Before we get into the importance of subframe connectors, let’s first talk about what vehicle subframes are.

What is a Subframe?

A subframe is a discrete structural component in vehicles.

That’s a fancy way of saying that a subframe is separate from the vehicle frame (in a body-on-frame configuration), or separate from a vehicle’s body shell (in unibody applications).

A subframe can exist as an entire assembly that includes major vehicle components like an engine cradle or suspension mounts (see photo below), or a subframe can simply be a system of reinforcement bars used to strengthen the unibody.

The subframe design is pretty common. You’ll find subframes in varying forms in many vehicles, including the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang.


This is a subframe from an early Camaro. It attaches to the rest of the Camaro’s body, and supports the engine and front suspension. (Image/Super Chevy)

The problem with subframes in a performance vehicle boils down to chassis rigidity.

It’s common knowledge that when it comes to carving corners, the stiffer the better. That’s where subframe connectors come in.

The Benefit of Subframe Connectors

Aftermarket companies like Hotchkis have stepped up to address subframe rigidity with subframe connectors.

The increased structural rigidity that subframe connectors provide helps to mitigate the effects of flex under hard cornering/acceleration and allows vehicle suspensions to achieve their highest potential.

More importantly, subframe connectors are critical for vehicles running big-power motors, as the additional stresses from torque and acceleration can wreak havoc on a stock chassis.

Should You Use Subframe Connectors?

The gang at Hotchkis knows a thing or two about chassis rigidity. They’ve been making race-spec chassis and suspension parts for more than 30 years.

Check out this instructional video on subframe connectors starring none other than John Hotchkis himself, featuring a vintage Mustang.

This video demonstrates how subframe connectors can be invaluable to performance vehicles.

We’re All About the Brace 

All performance vehicles can benefit from increased chassis rigidity.

Hotchkis and a bunch of other companies make chassis stiffeners that strengthen a vehicle’s body structure. The added chassis strength can further improve handling, suspension predictability, and your vehicle’s ability to play nice with a high-horsepower engine.

Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.