Is Making Your Car Too Stiff a Problem?
All Jokes aside this is a really awesome question! Whenever someone asks me this I know they are truly grasping the concept of performance suspension tuning and that's an amazing thing!
Making a vehicles suspension perform better for spirited driving, track driving or just plain hooning around requires special parts and attention to what's going on under there.
What makes performance suspension better?! Coil overs, lowering springs, adjustable dampers all have something in common. They all usually make the vehicles suspension "stiffer". The spring rates are increased so that braking and acceleration dive is reduced while also limiting ride height to keep air from ballooning under the car. Dampers are tuned to rebound to match these stiffer springs and sway bar diameter is increased or lever arms adjusted so that the car doesn't roll as much. Each of these components has a profound impact on how harsh a vehicles ride is. Each one will yield smiles per gallon in the canyons but can be a back breaker for daily driving. Most people are looking for some sort of balance because ,at the end of the day, we don't live in The Fast and The Furious...No matter how much we say "Family".
Notice a suspension part not included in the above list? That's right chassis braces, such as strut bars, aren't there. The reason for this is absolutely fascinating! Braces are designed to reduce chassis deflection which means they are there to PREVENT movement. The parts listed above are all designed to move. So what is the big idea here? Well since the braces do not move they do not have an impact on a cars ride quality. In fact some braces can improve ride quality by allowing the suspension to work more efficiently or to prevent an aging cars creaks and groans. Now there is one exception. Torsion bars will limit how much a torsion beam suspension can move and as such it acts much like a sway bar and can increase NVH(Noise vibration and harshness) a slight bit.
As for the rest of chassis braces, such as strut bars, torque gussets, traction bars and trunk braces?! Bolt them on and enjoy improved handling without any real consequences! Have your cake and eat it too...just share some with me. I love cake.