Join Date: May 2011
Location: Imperial Valley, CA
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I will chime in on this topic fashionable late. haha. To answer your question, No. You do not need to change out the struts/shocks on your Elantra in order to put new springs. Many Companies, at least respectable ones, utilize the OEM struts/shocks when they make the new spring, so the new spring is set up for the OEM suspension. BUT and I say a huge BUT here. What they do is maximize the struts/shocks ability to maintain the springs energy. Sine the new springs are generally 10-20% firmer than stock and are progressive, they can capture more "energy" than the stock spring. What does this mean? It means that the strut is going to have to work harder to control the energy the new spring makes. This may cause the strut to fail prematurely, so instead of getting 50K miles out of an OEM strut, you may get 30K as an example.
What concerns me about this elantra though is there is not much suspension travel front or rear. You MUST take this into consideration when lower a car. My GLS bone stock bottoms out on speed bumps, bad roads and what not, you lower the car another 1.5 inches or so, guess what? Your going to be hitting your bump stops all day long and that can be very dangerous. Some folks cut the bump stops in half to give an extra inch of travel, I mean you could, but what this does is make the strut compress more than was intended and you can blow a strut. So its a catch 22.
You could go coil overs, but they run over $1000 for a decent set and honestly is it worth it? If you actually AutoX your car, and what not then Coil Overs would be good. Driving back and forth to work and school? Nah. Unless you just want a look. The benefit of the Coil Over system isn't the adjustability, that is just one part. Its the beefed up struts they come with. Those too can fail because they are some Korean No name brand that over here in the States cost a pretty penny to get. So I would pass on those too.
So its tough to say, No you don't need new struts, but how long will your OEM ones last? Who knows. Safety wise though, hitting your bump stops at 60mph on a turn can cause a spin and a serious accident. People also think lower means better handling. That is not always the case. In some cases, the car can or may handle worse!!
Going 18's on the Elantra is an idea but also not a great idea. Why? The weight of these rims for one create allot of unsprung weight that can make the car handle worse, especially when the wheel is turned, then your causing a weak suspension to work even harder to maintain the momemtum of a heaveir wheel. Not a good idea. Then your rolling on 40 series tires and all it takes is one bad pot hole and guess what?? There goes your new rim. Acceleration will also be slower with 18's. Takes more power to turn those big donuts. So from a "performance" perspective keep the lightest, smallest wheel. You ever see those lowered Honda's with small 15/16" rims and they are dropped? They do it so they don't loose HP. Turning big wheels may look cool, but from a performance perspective, another bad idea.
I am still learning about these Elantras. I have never really been into Hyundais, and just bought this car to save on gas, I have owned 4 Mitsubishi Evo's and raced 2 of the 4. Mainly AutoX and traveled around different tracks here in California. So my experinece is vast, but not in the Hyundai World. I think the Elantra is a great car, but not the car you put a $2000 suspension on. So put some nice rims on it, stock 16's or limited size 17's maybe put the KYB's on the rear, and leave it alone. I can't believe I am saying that, but in the Elantra's case, I think its the best way to go.