A debate on how to spend your tax refund on car parts might sound funny to some, but there is a serious side to this. How you use your tax refund to make car repairs or upgrades could seriously save you more in the long run. The key here is to make your car survive many more miles on the road and make it enjoyable to drive so you want to keep it. The alternative is taking out a loan and buying a new(er) car, which doesn’t always make financial sense.
The global pandemic has brought one positive in our world with an extended tax filing deadline this year. This gives us more time to think about where on the car we want to spend our refund. If you are like us, we choose to change the look and ride performance at the same time.
We’ve been dealing with RideTech for over 14 years, so our comfort level with their suspension systems is very high. For our tax return, we’re going to be looking at some RideTech suspension upgrades and the costs associated with the different levels of upgrades.
Average Tax Refund
Honestly, we had to look this up on the internet. According to Yahoo! Finance, the average tax refund in 2020 was just over $2,314. This covered the 2019 filing year. In 2021, the return will cover the 2020 filing year, which means the government will be paying you back for the extra amounts that were taken out of your paycheck each pay period.
The amount of tax refund can vary wildly from state to state. For instance, in Maine, the average refund was just over $2,314, but in Texas, the average taxpayer got back $3,191. Don’t throw shade on Texans because they have more money for car parts. Remember, a tax refund means you gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.
Why Car Parts?
Not every car problem is an immediate car coming to a complete grinding halt with billows of smoke coming out of the hood and flames from the tailpipe. The less obvious problems are poor steering, shoddy ride quality, and a host of other problems you can’t tell by a check engine light. These problems should be fixed before they gradually grow into something major.
Most of us already understand that tire rotations, wheel alignment, and similar routine maintenance prevent other issues down the road, but there is an efficiency issue as well. Wear and tear take a toll on your car’s components. Wear may not indicate a broken car, but it pays to fix these problems before they become major issues. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Besides, there is a safety issue that we really don’t need to explain in depth. For the most part: the better your vehicle works, the safer it is.
Choices, Choices, Choices
Even if you don’t care about having a high-performance vehicle, the better a car performs, the better your transportation situation is. Face it, your daily life depends on transportation. Fuel efficiency and extending the lifespan of your vehicle is improving the quality of your life.
RideTech has taken away the difficult choices and hard work of narrowing down the parts list for suspension upgrades by offering complete systems and components into simple kits that are easy to install and upgrade your car or truck.
Currently, these kits range from air suspension and coil-over suspensions to performance-minded CoolRide air suspension or OEM type replacement kits. The option includes complete suspension kits, front suspension, or rear suspension kits. Other enthusiasts may decide they only need a change or upgrade in shocks. In this article, we are focusing on bolt-on style kits, but RideTech offers much more. “We have other applications than the kits listed here. They might require cutting, welding, or some fitting to make it work but don’t think if your car or truck isn’t on one of these lists we don’t have parts for them,” Scott Payton of RideTech reminded us.
RideTech currently has pre-engineered bolt-on systems for the following vehicle types:
- 1949-1951 Ford & Mercury
- 1955-1957 Chevy (Bel Air, 210, 150, Nomad)
- 1955-1966 Ford Thunderbird
- 1956-1970 Cadillac DeVille & Fleetwood
- 1957-1970 Buick (Fullsize & Riviera)
- 1958-1964 Impala, Bel Air, Biscayne, El Camino, Nomad, Parkwood, Kingswood, GM B-Body
- 1960-1964 Galaxie Sunliner & and Monterey
- 1961-1965 Ford Falcon
- 1961-1969 Lincoln Continental
- 1962-1967 Chevy II & Nova
- 1964-1970 Ford Mustang
- 1964-1972 Chevelle, El Camino, Pontiac GTO, Olds 442, GM A-Body
- 1965-1970 Pontiac (Fullsize)
- 1967-1969 GM F-Body (Camaro & Firebird)
- 1967-1970 Mercury Cougar
- 1968-1974 Chevy Nova
- 1968-1978 Mopar B-Body & E-Body
- 1970-1981 GM F-Body (Camaro & Firebird)
- 1978-1988 GM G-Body (Monte Carlo, Cutlass, & El Camino)
Types Of Suspension Kits
Air suspension kits from RideTech are high-performance upgrades that are designed to optimize ride quality and handling at the same time. These kits offer adjustable ride height and there is a wide range of vehicle applications offered by the company. Because they are a premium product, they are not the least expensive kits on the market. However, if you are looking for a system with years of development and a great reputation, these kits work well.
They are at home on daily drivers, street racing vehicles, at the autocross, or anywhere else you would drive your passenger car or truck. Like most suspension kits, there is a wide range of prices depending on the vehicle involved in the upgrade. For example, the popular 1963-1972 C10 truck kits range from just over $3,000 to slightly over $4,000 for the front and rear CoolRide air suspension complete kit.
Because of the components involved, a similar kit for the 2007-2013 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500 is listed between $6,500 and $8,500 depending on the options. Generally speaking, the more complicated the base vehicle is, the more components it will require to upgrade the system properly. We want to stress these kits complete solutions for high-performance driving. There are many options for these vehicles that fit into tighter budgets and we would recommend contacting RideTech for universal or custom installations.
CoolRide And ShockWave
RideTech has two different types of air suspension systems, the ShockWave systems, and the CoolRide systems. The CoolRide system is the original air suspension system developed by the company when it was still known as Air Ride Technologies. These were air spring and bracket assemblies that were used as drop-in coil spring replacements as well as for use in custom bolt-in and weld-in installations.
Don’t mistake these kits as older technology because the company has continued to develop the CoolRide kits and now includes an even wider range of applications than before. Through years of research and development, these kits simplify the adaptation of air springs. Depending on the application, the CoolRide kits are available for stock control arms or can be used with the RideTech StrongArms.
ShockWave systems have been on the market for about twenty years and were designed to feature an airbag that acts as an integrated air spring and shock absorber that is sized and calibrated for different vehicles. These install similar to coilover kits except without the large metal springs. RideTech considers these the ultimate in air suspension solutions.
Coilover And OE-Style Suspensions
When it comes to coilover and OE-style performance suspension packages, RideTech has kits that feature components matched to cars and trucks that upgrade the performance and ride quality of factory suspensions. The coilover kits consist of a self-contained shock absorber and coil spring assembly with adjustable preload.
Upgrading from stock to coilover, you will gain the ability to alter ride height and spring rate along with greater control over shock settings. The RideTech coilovers use monotube shock technology similar to what is used on sports cars and road race cars. RideTech offers two choices: The HQ Series a high-performance unit with single adjustable shock or TQ Series for street or competition with triple adjustment.
The costs for these kits are roughly the same as the CoolRide air suspension kits. Coilover kits come in either a universal coilover kit for custom installations, which is perfect for hot rods, street rods, and purpose-built race cars. These kits are offered in a variety of stroke lengths with configurable mounting options and spring lengths.
RideTech also offers coilover kits in application-specific kits that take the worry out of component selection. These are engineered to work directly with RideTech front and rear suspension upgrades including StrongArm tubular control arms and Bolt-On 4-Links. This means you can add on as you go. Some of these coilover kits for certain applications, such as late model Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs, install directly in OE suspension mounts.
OE-Style suspension systems, labeled as StreetGrip by RideTech, vary depending on the application but most include conventional lowering springs (most are dual-rate) and stock mount aluminum mono-tube single adjustable shocks together with Delrin bushings and upgraded sway bars. The StreetGrip line replaces factory suspension with composite leaf springs.
Any of these kits are serious performance upgrades so we don’t want to imply that the traditional style suspension is better or worse than an air suspension system (or visa-versa). There are varying degrees of adjustability and some kits offer an easier installation than others. Some of these kits are designed to work in concert with existing factory frames and others are universal for custom or purpose-built applications.
The goal of any suspension upgrade is to make your vehicle handle better, feel modern and responsive, but not at the expense of a harsh ride. To find out which system is best for your vehicle, your budget, your mechanical ability, or the overall goal of the upgrade, talk to the technical experts at RideTech at (812) 481-4787 or find one of their dealers near you by clicking here.