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Guide: Tesla Model 3 Lowering Springs

This is a buyer's guide to Lowering Springs for the Tesla Model 3 SR, LR, and Performance models. It includes the benefits of installing lowering springs as well as a comprehensive list of lowering springs available on the market. If you have a product you think should be included or corrections to this guide please email me!



Benefits of Lowering a Car

Most enthusiasts know that "wheels and a drop" can make any car stand out from a run of the mill stock car. As OEMs have continued to make more attractive stock wheels, this aesthetic change can be made even simpler with wheel spacers and a drop. However, if we are only looking at the better looks of lowering a car we have missed the primary benefits of installing Lowering Springs.

Better Handling

It may not seem obvious when thinking about suspension modifications, but the ultimate goal when people are in search of a "better handling" car is an increase in grip. The "grip" or traction of your tires increases as the vertical load on them increases. To think about this in another light, imagine moving a piece of paper over a flat surface while pressing down on it. The harder you push downward, the more difficult it is to move that piece of paper. The increased downward forces and friction provide more traction or "grip" of the paper to that surface. In a moving car you have 4 traction surfaces. These are located at each tire contact patch. The vehicle's weight and the aerodynamic downforce in its environment serve as the downward force, or what we typically refer to as vertical load, to the surface underneath.
In a turn, centrifugal force acts on the vehicle seemingly to prevent the car from turning. This force increases load on the outside tires and reduces load on the inside tires. While that force increases the outside tires see increased traction while the inside tires are losing traction. A practical way of gaining traction is by decreasing the load transfer so that more load stays on the inside tires. As a gross over-simplification, lowering your car lowers its center of gravity and reduces the amount of load being transferred. Furthermore, aftermarket springs will typically feature higher spring rates than the factory (OEM) springs which will also further reduce body roll and limit the amount of load transfer. All of this serves to increase overall traction or perceived grip.

Increased Road Feel

While lowering springs can objectively improve the handling of the car, the improvements in vehicle dynamics serve to subjectively improve the handling of the car as well. When people say a car "drives like a boat", this is often because of vague steering feedback and a soft ride. As described above, when lowering the center of gravity of the vehicle there are actual improvements to the traction of the car which leads to a more connected driving experience. Steering feels more precise and the ride is usually "tighter".

Decreased Drag

Lowering your car decreases the overall aerodynamic drag of the vehicle and increases range. A pseudo-scientific study by German Tesla rental company nextmove showed a 7% increase in range on the German Autobahn. Tesla tuning company Unplugged Performance also did a thorough Computational Fluid Dymanics (CFD) study which showed an 8.1% reduction in drag. Yes, you read that right. A set of coilovers can not only make for a better handling car, but also improve efficiency.

Drawbacks of Lowering Springs

It would be unfair to paint a picture that is all roses and potpourri. There are a few drawbacks of installing lowering springs you should be aware of.

Decreased Suspension Travel

The Tesla Model 3 suffers from a relatively low range of suspension travel. At the factory ride height, the stock dampers are less than a few centimeters from the bump stops. When the dampers meet the bump stops, the bump stops are providing all of the damping force in the suspension. It seems the Model 3 suspension was actually designed to interact with the bump stops. Some installation instructions on aftermarket lowering springs for the Model 3 will tell you to cut the factory bump rubbers. This changes the rate at which the bump stop works and is not designed as Tesla intended.

All that being said, practical mechanics says you should change your shocks at the same time as installing lowering springs, but many have found that the range of dampening on the OEM Model 3 dampers with cut bump rubbers allows them to easily handle aftermarket lowering springs. This is a good thing, because there are not many aftermarket options for Tesla Model 3 shocks and struts.

Potential Decrease in Ride Comfort

Because of the reduced travel and lower ride heights, lowering springs will feature higher spring rates than their factory counterparts. This translates to a stiffer ride as the spring pushes harder to keep the tire against the traction surface. Furthermore, if you cut the factory bump rubbers to improve damper travel when lowered, you will have changed the progressive nature of the bump stops. This may lead to more instances of the bump rubbers engaging much more aggressively and abruptly. All of this can lead to a firmer ride which some may like and others may hate.

Decreased Ground Clearance

This may be obvious, but still needs to be said. You will need to be more aware of speed bump clearance, the angle of driveway approaches, and you may not be able to use a standard jack to raise the car. (Psst... check out our Cusco Ramps to help easily raise your Tesla enough to get the jack under.)

Lowering Springs vs Coilovers

Now that you have a high-level knowledge of the pros and cons of lowering springs, I will make the gross generalization that lowering springs are for aesthetics and coilovers are for performance. Lowering springs have a much lower cost of entry and if you know you will not be making many changes to the ride height of the car, they are a great upgrade to get to "wheels and a drop". A properly designed coilover system will not only allow you to adjust and dial in the exact ride height you want, they will typically come with new dampers to adjust for the decrease in relative suspension travel. Many coilovers will also offer adjustable dampers to dial in cornering performance and ride quality.

Buyer beware: it should be noted that there are many poorly designed coilovers on the market that offer ineffective dampers matched with needlessly high spring rates. In those cases, a set of lowering springs properly designed for the application will result in a far better comfort and performance upgrade. The following is what is believed to be a complete list of all aftermarket lowering springs available for the Tesla Model 3. If you know of a product that I missed or are a manufacturer looking to add something to the list, please email hello@emotive.engineering.

Model 3 Performance Lowering Springs

Product Front Lowering Rear Lowering Price
AST Suspension 25mm / 1.0"† 25mm / 1.0"† $392
AST Suspension 40mm / 1.6"† 40mm / 1.6"† $392
Eibach Pro-Kit 35mm† / 1.4" 25mm† / 1.0" $350
H&R Sport* 30mm† / 1.2" 30mm† / 1.2" $399
RS-R Ti2000 Down Sus* 40mm† / 1.6" 35mm† / 1.4" $489
Tein S.Tech* 30mm† / 1.2" 35mm† / 1.4" $320
TSportline 25mm† / 1.0" 30mm† / 1.2" $320
Unplugged Performance Low 53mm† / 2.1" 53mm / 2.1" $420
Unplugged Performance Mild 18mm† / 0.7" 18mm† / 0.7" $420
Unplugged Performance Super Performance 38mm† / 1.5" 38mm† / 1.5" $420

* Applications are listed for use on Performance or AWD Long Range Models.
† Converted from manufacturer quoted lowering.

Model 3 AWD Long Range (LR) Lowering Springs

Product Front Lowering Rear Lowering Price
AST Suspension 25mm / 1.0"† 25mm / 1.0"† $392
AST Suspension 40mm / 1.6"† 40mm / 1.6"† $392
Eibach Pro-Kit 23mm† / 0.9" 25mm† / 1.0" $350
H&R Sport* 30mm† / 1.2" 30mm† / 1.2" $399
RS-R Ti2000 Down Sus* 40mm† / 1.6" 35mm† / 1.4" $489
Tein S.Tech* 30mm† / 1.2" 35mm† / 1.4" $320
Unplugged Performance Low 53mm† / 2.1" 53mm† / 2.1" $420
Unplugged Performance Mild 18mm† / 0.7" 18mm† / 0.7" $420
Unplugged Performance Moderate 38mm† / 1.5" 38mm† / 1.5" $420

* Applications are listed for use on Performance or AWD Long Range Models.
† Converted from manufacturer quoted lowering.

Model 3 RWD Standard Range (SR) Lowering Springs

Product Front Lowering Rear Lowering Price
AST Suspension 20mm / 0.8"† 20mm / 0.8"† $387
AST Suspension 30mm / 1.2"† 30mm / 1.2"† $387
Blox BX* 25mm† / 1.0" 28mm† / 1.1" $250
Eibach Pro-Kit 33mm† / 1.3" 28mm† / 1.1" $350
H&R Sport 35mm† / 1.4" 35mm† / 1.4" $399
RS-R Ti2000 Down Sus 30mm† / 1.2" 30mm† / 1.2" $489
Tein S.Tech 40mm† / 1.6" 35mm† / 1.4" $320
Unplugged Performance Mild 18mm† / 0.7" 18mm† / 0.7" $420
Unplugged Performance Moderate 38mm† / 1.5" 38mm† / 1.5" $420

* Application is listed for use on RWD Standard Range and RWD Long Range models.
† Converted from manufacturer quoted lowering.

Special Cases

What about the "Stealth Performance"? Lowering springs designed for the Performance trim will typically have 0.2" / 5mm more lowering in the rear than on the Stealth Performance. Springs designed for the Model 3 Performance can be used on the Stealth Performance, just keep in mind that the amount of lowering in the rear will be less than advertised. The 0.2" / 5mm is negligible and may even amount to a more aggressive raked look.

This guide is focused on common U.S. domestic market vehicles. So what happens if you have a RWD Long Range or Mid-Range model? These models exist outside of the U.S. and there are also some here on U.S. shores, though the model has since been discontinued. AST Suspension, Eibach, and Unplugged Performance make lowering spring applications for the RWD LR and MR. For RWD LR and MR specific applications email us at hello@emotive.engineering to order or for more information.

I hope this guide has given you a high-level overview of the benefits of Lowering Springs and the offerings available for your Tesla Model 3. With amazing weight distribution and electric torque, the Model 3 makes for an awesomely fun track toy. This made even more fun with a lower center of gravity and more traction. If you know of a product that I missed or are a manufacturer looking to add something to the list, please email hello@emotive.engineering. I hope to keep this guide as current as possible. Happy motoring!

About the Author

Steven Chen

Chief Engineering Officer at Emotive Engineering. Addicted to cars. Send hate mail to steven@emotive.engineering.