Everyone wants the best set-up for their car, especially if it’s something they drive every day or take a lot of pride in. When it comes to 4×4 vehicles, there has been a shift in popularity in terms of IFS and solid axle suspension. So, what are IFS and solid axle, and which is better? Read on to find out what the difference is and which option is really more favourable.
What Is IFS?
IFS, Independent Front Suspension, means that the wheels are free to move independently. Most IFS vehicles also have independent rear suspension, IRS. A fully independent suspension would entail each of the wheels being free moving.
Some recognisable models that use IFS include all FCA Jeep-branded vehicles (with the exception of the Wrangler). IFS can also be found on some desert racing trucks, Tough Trucks, King of the Hammers machines, and even on military vehicles.
IFS benefits from being lighter since the front differential is mounted to the chassis rather than to the axle itself. It promises increased comfort as well as smooth and predictable handling. This means you can drive at any speed or travel on or off-road and still have sturdy handling that you can rely on.
One of the only cons is that independent front suspension is a more complicated setup. This also means that it is likely to need more maintenance, cost more to keep running and be prone to wear and tear. It can also suffer from having less strength, which is why it is less suitable for heavy-duty vehicles.
What Is Solid Axle?
A solid axle, as it sounds like, is a solid bar that connects the matching wheels to each other, left and right, either rear or front. This setup is becoming used less often in new vehicles; however, there are still some models that use this kind of suspension.
The Jeep Wrangler JK is one of the only Jeep models that still use a solid front axle. It is joined by Ram’s heavy-duty range and Ford’s Super Duty trucks, which also run with a solid axle.
Solid axle benefits from being more durable and stronger overall. It is also much simpler and therefore doesn’t require so much maintenance. It is sturdy and so less likely to wear or need fixing frequently. Additionally, it can be used in heavy-duty vehicles due to its durability and strength.
This version of suspension is heavier so can lead to less satisfactory handling and comfort. This can be even more of a problem if the truck is not loaded, so it’s worth being wary of the uses of your vehicle when deciding which option is best.
Which Is Better?
Considering all of the pros and cons, it appears that Independent Front Suspension is the best option for the majority of vehicles and is likely the best choice for yours too. However, for particularly heavy-duty vehicles, solid axle may be necessary, so it’s still dependent on the situation when IFS or solid axle is more appropriate.
Optimising Your Vehicle
If you want to get the best out of your 4×4, there are a lot of adjustments and accessories you could benefit from. Southlakes 4×4 offers a wide range of kits, tools and parts that can ensure your vehicle runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We also have a wealth of experience and knowledge, so make sure to get in touch with any questions or browse our items to improve your vehicle today!