Should my car have stiff or soft springs?

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Ride comfort and performance. Creating a suspension system that serves both of those masters successfully is a challenging task. All sorts of technology can help, from air suspensions to magnetic dampers and so on. But what is best when it comes to a soft or stiff spring setup? What do you really want?

It all really depends on the type of driving you plan on doing with a given vehicle. Your daily driver and a race car have different goals, and each requires a very different setup. Additionally, if your race vehicle is a track machine versus a desert racer, you're going to find extremely different suspension gear.

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For today's suspension lesson, Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained examines spring stiffness in his usual manner. He gets into physics and numbers and math, and that's where our heads start to spin. Thankfully, Jason breaks down high-level scientific concepts in ways our coffee-addled brains can handle.

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You'll find that there's a reason you want a softer suspension in your road car but also learn exactly why a race car is excessively stiff. As you work with the added aero of a race car, it's going to start pushing itself lower to the ground. A stiff suspension will make sure it's pushed exactly where it needs to go. Your softer road suspension will keep your back happy so you're not bouncing over every imperfection in the road.

The proper setup for you might fall somewhere in between, and if you watch this video you'll know why.

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