Thinking about LOWERING my car... should I?

I have a 2007 Corolla CE.

I’m considering doing one of the following:

1. Lower the car by .5 inch by using the OEM stock stiffer springs from the 2006 Corolla XRS car (this is the “sports” trim of the same car.) This spring will indeed fit my car. The spring rate for this vehicle is approximately 200lb./in. (versus–130 lb./in. for my stock Corolla)

2. Lower the car by 1.1 inches with an Eibach Pro-Kit (progress spring, not sure what the spring rate is.)


I hope to improve the handling and roadholding of my Corolla. Nicer looks are a plus, but secondary.

Do you think I should do it?

What are some pitfalls that I am overlooking?

Do you think my handling will indeed improve? What about roadholding?

Do you think there will be alignment issues?

Please chime in.

Thanks in advance.

Neither should cause more than a firmer ride and slightly lower ground clearance. Both will improve handling to some degree, but I doubt they’ll make a huge difference. You would need to add in better tires. But Corollas don’t have a lot of potential.

You will need to have a 4-wheel alignment.

IF an alignment is even possible after the lowering.

Shouldn’t be a problem to align it. But you’ll get better bang for your buck if you just put better tires on the thing.

After a whole lot of time and money, it’s still a Corolla…It will ride like a truck.

We have recently had a discussion here about the difficulty of doing an alignment on a car that has been lowered. Option #1 should not create this issue, but option #2 might.

Check out this discussion

Nevermind that I have a corolla. Would you say that in general, it’s true that lowering is a good idea for handling and roadholding benefits?

Better road holding is not better handling. Almost every Toyota that I’ve driven in the last decade were isolation pods, except for the Celica GTS.

You need to have the XRS’s steering rack, brake booster, rear discs, and any other details that Toyota included in making the XRS. Otherwise, your Corolla still keeps secrets from you with every turn of the wheel or push of the pedal. You’re better off getting an XRS.

Sports car engineers sweat over details such as the elasticity of the foam on the steering wheel to deliver that high definition road feel. I think Toyota, for the most part, spent a lot of time creating the opposite effect–isolation.

Dropping your car an inch MIGHT make a tiny difference on a skid pad, but not in the real world. You can gain more benefit from just careful selection of wheels and tires…

For heavens sake the corolla is an econo-box not a pocket racer. Your handling might be just marginally better. I think you are using the “better handling” rational to justify making your econo-box look cooler, which by the way just makes it looks like a wanna be sports car.

Skidpad has nothing to do with it. The skidpad is mostly a measurement of how effective the tire grip is. Lowering a car (with proper performance-oriented lowering setups, not by cutting or baking the springs) reduces transitional roll both due to stiffer springs and a lower center of gravity, which means you can slalom more quickly. It’s advantageous on twisty roads and in autocross…

Let me tell you something, for all those who diss the Corolla–I too, was, just like you. I had many negative opinions about the Corolla UNTIL I test drove several other cars via ZipCar. I tested a 2010 Mazda3, a MINI Cooper, and a BMW 328XI.

of the three, the Mini Cooper rode best, the Mazda3 came in second, and the BMW last. I expected the BMW to perform the best, but it was the worst. It felt “floating” and lacking in road feel. Which shocked me, since BMW is known for exactly the opposite.

Anyways, before test-driving these cars, I had thought about trading in the Corolla and losing a lot of value–but, no more!

My Corolla compares favorably to all these cars. Worst in some respect, better in others–overall, it holds its own.

First- I think you should do it, because you might enjoy it even if you have to spend some money to get it done. Even if there is no really significant improvement you will think it is better because of the placebo effect. I don’t know how much this will cost you, but this is clearly a hobby expense and cost doesn’t matter that much for hobbies.

I would never do it myself, but I drive a truck and try not to exceed the speed limit. I have about 11 inches ground clearance and I never feel that handling or roadholding are an issue for me. But, again, I’m not an aggressive driver on pavement.

I’m sure you’ve considered the potential (and somewhat minor) issues with reduced clearance (curbs, speedbumps, roadkill, steep driveways, snow and ice, etc).

thanks for Chiming in.

I’m also worried about Alignment.

I’d say option #1 might have some benefit, but so small that you won’t be able to feel it. Option 2 might have benefits you can feel, but could be expensive and cause some other suspension issues. If you plan to race the car, it might be worth the money. Short of racing I don’t think you’d accomplish much but you might like the “look” of having a car that is different from the pack. That difference likely won’t be appreciated by used car buyers so you can’t count on any more money if you sell the car someday.

If you want specifics you need to get on a “Tuners” forum and see if anyone is doing similar things to Corollas.

Better wheels and tires will have more tangible benefits, be cheaper, and will not alter the basic handling of the car. Changing springs is “unknown” territory. If you like the changes fine. If not, it will cost a lot to go back to the original set up.

Sound advice. Thank you.

You’ve already swayed me AGAINST the project.

The truth is, I don’t really know what I’m doing and perusing where the fanboys are, is not helpful because they are too enthusiastic–to the point of being blind to reality.

The kind of handling benefits you seek should never be realized on public roads. These modifications are for cars that will face competition on a racetrack.

It’s good you’re checking around. You might try to go for a better set of tires next time around, that can have the best ‘bang for the buck’ in handling.