When it comes to coilovers, TEIN is a name your hear often, particularly when it comes to JDM cars. From car tuning to professional racing, TEIN coilovers are a common choice and have only been growing in popularity. However, are they actually good?
The short answer is yes. TEIN is an extremely reputable coilover manufacturer from Japan who make some of the best coilovers ranging from $500 street coilovers to $5000 full race spec kits, and will even make you a custom, one-off coilover kit for your car.
Let’s take a deeper look to answer the question more thoroughly and look into their coilover options.
About TEIN (The Company)
In order to answer whether TEIN coilovers are any good, I think it’s a good idea to start by looking into the company itself.
TEIN are based in Yokohama, Japan, and their products are manufactured either in the Japanese plant, or in the case of the replacement damper lines and lower priced products, in their manufacturing plant in China. However, they offer the same manufacturer warranty for all items, regardless of whether they were manufactured in Japan or China.
What’s interesting about TEIN is that they design and build suspension parts based on where that part is being sold, and the road conditions of that area, as well as the vehicle’s specification. So TEIN suspension sold to certain parts of Europe will actually be different to suspension sold to West Coast of America, for example. This makes them very unique, as they are one of the few brands who do something like this. Most other companies, especially lower priced coilover brands, just sell generic parts to everybody.
Another interesting thing about TEIN is that even though they may not make a lot of profit on the lower end items, what they do make from the more expensive kits they put back into R&D for the lower priced kits, making them extremely advanced for the price point. They also do extensive testing on all their products to ensure a long life, a comfortable ride and optimal performance.
They sell a very wide range of coilovers for almost every car including:
- Acura Integra
- Acura RSX
- Acura TL
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Honda S2000
- Infiniti G35
- Infiniti G37
- Lexus GS300
- Lexus IS300
- Mazda Miata & MX5
- Mitsubishi Evo X
- Nissan 350Z
- Nissan 370Z
- Scion FRS
- Subaru BRZ
- Subaru WRX
- Toyota GT86
- And many more
In fact, they have around 1 million applications, at prices ranging from $500 to $5000, so no matter what your car or your budget is, TEIN will have a quality product to meet your needs.
They also sell replacement shocks for all their coilovers. So if you blow a shock, you don’t need to buy a whole new set of coilovers like you do with most other brands.
Let’s take a look at some of their coilover lines in more detail.
TEIN Street Basis Z Coilover Review
The Basis Z coilovers are TEIN’s entry level option. Being the lowest price coilover TEIN sell, they are naturally the most popular. However, given the low price point (around $600 depending on the car) they are the ones with the least amount features. They are also one of the TEIN models that are assembled in China rather than Japan.
The TEIN Street Basis Z coilovers are designed for people who want to replace their factory suspension and are just after ride height adjustability and don’t need adjustable dampening or camber. These coilovers mount to the OEM shock mounts/top hats, you don’t get adjustable top hats with them.
Basis Z’s come with pre-adjusted twin tube shocks which TEIN have specifically designed to handle a lowered ride height, while offering enough shock travel to give you a comfortable ride and longer shock life. Basis Z coilovers are designed to be more comfortable than a car running lowering springs and OEM shocks, which is perfect if you are just wanting to lower your car and have the height adjustability.
People generally report these to be pretty soft due to the spring rate, so good for comfortable daily drivers and cars that are more for looks rather than full on performance. Remember that they don’t have camber or dampening adjustability.
They are generally adjustable from 0″ to 5″ (13cm) lower than factory, depending on the vehicle. However, some people report compromised ride quality when going lower than 2”. This will obviously depend on the model.
The shocks are non-rebuildable in the Street Basis Z’s, however you can buy replacement shocks so you won’t need to replace your entire coilover kit if you blow a shock or two.
I did quite a bit of digging online to try to find anything negative about them, and the only comments I could find were about very minor things like the dust covers getting worn by the threads, or the adjustment tool not fitting 100% on the collar. Otherwise, everyone who bought them seems to like them a lot.
So they’re a good option if you are on a budget or just want the looks but still want decent coilovers.
TEIN Street Advance Z Coilover Review
The TEIN Street Advance Z coilovers are a step up from the Street Basis Z’s and their main feature is the fact that they have 16-level dampening adjustable shocks. This allows you to fine tune the ride from soft to stiff depending on how you like it and what you are using the car for. The adjustment is done at the top of the shock by an adjustment tool or Allen key (hex head).
While they are still a street coilover and not designed as a dedicated performance/track setup, they do allow more adjustability than the Basis Z’s and will let you fine tune the ride for more comfort or performance than the Basis Z’s.
You can also use TEIN’s EDFC (Electronic dampening Force Controller) system (sold separately here) with the Street Advance Z’s which allows you to adjust the shocks from the driver’s seat. This system consists of units that attach to the top of the shock and do the adjustment electronically based on what you set the controller to.
EDFC Active allows you to adjust the front and rears separately, while EDFC Pro allows you to adjust each shock individually. Both allow you to adjust your shocks while driving the car. It’s a pretty cool feature really.
Like the Basis Z’s, the Street Advance Z’s also use the OEM strut mounts, are non-rebuildable and they are also assembled in China. They will also lower the car from 0” to around 5” (13cm) depending on the application.
They will cost you about $100 more than the Basis Z’s and are a good option if you want to have control over your ride quality and be able to adjust the stiffness of the shock. For such a small price difference, you really may as well go for the Street Advance Z’s and get the option of adjustable dampening.
TEIN Flex Z Coilover Review
Now we are getting more into the performance spec stuff.
The TEIN Flex Z’s are still a street coilover, however they are designed for performance driving and are the next step up, having several additional features over the Street Advance Z’s. They are also fully manufactured and assembled in Yokohama, Japan, making them a true JDM coilover.
The TEIN Flex Z coilovers also have 16-level dampening adjustability, unlike the Street Basis Z and the Street Advance Z, the Flex Zs allow you to adjust the ride height by the shock body, rather than the spring perch. This allows you to set the spring preload and use the full travel of the shock no matter what height you are running at.
This not only improves ride quality but also prolongs the life of the shocks, because you won’t be bottoming out all the time if you are running super low.
On the Flex Z’s, the shock shaft is actually longer than on the Street Advance Z’s, giving you even more travel at all height settings.
They are also compatible with TEIN’s EDFC system mentioned earlier which allows you to adjust your dampening settings electronically from inside the car.
The springs on the Flex Z’s are typically a bit stiffer than on the Street Advance Z’s and also come in the standard 2.5” ID, meaning it is very easy to get replacement springs in different spring rates if you so desire.
The Flex Z’s also come with upper strut mounts, either as reinforced rubber mounts or camber adjustable pillow ball mounts on MacPherson strut models. (NOTE: Some applications use the vehicle’s OEM strut mounts.)
While the Flex Z dampers are still not rebuildable, they are designed as replaceable inserts, and individual replacement dampers can be bought from TEIN. Not only that, they can be specified to your exact valving requirements and stroke length. So if you are not 100% happy with the valving of the coilovers from factory, you can order replacement shocks with your desired specifications.
People have reported that the Flex Z’s last a really long time, and are super durable, meaning you won’t need to replace the coilovers any time soon. And if you do, you can buy replacement damper inserts meaning you won’t have to buy an entire set of new coilovers.
The TEIN Flex Z’s are an excellent performance coilover at a very competitive price – They can be found as low as $735 brand new. Coilovers of this quality with these features are almost unheard of in this price range, making the Flex Z’s perfect if you are looking to spend under $1000 and want a performance coilover which can handle track days.
TEIN Flex A Coilover Review
TEIN Flex A coilovers are ones you hear of less frequently. These coilovers are similar to the Flex Z’s but also feature a special Hydraulic Bump Stopper (H.B.S.) which TEIN say has been tested and proven in the World Rally Championship and European Rally Championship.
The H.B.S. is mounted inside the shock absorber at the bottom (as opposed to a bump stop on the shaft), which effectively generates damping force near or at full-bump, absorbing big impacts smoothly.
This is meant to not only greatly improve ride quality but also minimize the unstabling effects that hitting bumpstops and bottoming out a shock can have on the car (we’ve all seem the video of a slammed car hitting a bump and spinning out due to bottoming out).
This basically means that if you run your car super low, these coilovers will ensure that you are not constantly bouncing off the bumpstops, but rather enjoy a much smoother ride and won’t end up in one of those videos mentioned earlier. These coilovers are also useful if you often have a car with full occupancy (lots of people or luggage).
Like the Flex Z’s, the TEIN Flex A’s also have the 16-level adjustability and also allow you to adjust the height of the shock independently from the spring by adjusting the shock body rather than winding the spring up and down. This means you can set the spring pre-load properly and get to use the whole length of the shock absorber travel while being able to set the ride height at its lowest setting.
Flex A’s also come with the upper strut mounts in either reinforced rubber or pillow ball configuration – with the pillow ball mounts allowing for camber adjustment on the front (NOTE: Some vehicle models use the OEM mount).
Unlike the other coilovers so far, Flex A shocks can be overhauled, which also allows them to be revalved to suit your requirements if the factory valving isn’t quite right.
They are also compatible with the EDFC system which allows you to adjust the shocks on the fly from inside the car using the electronic controller.
Flex A’s are manufactured and assembled by TEIN in Japan at their Yokohama plant. So if you are looking for a true Japanese made coilover, Flex A’s are it.
TEIN Track Day and Motorsport Coilovers
If you are looking for coilovers specifically for motorsport, TEIN has a range of lines depending on the type of racing. While these are beyond the scope of this post, I will list them out here. You can find out more info about all of these on TEIN’s website.
Track Day / Performance Coilovers
- Mono Sport (Performance designed for the road)
- Mono Racing (Designed for track use)
Track / Competition Coilovers
- Super Drift (Drifting)
- Type HT (Gymkhana)
- Super Racing (Circuit)
- Type N1 (Circuit)
Gravel / Rally Coilovers
- Type Gr. N Standard Spec (Rally)
- Type Gr. N F.R.S. Spec (Rally)
- Type Gravel & G. Tech Springs (Entry level gravel racing)
- Type HG (Rally and dirt trail racing
Custom TEIN Coilovers – Specialized Damper Program
TEIN will also make you fully custom coilovers under the Specialized Damper program for any car to any specification you require. This includes the shock absorbers, springs and upper mounts, along with any other parts required. This includes making factory replacement shocks and springs. So if you need coilovers or suspension and there are no options for your car or your particular specifications, TEIN will make it happen.
TEIN is one of the most popular coilover manufacturers on the planet for good reason. They make very high quality coilovers at a very good price, usually far cheaper than other brands’ equivalent coilovers.
They have used clever engineering and systems to produce coilovers that are low priced, long lasting, perform well, provide good ride comfort and can be serviced quicker and cheaper than most other coilovers.
No matter what your budget or requirements, TEIN will have an option for you. I wouldn’t hesitate to put a set of TEIN coilovers on my car.
FAQ About TEIN Coilovers
Is TEIN From Japan?
Yes, TEIN is based in Yohohama, Japan, and all TEIN coilovers are designed and developed in Japan. Their coilover models from the Flex Z up are also manufactured and assembled in their Japanese plant, which makes them true JDM coilovers.
How Long Do TEIN Coilovers Last?
According to TEIN’s website:
“The recommended Overhaul Service Interval for TEIN Dampers is 3 Years/ 36,000 miles (58,000 kms) if the damper is used only for daily driving/paved road use.”
Some people have reported that their TEIN coilovers have lasted as long as 120,000 kms (80,000 miles). So I think it’s fair to say that TEIN coilovers last a fairly long time, you won’t have to worry about them blowing quickly if you bought them new.
A lot of it will depend on how often you drive the car, on what kind of roads, in what conditions and whether you track the car or not. The harder you are on them, the shorter they are likely to last, but that’s the same with any suspension. There’s no reason or evidence to say the TEINs will last less than any other coilover kit.
How Can You Tell If TEIN Coilovers Are Fake?
There are a number of fake TEIN products in the market and TEIN has actually released documentation which shows you the differences between genuine TEIN products and fake ones. The images below are from TEIN’s website and will help you spot fake TEIN suspension:
Fake TEIN coilovers also don’t have proper corrosion protection and tend to rust, especially on the threads:
Can TEIN Coilovers Be Rebuilt?
It depends on the model. TEIN builds their street coilovers with sealed shocks in an effort to keep the price low. However, TEIN do sell replacement shocks for all their coilovers, so if you need to replace a shock you can just buy a replacement and swap it in.
This is actually quicker than getting the shocks rebuilt, and won’t put your car out of action for days while you wait for the coilovers to be returned.
Models designed for track use, such as the Mono Sport, can be rebuilt.