Keeping It Low

Speed Ramps
Driving a modified car gives you a whole new perspective of the road ahead, Suzanne Keane offers some tips for driving a low car


My daily commute is relatively simple….except for the torturous final 200 meters. I pity any other car who gets stuck behind me as I slowly weave over the new killer speed ramps that the council have decided to install. I’m not looking for sympathy – after all I chose my car and I love it…. But I learnt my lesson one dark night in Dundalk when my Golf decided to spill the contents of its sump around the car park! (oil that is – for the non mechanical types)

In fact, very little scares me more than letting someone who isn’t used to a low car get behind the wheel of mine.
You may have noticed “I’m not drunk, just avoiding potholes” stickers for sale – funny as it may seem, driving a low car really is a different experience. Each journey has to be planned in advance – often having to go miles out of your way just to stay on a smoother surface. Any unknown roads have to be checked out on street view and fingers kept crossed that new dips or potholes haven’t appeared!


Tips for driving a low car: 


1. Plan in advance – think about the roads you will be using. Is there a slightly longer route with better road surface?
Speed Ramp
2. Avoid speed ramps – and if you can’t, slowly and sideways is the key. Try to only get one wheel on the ramp at a time – “crab style” (Click here for a sample video)
3. Multi Storey Car Parks can be a problem – my exhaust always catches on the way down ramps and the splitter catches on the way up! If you can’t avoid them make sure to take your time!
4. Dips and Hollows – these are usually worst on narrow country roads. Do NOT drive in the centre – Keep to one side as much as you can – keep the centre of your car away from the highest part of the road.
5. Parking – if there’s a kerb in front make sure the nose of your car is high enough to comfortably drive over it (i have witnessed a front bumper being ripped off by a kerb – in Dundalk again for some strange reason).


But what can go wrong? Apart from damage to wheels, suspension and bodywork you need to think of protecting your sump – if it cracks this can be an expensive mistake, especially if yours is aluminium (the sump stores all the engine oil so if it cracks your engine could be in trouble – switch the engine off straight away if this happens to you!). A sumpguard is definitely a worthwhile investment! 


Suzanne Keane


22nd April, 2013



Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for Retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @_suzannekeane

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