Three lowered vehicles are parked in the car park of the Nürburgring
Three lowered vehicles are parked in the car park of the Nürburgring

Lowering the car with lowering springs

Tuning & Motorsports
July 4, 2021 8 min read

Lowering refers to the lowering of the vehicle body by installing various suspension components such as lowering springs, coilovers and sports suspensions. This is usually done for visual reasons, but it can also improve performance and handling.

In this article, we explain what you need to consider when tuning with lowering springs in order to achieve the maximum performance and best appearance when lowering your vehicle.

The contents at a glance:

Reasons for lowering

For tuners, the appearance of their own car is by far the most important reason for lowering it. Not only can driving performance be improved, but a sportier appearance can also be achieved by lowering the car. But what advantages and disadvantages should tuners consider?

Ein tiefergelegtes Abarth Racing Auto
Ein tiefergelegter Abarth

The disadvantages of lowering with lowering springs & Co.

Unfortunately, lowering can also bring disadvantages. In addition to the general product and conversion costs, tuners should also keep the following aspects in mind. Depending on the type and extent of the lowering, these points will of course have varying degrees of impact:

  • Getting into the car becomes more uncomfortable because the driver’s seat is also lower.
  • The driver has less all-round visibility.
  • The ground clearance is reduced, which means that bumps, uneven surfaces and kerbs can collide with the underbody of the vehicle.

The disadvantages of lowering with lowering springs & Co.

Unfortunately, lowering can also have disadvantages. In addition to the general product and conversion costs, tuners should also keep the following aspects in mind. Depending on the type and extent of the lowering, these points will of course have a different impact:

  • Getting into the car becomes more uncomfortable because the driver’s seat is also lower.
  • As a driver, you get less all-round visibility
  • Ground clearance is reduced, which means that bumps, uneven surfaces and kerbs can collide with the underbody of the vehicle.

Verringerte Bodenfreiheit durch eine PKW Tieferlegung

In addition, it should be noted that a balanced suspension generally offers more ride comfort. That’s why we at BILSTEIN work according to the motto: “As soft as possible, as hard as necessary”.

Because for all the advantages of a tight set-up, softer springs and dampers provide more traction and a higher mechanical grip, especially on undulating tracks such as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.

However, many of these problems only arise with maximum or incorrect lowering. If you do not lower the car to the maximum or can at least react flexibly to road conditions with a coilover suspension, you will hardly notice the disadvantages mentioned above.

Lowering a car: These options are available

As with many things in the tuning sector, there are also many implementation variants when it comes to lowering. The most common methods at a glance:

Lowering with standard shock absorbers

An almost traditional problem with suspension tuning: for budget reasons and/or due to lack of knowledge, many tuning fans often limit themselves to fitting shorter lowering springs in conjunction with the standard dampers. Not a good decision.

Because lowering springs should always be considered in combination with the shock absorbers: Standard products are always matched to the spring rates of the standard springs.

Because the spring travel of lowering springs is shorter, they have a harder spring rate – which the standard shock absorber is simply not designed for. When using sports springs, we therefore recommend combining them with appropriately matched shock absorbers.

Our BILSTEIN B8 shock absorber is specially designed for use with lowering springs. It not only has a correspondingly sporty characteristic curve, but is also shortened in length. This gives it outstanding road performance.

Sports suspensions with tuned lowering springs (complete kits)

Of course, many manufacturers also offer ready-tuned complete suspension systems. These usually include four shortened shock absorbers and correspondingly tuned lowering springs. For example, the BILSTEIN B12 sports suspension kit belongs in this category.

Standard sports suspensions are aimed at drivers who want a sporty look and set-up, but without having to accept major sacrifices in comfort.

BILSTEIN B12 Sportfahrwerk für eine abgestimmte Tieferlegung

Our guide to sports suspensions gives a good overview and shows that you can lower your vehicle sufficiently even without a thread.

Suspension coilovers for maximum performance and lowering

Suspension coilovers are a high-performance product that, in addition to infinitely variable height adjustment, usually also offer manual damping force regulation. This results in a wide range of adjustment, which allows the driver to adapt the suspension to individual wishes.

For performance fans and tuning enthusiasts, threaded suspensions such as the BILSTEIN EVO S, BILSTEIN EVO T1 or the BILSTEIN B16 are the product of choice.

BILSTEIN B16 Gewindefahrwerk als Produkt zur Tieferlegung

Our detailed overview of coilovers explains the differences between the various suspension systems and shows for which type of driver which suspension system is worthwhile.

Air spring, clubsport, hydraulic and electronically adjustable suspensions

At this point we have not included the installation of air spring suspension and the use of a hydraulic, club sport or electronically adjustable suspension.

Even though these types of lowering are theoretically possible, we would like to remain as practical as possible with our article and provide assistance for private tuners. After all, these products are high-end solutions for drivers with special demands.

Luftfedermodul als Möglichkeit der Tieferlegung

Costs and effort: How much do springs and lowering cost?

The costs for lowering can vary greatly. On the one hand, because the different lowering variants also differ greatly from each other in terms of cost. On the other hand, manufacturer and workshop costs are always different.

Nevertheless, here is a rough classification and price range that is realistic according to our experience. For the calculation, we assume the purchase of a complete kit with 4 springs/shock absorbers:

  • Lowering springs only: approx. € 200-400
  • Shortened standard shock absorbers with lowering springs: approx. € 400-800
  • Sports suspensions with perfectly tuned lowering springs: approx. € 500-900
  • Coilovers with adjustable lowering: approx. € 800-2,000

In addition to the pure product costs, the following installation costs must be added:

  • Installation costs workshop: approx. € 150-250
  • Wheel alignment / wheel alignment: approx. € 35-70
  • Registration: approx. € 35-50

With the BILSTEIN dealer and workshop search, you can find a suitable partner for the purchase and installation of your suspension with corresponding lowering springs.


Ein Mechaniker baut ein Tieferlegungs-Fahrwerk in ein Auto ein
Ein eingebautes BILSTEIN B12 Tieferlegungsfahrwerk

Installing lowering springs: Avoiding mistakes when lowering

Regardless of whether only the lowering springs or the entire suspension is replaced, lowering the car should always be carried out by a specialist. Theoretically, it is possible to carry out these measures yourself (assuming the appropriate know-how), but installation by a specialist workshop or an experienced automotive mechatronics’ technician is always the safest option.

Because in addition to a warranty on the installation, as well as a correct wheel alignment and registration, you can then be sure to fulfil all requirements according to TÜV guidelines and ABE (general operating permit).

Installing the BMW E9X sports suspension | Changing the suspension (Tutorial | DE)

Lowering by shortening the spring

Lowering your car by simply shortening the springs is not only illegal, but also represents an extreme safety risk for the driver and other road users. For this reason, you should never shorten your springs on your own, but always use lowering springs.

How low can you lower a car?

The German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO) do not contain any precise information on the ground clearance of a car. Nevertheless, there are some regulations to be observed.

If your car has to undergo a general inspection or if you want to have your lowering registered with the TÜV, the inspectors are guided by the “VdTÜV Merkblatt 751”. This states that a vehicle, including the driver and a completely filled tank, must be able to drive over an obstacle with a height of 110 mm without touching it.

In addition, according to the StVZO, a car’s dipped and main beam lights and indicators must be mounted at least 500 mm above the road surface. And the lower edge of the front number plate must not start below 200 mm above the ground.

Abmessung der Tieferlegung durch einen KFZ-Betrieb

Conclusion on lowering cars

Lowering a car can improve not only its appearance, but also its driving dynamics and performance. From simple lowering springs to special sports suspensions and high-performance suspension systems, there are many ways to lower a car.

Costs vary widely, with around €200-400 for lowering springs and a price range of around €500-2000 for a complete sports suspension.

If you want to lower your car, you should always have the conversion work carried out by a specialist garage and observe the guidelines according to the German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), TÜV and operating permit.

You might also be interested in

Our guide to sports suspensions gives a good overview of the various sports suspensions that you can use to lower your car.

And in our latest Auto Tuning Guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about tuning in general this year. No keywords

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