There are a lot of structural parts with incomprehensible names in each vehicle. Therefore, novice car enthusiasts do not bother with the individual values of the mysterious indicators. However, the question of what clearance is, sooner or later arises for all drivers who pay attention to a comfortable ride, including outside the city. It is the clearance that helps car owners determine what maximum obstacle their four-wheeled friend can overcome without deforming the bottom.
What is ground clearance
This refers to the distance from the ground or floor covering (supporting surface) to the lower center point of the machine. In Russia, this section is also called "ground clearance". The biggest difficulty in explaining the clearance is determining the central part in the car, i.e. zone bounded by two planes. The fact is that the bottom of the vehicle is literally strewn with additional details, so you need to find a point that is not protruding and as low as possible. It is usually located in the front half of the vehicle, under the engine. The only thing that can be attached to the bottom of the machine at the front is a metal or plastic guard to prevent crankcase breakdowns. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between the measurement of clearance from the protection and from the bottom itself. Sometimes the lowest point is the sump itself, the protruding element of the exhaust system, the spare tire, part of the engine compartment, and sometimes the front bumper.
If we explain the benefits and importance of clearance in simple language, then we can say that the increase in distance directly determines the confidence behind the wheel and the maneuverability of the car, its confidence at maximum speed. If the height from the ground to the car is small, it is quite difficult to cope with safe and fast movement on suburban roads, as well as within snow-covered city streets. High ground clearance is the most important indicator for long trips off-road or on a road with a lot of pits and bumps. Ground clearance is able to increase the vehicle's cross-country ability, as well as protect the front bumper and crankcase.
Typical clearance values for passenger cars
Drivers' approach to ground clearance is related to the condition of the asphalt road itself in and between cities. Since roads in Russia have always been one of the main problems, domestic cars with a clearance of 180-190 mm are in greatest demand. For foreign cars of a budget type, requests are slightly lower, since their ground clearance rarely exceeds 160 mm.
We can say that the standard clearance for passenger cars is 120-170 mm. This is quite enough for driving on smooth, cleared roads of the European type. However, this ground clearance may not be sufficient for daily use in difficult driving conditions. Then you need to pay attention to crossovers and SUVs, where the clearance rate is 170-210 mm. In general, if you live in a country house or often visit nature or travel, it is better to give preference to SUVs and jeeps, where the ground clearance can reach 42 cm, or even more (if the frame car is on non-standard rubber).
Speaking about the typical values of ground clearance, it should be noted that the average dimensions of the ground clearance, again, vary depending on the level of measurements. The above figures are typical for the classic measurement under the sump. But the indicator of clearance from the lowest point of the front bumper to the ground in a light car will be much higher - 140-200 mm. Usually, the clearance is measured in this part of the machine in order to provide protection against mechanical damage.
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How to increase the vehicle's ground clearance
If it happens that you have purchased a car with insufficient ground clearance, you can try to increase it. In the case of pneumatic or pneumohydraulic suspension, the clearance can be adjusted without any extra devices, since this option is included in the settings system. In other cases, you can install spacers made of plastic, aluminum or polyurethane. They are placed between the supporting part of the rack and the body. Rubber spacers are mounted between the coil springs, and adjustable spacers are useful at the rear of the vehicle. In addition, wheels with a large rim diameter or tire profile help to increase the ground clearance. Sometimes drivers also resort to replacing the springs.
High ground clearance is protection against unnecessary problems in winter and off-season, as well as prevention of accidents when colliding with curbs and lifting the car uphill. Understanding the ground clearance helps to make a competent purchase of a car and at the same time carry out timely repair of the structural parts of the vehicle.
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