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Easy Rider?

I have a Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi, 2011 year, previous to which I had a Mondeo 2001 2.0 TDdi, which had a lovely comfortable ride over the bumps. This lighter engined one gives a hard ride over the bumps though, and I was wondering if you could suggest some softer springs? The spring thickness is 13 millimetres. I really hope you can suggest something. 

T Hilton, Hereford

That’s a tough one Sir! Let’s start by asking whether it is the springs, and not something else that’s responsible. I am presuming that your car has standard wheels, with 16-inch 55 profile tyres fitted, which should give a reasonably good ride. If, by any chance, they are larger diameter optional wheels and tyres, say 17-inch, and probably with 45 profile tyres, that might explain the poor ride. In this case, all you could do is try and locate some reasonably priced 16-inch wheels, which should improve things, although it means a new set of tyres, so would be best left until you need some new rubber.

But there is a decent possibility that the tyres that you have fitted are harsh riding tyres, and a change of tyre might well improve things considerably. In my experience, the hardest riding tyres (and I do have to generalise in saying this) are Bridgestone and Michelin, whilst the best riding items are probably Goodyear and Yokohama, but I have also seen recent very good reports on the ride comfort of Continental EcoContact 5 tyres. There is a possibility that your car has Michelin Energy-saving tyres, which do have a rather harsh ride.

Having said all of this, I wonder if you have experimented at all with tyre pressures? First you need a good accurate tyre gauge, and then you could start by trying some lower pressures, depending on whether you normally travel one or two-up, or often carry four people. Two-up, the standard tyre pressures, according to my research, are 34psi front and 32psi rear, but you can check these on the plate on your door pillar, or in the handbook. Whatever the specified figures, I think you you could comfortably (apologies for the unintended pun!) drop them by 2 to 3psi, as long as you check them regularly, and set these pressures when cold, with a reliable gauge.

Failing that solution, I’m afraid I have to say that you are really unlikely to be able to source any softer springs, unless they are specially made, and you then might have problems with insuring a car with non-standard parts, and the possibility of the suspension bottoming out on bad roads. I hope this is of some help, and I would appreciate you letting me know how you go on.

Regards,

Doc Diesel

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