How to Make Your Honda Handle Better

by William Zane

Hondas are widely lauded for their reliability, fuel efficiency and impressive engineering. Most Hondas handle very well even in stock form. This is even truer for performance models like the S2000 roadster and Si derivatives. But as with all cars, it is possible to improve the handling of your Honda with a wide range of upgrades, from cheap to expensive. Most of these components can be installed by the owner with the proper tools and knowledge.

Upgrade the wheels and tires. One of the most effective ways to improve the handling of a Honda is to install stickier tires. Most tires are designed for longevity and use in a variety of conditions, and are constructed from harder compound rubber. Tires made from softer compound rubber will provide more grip. If you upgrade the wheels as well to a larger size, then you can install wider tires for even better handling.

Lower and stiffen the suspension. Most stock suspensions are designed for comfort over performance. Lowering springs will reduce body roll and lower your Honda's center of gravity for better handling. Pair the springs with performance shocks, which will further upgrade the handling. Adjustable coilover shocks and springs will provide the most dramatic improvement, but can be expensive.

Install larger anti-roll bars. An anti-roll bar is a length of metal that attaches to the suspension on either side. When your Honda is driven around a corner, the bar acts a lever arm and forces the inside of the vehicle toward the ground, reducing body roll and improving grip. Replacing the stock anti-roll bars with larger ones is a common upgrade.

Install strut braces. When a Honda is driven around a corner, the chassis flexes from the forces being applied to it, which can make it feel less stable and responsive. A strut brace is a brace that is bolted to the tops of the strut towers, reducing or eliminating the flexing of the chassis. There are front strut braces available for most Hondas and rear strut braces for some models.

Replace the stock bushings. A Honda's suspension has numerous rubber bushings at critical areas in the suspension that isolate the chassis from the suspension. Stock suspension bushings are usually made of relatively soft rubber for comfort and noise reduction. Replacing the bushings with harder ones made from urethane will sharpen up the responses of the chassis and make the vehicle feel more nimble.

Get a performance alignment. Once you have installed performance suspension components on your Honda, a proper alignment will bring everything together. A good alignment shop can set your Honda's alignment to maximize the handling by adjusting the camber, caster and toe settings.

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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.