By David Crowley
At its simplest, ride height is the distance between the skid plate and the ground on your vehicle (also known as ground clearance). Since you’ll most likely need to adjust it at some point –– even if you only ever run with stock suspension –– you may as well familiarize yourself with why & when you might need to check or change your ride height.
After Adding Accessories
It’s important to check and adjust your ride height whenever you significantly alter the weight of the vehicle, whether by changing the accessory setup, or by adding extra passengers –– especially in the case of 4-seaters. Given that the location and respective weights added to the vehicle will have varying effects on ride height, small ride-to-ride changes in weight will not be worth compensating for, while some accessories (e.g., rear spare tire, cooler, winch, etc.) will have an outsized effect due to their leveraged position on the vehicle.
A best practice for those who run stock springs would also be to check ride height after every couple thousand miles of driving or so. Since stock springs use lower grade materials, the vehicles they support have a tendency to sag/settle over time. Increasing your ride height when this issue becomes present can work as a temporary solution.
However, if repeated sagging and ride height adjustments have been necessary for you in the past, it might be time to consider upgrading to a Dual-Rate Spring Kit –– whose higher grade materials don’t necessitate repeated adjustment, even after driving long distances, unless the weight of the vehicle itself has been altered substantially as outlined above. Shock Therapy has Dual-Rate Spring Kits for most popular UTVs and they tailor the spring weights for your specific situation taking into account how much the driver and passenger(s) weigh. Spare tire? Cooler? Tools? Winch? Windshield? Aftermarket cage, etc. Plus they also look at where you ride most of the time and combine that all together for a spring kit that is best for your situation.
Some of the benefits of the Shock Therapy dual rate spring are:
- Custom Tailored to your machine
- Increase ride height
- Increased bottom out resistance
- Reduced bucking
- Smoother ride quality over chop and chatter
- No Sagging
- Life time warrantied springs
- Springs manufactured in the USA
Why should I care?
When your vehicle sags or sits too low, your shocks will be more compressed than normal and closer to bump stage, where valving inside the shock compensates for what it expects to be more significant compression event –– treating small bumps as though they were large, and stiffening ride quality overall.
In addition, if you’re running Dual-Rate Springs, you may be sitting closer to the crossover ring. As a result, the suspension will transition to the lower and stiffer spring too early –– even just for small bumps. The result is a ride that is very harsh and a skid plate that hits obstacles more than it should with adequate ground clearance.
How-To Check and Set Ride Height
A Can-Am Maverick X3 with 32-inch tires should have 16-inches of ground clearance and if you have a 2021 or earlier with 29-inch Big Horn tires, you should have about 15 -inches of ground clearance.
For more information on how to measure, adjust, and where to get the information to set your ride height –– based on the accessories that you’ve added to your vehicle, FOX and Dustin Jones have some great information that everyone should watch: