How to Heat Springs to Lower a Carby Russell Wood
Back in the day, the easiest way to lower a car was to heat up the coil springs to lower the car. Today, there are many options for aftermarket springs and suspension components, but if you want to lower your car the old fashioned way, then there are some steps to follow to heat a set of springs to lower a car.
Place the vehicle on a level surface and measure the distance between the top of the fender and the ground. This is your baseline for the vehicle, and will be how you determine how low the vehicle will go.
Set the fire extinguisher next to the vehicle, within arm's reach of the tire. You're going to be using an open flame, so always keep safety in mind.
Turn on the torch and position it in the fenderwell such that it heats the coil spring, but not any nearby brake lines or electrical connections. Make sure your arm is clear of anything that could come down on you when the spring starts collapsing. Unfortunately, there's not a safer way to do this, as the weight of the car is necessary to collapse the spring.
Apply heat to the spring. It will start to glow red, and the spring will start to collapse. Remove the torch when you start to feel like you're in the ballpark of your desired ride height. This isn't an exact science, as there's no way to know how quickly your spring will collapse, so apply heat and remove quickly for short amounts of time.
Apply Steps 2 to 4 to the other side of the vehicle.
Measure the distance between the top of the fenderwell and the ground. If you need to adjust the height side to side, apply heat again to the higher corner and repeat the process.
- This isn't the best way to lower a vehicle, as it will produce a rough ride and poor handling, but it is the way that hot rodders did it in the early years of car customization. As such, your car may not end up being level from side to side.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Oxy-aceteline torch
- Fire extinguisher
- Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy at all parts of this process. Working with an open flame is dangerous and could cause a serious fire.
Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.