The key to a comfortable drive is to get the right car, but over time you may find that your car becomes a bit bumpier after a number of years or kilometers on the road. Wear and tear is a natural part of car ownership and something that is combatted with good vehicle maintenance. The level of comfort that you felt when you first drove off the lot might not be the same perhaps a few years down the line.
Don’t worry because there are a few things that you can do to restore your car’s comfort, or even improve it. We’ve compiled a list of ideas and jobs that can help you, so without further ado, let’s get into it.
Load it up
One of the most common ways to improve your ride comfort is to load up your vehicle with ballasts or extra passengers, however, don’t overload your vehicle too much as too much load can stress the chassis, suspension, and also your engine.
Extra passengers or cargo should improve your car’s comfort by a bit. This rings especially true for SUVs from the pickup-platform vehicle (PPV) category, like the Toyota Fortuner or Mitsubishi Montero Sport, since they’re a bit overbuilt from the factory to accommodate more load. Loading up these models will get you a better ride at the expense of fuel economy and engine performance, but if you have to haul multiple items anyway, the ride will be much better.
Suspension and Wheel Alignment
It could be that your car’s suspension or wheel alignment isn’t optimal. Over time, as your suspension components soak up bump after bump, they tend to get misaligned or slightly bent. Because of the complexity of modern suspension systems, subpar ride comfort is usually a telltale sign that your car’s suspension geometry may be out of whack.
To alleviate this, take your car to a tire center or a suspension specialist that can fix your problems. If your car is equipped with modifications like bigger and wider wheels or an aftermarket suspension upgrade, then you may want to consider getting your alignment tuned and tweaked to ensure that your suspension is working properly.
Change or repair your shocks
Not all shock absorbers are bulletproof. In fact, perhaps one of the most common modifications and repairs for a faulty suspension system is to replace the shock absorber. There are many different types of shock absorbers on the market, and the most common ones are oil-filled. These types are prone to leakage if abused, and may wear out over time. A shock absorber is designed to keep your wheels on the road. A bad shock will allow the wheel to jump up, as its primary job is to shock. You can tell that you need to replace or repair your shocks if your car is noticeably bouncy or if there’s a lot of vibration that wasn’t there before.
Just because the shock absorber has gone bad, doesn’t mean that you need to buy a new unit as soon as you can. You also have the option of rebuilding the shock instead of outright replacement. Either way, it will be more affordable in general to repair than to replace, but if the damage is beyond a simple repair, then consider a replacement.
Get better tires
Not all tires will perform the same. When changing your tires and modifying or building your car for comfort, you need to get a tire that’s quiet and has a softer sidewall. We don’t recommend getting a sports tire as these types often have stiffer sidewalls and noisier than average tread patterns.
Try and find passenger car tires that are advertised as more comfortable. On passenger cars like hatchbacks and sedans, it will be much easier to find a tire of that spec. However, for SUVs, you might want to get highway terrain tires instead of mud or all-terrain tires. For crossovers, expect the same brands and models from passenger tires, but in a bigger size. It is also important that you get the right size of tires, as something that is too big will weigh your car down more, and cause more stress on your vehicle’s suspension components.
Thick tires, not bigger wheels
If you’ve noticed some modified cars like to run skinny tires with large wheels. While these setups tend to look good, in terms of comfort, it may not be the best setup. Your car can take a bigger rim, but you will have to slim down your tire quite a bit for this to work. If you want a more comfortable ride, either stick to the stock wheel and tire size that your car came with or don’t go overboard with the size. Typically an inch over the stock wheel size is okay, but you will notice a difference in ride quality.
This also has to do with the weight of the aftermarket wheel that you are getting. If you opt to go big, chances are, your suspension will have to bear more unsprung weight, causing it to be overworked and bounce around a bit more. If your suspension is not dialed in, then you might have a hard time if ride comfort ranks high up on your list of priorities.
That being said, it is not impossible to get your wheel and tire setup to be more comfortable, as mentioned, you can tune your suspension with a heavier and larger set of wheels and tires in mind to be more comfortable and ride better.