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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most of the threads here that address tires, wheels, and suspension are aimed at better handling, with a lot coming from our knowledgeable autocross folks.

I have a different aim: At 77 years old, I'm interested in making my Bolt much more forgiving of potholes. I mostly drive around on city streets these days. Range isn't an issue.

Reading the forum, I bought some 16" wheels that are 4 lbs. lighter than stock. For tires, I chose Michelin Crossclimate2' in 215/55R16 97H XL.
This setup has improved the ride as well as the handling. Although I notice a bit more road noise from the tread between 15 and 30 mph, overall I'm pleased with the softer ride, and don't miss the tires' chirping under acceleration and complaining in corners. These tires just seem to hold a line better, inspiring more confidence. (I have been known to hoon occasionally.)

But the tires and less unsprung weight can do only so much. They more effectively soak up the small bumps and dips, like from patched pavement, but the car still pounds me when driven over anything more pronounced.

Reading that the 2020 Bolts have a softer suspension, I'm wondering how I could go about tinkering with the 2017 suspension. Are the 2020 suspension components interchangeable with mine? Is their any place in the aftermarket where I can look for softer springs and shocks? Inquiring butts want to know!
 

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Underinflate 5 PSI is the low hanging fruit. It will reduce resilience against a pinch flat if you run over something hard.

You’ve addressed unsprung weight which is probably the 2nd lowest hanging fruit.

I’ll leave it there since I have no knowledge of softer suspension.
 

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According to gm parts direct, the 2020 has the same part numbers for springs and struts as the earlier years so I'm not sure how much truth there is to it having softer suspension.

BC racing coilovers are probably your best bet for creating a softer suspension. You can keep the stock ride height, change out the springs for something softer than oem, and since the shocks are rebuildable you can have them re-valved however you like.
 

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Most of the threads here that address tires, wheels, and suspension are aimed at better handling, with a lot coming from our knowledgeable autocross folks.

I have a different aim: At 77 years old, I'm interested in making my Bolt much more forgiving of potholes. I mostly drive around on city streets these days. Range isn't an issue.

Reading the forum, I bought some 16" wheels that are 4 lbs. lighter than stock. For tires, I chose Michelin Crossclimate2' in 215/55R16 97H XL.
This setup has improved the ride as well as the handling. Although I notice a bit more road noise from the tread between 15 and 30 mph, overall I'm pleased with the softer ride, and don't miss the tires' chirping under acceleration and complaining in corners. These tires just seem to hold a line better, inspiring more confidence. (I have been known to hoon occasionally.)

But the tires and less unsprung weight can do only so much. They more effectively soak up the small bumps and dips, like from patched pavement, but the car still pounds me when driven over anything more pronounced.

Reading that the 2020 Bolts have a softer suspension, I'm wondering how I could go about tinkering with the 2017 suspension. Are the 2020 suspension components interchangeable with mine? Is their any place in the aftermarket where I can look for softer springs and shocks? Inquiring butts want to know!
Consumer Reports best bet for ride comfort and otherwise fairly good performance all-weather tire is the Yokohama Avid Ascend (T)
 

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Your going for the low hanging fruit is the best bang for the buck. I suspect anything you do now is probably not going to be worth the resources. I generally like the ride and handling; we don't have a lot of potholes. But on older roads that have gotten a little "warped" from use, it can really throw you around.

Mike
 

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The Bolt doesn't have the suspension travel to accommodate softer springs. If one switched to softer springs and then put four adults in the car, it would be on the bump stops and even rougher ride.

As previously mentioned, lighter tires and wheels at 35 PSI are about all the "low-hanging fruit."

jack vines
 

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Agree with the low hanging fruit being taking the oems a couple of lbs under. I put hankook winter tires on and they ride much softer, even inflated to 42 cold. The LRR tires must have really stiff sidewalls to reduce friction.
Ultimately the cost of the electric power train has to come down so we oldsters can get our Buicks at an affordable price, lol.
 

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Too bad you have already bought new wheels, or I would suggest 15 inch wheels and 205/65R15 tires. They could shave another few pounds off the weight and add another half inch of sidewall. I use that size for winter wheels and they improve the ride on rough roads significantly, even though I keep them at 42 psi for efficiency.
 

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Probably cheaper to buy new wheels again than to attack the suspension. On TireRack, you can search for the size of wheel you're after, then sort by weight. Difficult getting all the parameters you need though (size, bolt pattern, offset, etc, etc).
 

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Before settling on my 17" Cinturato P7+, I was going back/forth with undersizing to 16" and thicker sidewalls. Like redpoint5 recommended, I used TireRack for my shopping. Oddly, during my shopping TireRack allowed for 15" wheels but when I started to warm up to them, TireRack removed the option and only had 16" wheels. I couldn't get my local Discount Tire to put on 15" wheels+tires and so TireRack was my only option.

I'm skeptical of how much 16" wheels would've helped, and LectricBill confirmed it: the change would be minimal and you'd still feel anything sizeable as your rolled over (e.g. neighborhood speedbumps).

@Titanium48 Did you put 15" wheels on yours? How was the clearance over your brakes? Can you provide the exact model of wheel you purchased? I vaguely recall some 15" wheels won't clear the brakes on the Bolt.
 

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Yes, I do have 15s on my Bolt right now.

They are Fastwheels F218 "Jet" 15x6, 40 mm offset. Brake clearance is a little over 5 mm. About 10 mm clearance to the lower portion of the strut, but the bulky plastic coated balance weights the tire shop put on the inside needed to be shaved down a mm or so to avoid contacting the strut on hard cornering (it sounded and felt like a failing CV joint).
That particular model seems to have been discontinued in the Bolt's 5x105 bolt pattern (probably why they were on sale last year), though they still seem to be available in 4x100 if you like them and you have a 4-bolt car.

If you are looking for 15 inch wheels, I'd suggest nothing wider than 6 inches and offset no larger than the OEM 44 mm. 15x6 steel wheels with 39 mm offset and 5x105 bolt pattern seem to be reasonably common and should fit, but alloys in that size seem to be a bit harder to find.
 

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Great option on the 15s but I went 16s due to not wanting to deal with things like removing/shaving down wheel weights.
 

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Yes, wheels with a smaller diameter allow a tire with a higher aspect ratio and this combination will usually ride softer.

Yes, 15" wheels are usually lighter than 16"s or 17"s.

What commonly available 15" tires have the same rolling radius as the Bolt 17"s?

jack vines
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks all.
I did try 5 lbs. under and, while a bit better, it wasn't substantially better and I've never liked the idea of rolling on underinflated tires.
When I restored the recommended 38 psi, I immediately noticed and liked the improved handling.
Knowing that the suspension can't handle the travel of a softer spring, I'm working on being happy with what I have.
Marginally better is still better. And saves money.;)
 

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Adjustable Konis in the rear set on full soft - they reduced the ride harshness noticeably on my 2020. No downside in normal driving situations. 16" wheels with taller sidewall tires helps, too.
 

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Recently took delivery of a 2022 EV LT2 and found the ride quality unacceptable. I am used to cars that are firmly sprung (as I have dedicated track cars) but the issue with the Bolt is that it "crashes" over relatively minor road imperfections and suffers from excessive ride harshness as @blimo has already mentioned . Assuming that GM used a shock with valving that can control/dampen the spring rate they selected for the Bolt, I was wondering if they took into account the spring rate of the super stiff sidewalls of the Michelin self-seal tires? I would hope so, but in any event, I changed out the Michelin run flats for Continental ProContact LS tires (same size as stock) and ride quality has improved significantly.

Just wanted to share my experience FWIW..
 

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Recently took delivery of a 2022 EV LT2 and found the ride quality unacceptable. I am used to cars that are firmly sprung (as I have dedicated track cars) but the issue with the Bolt is that it "crashes" over relatively minor road imperfections and suffers from excessive ride harshness as @blimo has already mentioned . Assuming that GM used a shock with valving that can control/dampen the spring rate they selected for the Bolt, I was wondering if they took into account the spring rate of the super stiff sidewalls of the Michelin self-seal tires? I would hope so, but in any event, I changed out the Michelin run flats for Continental ProContact LS tires (same size as stock) and ride quality has improved significantly.

Just wanted to share my experience FWIW..
Thanks for your input.
So much for the rumors that the 2022 suspension has been revised. I’m looking forward to test driving a EUV to see if it rides better and has more comfortable seats.
 
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