires on their vehicles this is one of the main reasons. Wider tires also tend to turn into skis in winter driving conditions.

Installing stickier tires will help your dry traction considerably. One thing to keep in mind though is the softer and stickier the tire, the faster it will wear out. High performance summer tires may also perform very poorly in wet and icy conditions, which means you’ll probably want another set of tires for winter driving.

If you get bigger wheels to go with your tires you will probably end up with a tire that has a shorter sidewall, which makes the new tires nearly the same diameter as the old ones. These shorter sidewalls will improve handling slightly. Have you ever gone around a corner at high speed and felt like your tires were flopping over sideways? They actually do. The shorter the sidewalls are the less likely this is to happen, but unfortunately this also leads to a slightly rougher ride as there is less tire height to absorb bumps in the road.

Body Roll:

Does your Volkswagen feel like it is leaning over sideways when you tear around a turn? This is what is known as body roll. There are a couple main ways to combat this problem.

The easiest of which that is also the thing that has the least effect on ride comfort is to install a set of sway bars or anti-roll bars. Depending on your car there may be aftermarket bars for the front, rear, or both for your vehicle. They are usually thicker than the stock sway bars, which flex less and keep your VW from leaning as much during cornering. The difference these bars make is tremendous. They can be installed yourself in a few hours and shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars at most. This is the first modification I did to my car and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again to every other car I drive in the future.

Another thing that effects body roll is your car’s center of gravity. The closer your car is to the ground the less effect the forces of cornering will have on it. Installing a set of lowering springs which bring your car an inch or two closer to the ground will improve handling considerably.

You should be aware though that putting lowering springs on your stock shocks will cause them to wear out faster, so it is recommended that you replace both at the same time to save money on labor in the future. Lowering springs also have a different spring rate than the stock springs and will most likely result in a much stiffer ride than you’re used to. While some people can get used to this, I’ve read many stories about people that spent all day installing new springs themselves only to have their spouse hate it and make them change it back.

Since cornering capability and ride comfort are at odds with each other you must find your own comfortable compromise where you are happy with the way your VW handles and the way you and your passengers feel riding in the car.

Remember: Drive safe, wear your seatbelt, and have fun!

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