How to Select a Hydraulics Kit for Your Car

by Contributor

A hydraulics kit is a performance accessory for your car that boosts suspension for sports applications like jumping or makes your car "dance." Ideal for car enthusiasts who want a low-ride look, a hydraulics kit can add a unique flair to your car. However, you'll need to take your car's mechanics into close consideration to select the right product.

Brush Up on Hydraulics Basics

Familiarize yourself with any local or state laws that define the limits of legal hydraulics systems. For example, the state of California insists that car frames cannot under any circumstances ride lower than the lowest point of the wheel rims. You'll be subject to citation if you violate any such laws.

Learn about the basics of simple and more complex hydraulics systems when you, as the car's driver, will be able to raise or lower the car's height as you choose. Broadly speaking, the greater the number of switches used to control a system, the more complex it is. If you want to select a hydraulics system purely for aesthetics, something simpler will usually suffice.

Brush up on your battery's specifications. You'll need to know how much juice your battery provides, as well as how much charge your backup batteries carry. Hydraulics systems suck a lot of power, and you'll need to keep your backup batteries charged at all times.

Spend some time browsing the most popular, brand-name hydraulics systems. GlobalSpec.com offers an excellent selection of links leading to vendors of all kinds of hydraulics systems and accessories (see Resources below).

Check out "Lowrider" magazine in print form or on the Web (see Resources below). It's dedicated to air ride and hydraulics systems and auto performance modifications for low riders, and you'll learn a lot about current trends in hydraulics and innovative new products.

Contact the manufacturer of any system you're considering to ensure it's compatible with the year, make and model of your vehicle before you purchase it.

Add Hydraulics Accessories

Add an accumulator to your hydraulics kit to reduce the amount of hydraulics shock your breakers and grinders will suffer. An accumulator can easily be mounted on top of your boom.

Select a case drain if you want to give your hydraulics system the capability to drain hydraulic oil out of your rotary circuits. A buildup of oil in your circuits over time will affect engine and electrical system performance.

Use additional electronics controls. You can use an electronic flow control to choose from multiple current flow rates, a function select to toggle between single and bi-directional oil flow or a pressure select for precise control over current flow. You can also choose from a wide variety of joysticks, tilts, locks, filters and disconnects to improve the ergonomics of your system's manual controls.

Tip

  • check As an alternative, consider an air ride system for your car. While they're more expensive, many enthusiasts claim that an air ride system makes for a much smoother ride than a hydraulics system.

Warning

  • close Go to your mechanic to get your car's frame reinforced before you add a hydraulics system. You might seriously damage your car's frame if it's not beefed up to handle the extra pressure of a hydraulics system.

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About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.