Should I raise my car?

Dear Paul,
I recently acquired a Premio AT211 model 2000 from Japan. However, the car seems to be low and I was aised by the local mechanics to have it raised. Other people are aising me to buy for it new tyres (other than the ones I imported it with), reason being they would help raise the car. However, others are aising me against raising the car, noting that it would affect its stability.
Basing on your vast exposure to vehicles, I would like to be guided on this matter before the car gets damaged.
Thank you.

Hello Isaac, your need to raise the ground clearance of your Toyota Premio is shared by many motorists with vehicles whose under ride is damaged by uneven road humps on some roads. Indeed, many motorists have raised their saloon cars to overcome this challenge.
In some unique situations four wheel drive trucks that wade through water or drive over rocky or sandy terrain need to have their ground clearance raised in order to overcome the terrain difficulties. Raising the ground clearance of vehicles is done with the aid of locally fabricated metallic plates called spacers. The spacers are fitted between the shock absorber mountings or springs and the vehicle chassis to improve the vehicle’s ground clearance. In the case of special purpose off road vehicles, raising the vehicle ground clearance with spacers involves replacement of the springs and some suspension components to adapt to the height conversion. Raising your Premio saloon car by fitting the common locally fabricated one to two inch metallic spring spacers is technically not recommended due to the potential damage it may cause to your car suspension as well as compromise your safety when the car is raised above its dynamic safety limits.
Whereas raising your Premio with spacers would provide an immediate solution to ground clearance challenges, the long run damage to your car suspension, altering ride handling quality and potential risk of causing an accident while driving fast on the highway ought to make you think twice before you make this decision. Fitting spacers damages suspension components after a while. This happens when the upward travel of the suspension struts do not compress fully upwards yet the lower suspension arm continues to move. Damage to upper suspension often breaks the lower strut shaft as well as the bushings, ball joints and CV joints. Fitting spacers to your Premio Toyota saloon may make it high and unstable.
The suspension design of your car is calibrated to work with its original ground clearance to ensure that you can drive safely at low or high speeds when maneuvering around sharp bends. Altering the height of the car will affect the tolerance or limits of the above design and may lead to accidents due to loss of dynamic stability when driving on uneven roads or through sharp bends. You can safely raise the car slightly by replacing your tyres with a size recommended by your car manufacturer (usually indicated on the driver side door B pillar) or carefully worked out by calculating a new tyre aspect ratio. Tyre dealers can help you determine the right tyre size for this purpose.

Ask the mechanic
By Paul Kaganzi
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