OPINION | Why driving a lowered car is safer than you might think

<i>Image:  David Latorre Romero</i>
<i>Image: David Latorre Romero</i>

• Motorists with lowered vehicles are generally safer drivers.

• Lowered cars will attract the attention of law officials.

• There are pros and cons to lowering your vehicle's ride height.

• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

If there's one thing that draws the attention of local law enforcement officers, it's lowered vehicles.

In recent years, there has been uproar among young motorists being pulled over or fined for having vehicle modifications or alterations done to their cars.

Stance or speed

Everything from dark tinted windows, aftermarket LED lights, bigger wheels, and specific performance upgrades can pose a problem to yourself, and attract the attention of traffic officials due to unlawful modifications.

There have been stories of motorists being pulled over by traffic officials and had their licence discs taken because their cars were not deemed roadworthy due to the lowered stance.

What is your opinion of lowered vehicles? Please email us and share your thoughts.

There is a misaligned conception that all lowered cars are street racers, but in actual fact, it is the exact opposite. A car looks much better when it sits lower to the ground, and it is for this reason that speeding, and getting caught by a camera, can never be an issue.

Here's why: if anything, drivers with lowered vehicles are more worried about dodging potholes, navigating steep speed bumps, or fear scraping the front spoiler on uneven road surfaces. Speed mitigates this notion entirely.


Having friends in both the performance and stance culture, it is either one or the other and never both, unless you have bottomless pockets.

With those that are into speed, most money is spent on either making a car faster, or fixing something that broke. And, from personal experience, mechanical parts are never cheap.

Car modifications: What the law says in SA

The stance guys, on the other hand, pride themselves on how a car looks and obviously how low it is. Lowering a vehicle can be done in one of three ways - fitting a lowering kit, coil-overs, or air-ride suspension.

Air-ride suspension is the more desirable out of the bunch as drivers can adjust the ride height depending on the road surface with the touch of a button.

Cutting or heating a car's springs is not advisable as its best to fit a reliable setup the first time around. Remember, you are now altering the dynamics of how a car handles and behaves on the road.

 lowered taxi

(Wheels24, Joe Klein)

The good and the bad

Just like with most things in life, there are pros and cons, and the lowering of a vehicle is not exempt from this. Insight from Carsdirect says that with a lowered suspension, there's less air going underneath the vehicle, and this can create a better outcome for wind drag on a car.

That's why some sportier models sit a bit lower to the ground. In general, having the vehicle so low to the ground can increase the grip of the tyres on the road.

With that said, there are a number of disadvantages as well. Because a car now sits lower to the ground, parts in close contact with the tar become a risk.

Components like the oil sump and exhaust system can take a hit if you misjudge a dipping road surface which can result in the car bouncing and hitting the ground hard when a vehicle is not originally designed with this in mind. Accelerated tyre wear can also occur because of a change in ride height, together with the fitment of bigger aftermarket wheels.

The art of lowering a vehicle will never go away because it forms such a big part of South Africa's car scene.

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors/columnists published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24. 

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