Does your car become hard to handle whenever you hit a road bump or cornering? Well, that is because of the increase of chassis flex. In order to reduce the flex in your chassis, as well as increase your car rigidity, there is a solution for you called “strut bar”.
1. What is a strut bar? What does it do?
Basically, a strut bar or brace is a piece metal or carbon fiber that ties the left strut tower and the right strut tower together. This will help increase the rigidity of your car and give you more stable control when the car goes downhill or has a sharp turn.
In order to understand how a strut bar works, let’s examine all the forces that happen when you are turning at a hard corner. What happens is the car wants to go to the left; however, the friction is going to push the car and prevent it from sliding out from the corner.
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The friction force will rotate the tire downward toward the ground. This will create a pulling force on the upper strut where that strut is connected with the body of the car. Without the strut bar, the chassis can be twisted or bent due to the effect of forces with different directions on it.
With the strut bar installed, connected the left and right strut tower, the forces will pass along the strut bar. Both of the strut towers will take the force that opposing to the friction rather than one. This will result in having less flex in the body of the car.
Since the strut bar connects both side of the strut towers, which are the points that receive most stresses, the force is evenly spread from the right to the left tower. Therefore, this will reduce the chassis flex and make your car more predictable.
Strut bars play an important role for cars that have MacPherson struts. However, for double wishbone vehicles, they are also important.
Even when you already had a double wishbone suspension, vertical forces can still press on the body of the car. For example, when you hit a road bump, a very large vertical force will all go into the one single strut tower, which will eventually lead to chassis flex.
With a strut bar, some of the forces will spread to the other side. This will relieve the pressure on a single strut tower. Therefore, you will have less flex in the body of your car.
2. Benefits of having a strut bar
A strut bar can bring you numerous benefits.
A car is designed to flex and twist and over a period of time, the structural integrity of the vehicle weaker. If the body of the car is not reinforced properly, it can be tear apart or damaged terribly.
By installing a strut bar, the frame of the car is reinforced. Therefore, you will have less flex in the chassis. This will prevent the body of the car from any damages which can cost you more than a strut bar does.
Moreover, a strut bar can increase the durability of your car. If you put two cars, one with the strut bar and one doesn’t, in the same driving conditions over a period of time, you can easily notice that the vehicle with the strut bar is going to drive more like new.
A strut bar will increase the stability whenever your car goes downhill. It will also make your car more predictable and easier to handle. Therefore, you can have a solid peace of mind when driving.
You also don’t have to worry about having your car rollover when you are cornering at high speed or at a sharp turn. In addition, when traveling in mountainous terrains, a car with strut bar can keep better balance and easier to handle.
3. How to choose the right strut bar?
Choosing the right strut bar can give you a world of differences. If you are purchasing online, try to look carefully at the product photos to make sure you get the most for your money.
Moreover, if you are only going to install one strut bar at the time, make sure you get the front one first. That is where you can see the biggest difference since the front wheels receive the most stress.
In addition, test the flex of the strut bar first, if possible. A strut bar that is stiffer will do a better job in stiffening the chassis.
There are different styles of strut bar for you to choose:
- Triangulated style front strut brace: So basically, what this does is that it will tie the strut towers together to the firewall as well. This will keep everything in place under hard cornering, hard acceleration, as well as hard breaking. If you want your vehicles to handle like it is on rails, then this is the right style for you to choose.
- Separated two-point shaped strut bar: With this style, the shaft and the bracket are separated, unlike standard strut bar. If you have difficulties in installation with your car, then this style of strut bar is definitely for you.
- Triangulated three-point strut bar: Similar to the regular triangulated strut bar, this one also ties the strut towers together along with the firewall also. It will also give your car better handling than the standard style.
You also want to have a look into the material of the strut bar. A strut bar can be made from steel, aluminum or carbon fiber. Each material has its pro and cons.
Steel strut bar is the most common option to choose. They are stiff, less expensive and work efficiently. On the other hand, aluminum strut bar is not quite as stiff as the steel one. However, they are quite bulky.
Carbon fiber will also give you the same stiffness level as steel. The only problem is that they are usually more expensive than steel strut bars.
Rear strut bar are less important than the front one. The rear usually less stressed than the front and have a stiffer structure. That is why if you don’t want to waste money or don’t think that it is that necessary, you can just skip install a rear strut bar.
You can consider the DC sport cs2 series strut bar. It features two carbon steel tubes, reinforced with a webbing. The brackets are actually mounted to the strut tower and are all boxed in. This makes the strut bar secure to the strut tower and stiffen up the chassis efficiently.
Unlike what you might think, installing a strut bar is not that difficult at all. Initially, remove the nuts from the strut tower. Then put the bracket of the strut bar over the studs with the nuts on top and tighten it.
For the other side, just do the same things. After that, adjusts the bolts to the required length, make sure your lock nuts is already tighten up and install the bar.
Additionally, make sure that no dynamic tension is put against the bar. Moreover, make sure that the strut bar is not too high. The strut bar should also leave sufficient clearance between it and the engine valve cover.
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A strut bar can give your car a totally different feel. With strut bar, cornering is easier. You have more peace of mind as well as a batter handling. Moreover, since a strut bar tighten up your chassis, it is less likely for it to get damaged or bent. Therefore, your vehicle can last longer.
Most economy cars do not come with a strut bar. The reason for this is because users who buy economy cars are not really care about performance. If you love speed, a strut bar is a simple way to increase the rigidity and improve the handling of your car.