Q: I want to lower the front suspension of my Honda Civic a few inches. I’ve heard that I can heat the springs on the struts until they sag the right amount and it’s as easy as that. I want to know how I can heat them, what sort of torch to use and how to know when they’re where they should be. What’s the technique to do this right? — Damien
A: What you describe is an old, crude way of lowering front ends of cars and it’s fraught with problems. Heating springs enough to sag takes away the metal’s temper, makes the metal potentially brittle and therefore prone to break under load. On top of that, the ride characteristics become severely compromised, so what you end up with is an unpleasant driving experience.
You ask what technique should be used to get this “right,” and my answer is to buy a commercial set of lowering struts along with the associated components that have been engineered to maintain proper ride and handling. This will cost several hundred dollars but the car will operate correctly. You can heat springs red hot (until they sag) for no cost, but the result will be disappointing and potentially dangerous.