This is achieved by altering the height of the suspension to
raise or lower the overall height of the vehicle. Imagine you're driving your high end vehicle
through rough roads with ease because your ground clearance is above the normal settings and in a
few minutes later you can be driving the same vehicle along an open smooth road with increased handling
and aerodynamics because your ground clearance is now lower than the normal settings.
Ground clearance can be defined as the space or distance from the lowest point of
your vehicle to the level surface below it. The tires are not considered for the this
definition as they are designated to be in contact with the ground.
The ground clearance is not something that you have to go and measure or calculate
as the manufacturers usually give the distance in millimetres or inches in the overall list
The lowest part of the vehicle can be a
differential or some part of the undercarriage of your vehicle and the specifications
given are for an empty vehicle so the ground clearance would be slightly lower when fuel,
passengers and cargo is added.
High Ground Clearance
Higher ground clearance is used on vehicles with good off road abilities. A higher
ground clearance equals more practicality. SUVs,
pick ups and minivans are designed
with a high ground clearance with few exceptions.
The high clearance allows these vehicles to
have more practically such as transporting more cargo and travelling on rough roads or off road
with a reduced possibility of the vehicle sticking or the undercarriage being damaged by the rough
surfaces. One drawback is the higher ground clearance equals a higher
center of gravity.
Low Ground Clearance
Vehicles with a lower ground clearance will benefit from an increase in handling as their
center of gravity will be significantly lower than average. A lower ground clearance equals better
handling and performance. the lower stance will assist in
aerodynamics as less air will pass under the vehicle during driving but these vehicles will not
Sometimes a compromise between a high and low ride height is need and this balance is adopted
by some of the most executive sedans and other cars.
To further improve on
the compromise some vehicle's ride height can be adjusted via air suspension either automatically or via controls inside the
vehicle while you're driving to cater to the road conditions.