It’s uncommon to hear about a car having coil spring failure because these springs are generally very durable and last for years. However, damage and breakage can and do happen to coil springs as well as the components that support them.
Since the springs work directly with your shocks and struts, a broken spring can sometimes be initially mistaken as other worn suspension components. Here is more information on what your coil springs do for your vehicle and what causes them to fail.
How Coil Springs Help You Handle Your Car
Coil springs have long been used to stabilize vehicles around corners and over bumps and dips. These springs basically keep the vehicle stable and all four wheels on the road. Previously, most vehicles used leaf springs, which work great on heavier vehicles but made the suspension stiffer. Coil springs allow for more range of movement.
How Coil Springs Can Break
Because springs are situated near the wheels and close to the road, they are susceptible to corrosion and damage. While many springs are coated, this coating can break down and rust can form causing cracks and breakage.
Also, a severe bump can even break an already old and weakened spring. Overloading your vehicle can cause severe strain on your springs, especially if it’s repeated over and over again.
Signs Your Coil Springs May Be Worn or Broken
The biggest sign that your coil springs are damaged is if your vehicle droops or sags on one side or corner. The drooping or sagging could be caused by one side of the vehicle being repeatedly overloaded. Your car may also sway more around turns or bounce higher than normal.
In some cases, you will hear a squeak or clunk, especially over bumps. All of these signs could indicate other suspension problems since the whole system has many components that affect each other, so a visual check is necessary.
How to Check for Broken or Damaged Coil Springs
The easiest way to check for broken springs is by doing a visual check. Springs are located near the wheel just above the axle. It is usually helpful to lift your vehicle as it will make a broken spring more visible. Be sure to safely secure the body against any dropping or another sudden movement.
If you’re lucky, the broken spring will be easy to spot near the wheel. However, it may be more difficult to spot if it’s broken in the middle or in a less visible area.
How to Repair Broken Coil Springs
The only way to safely repair a broken spring is by replacing it. While this option may seem simple, most springs are highly compressed and can be dangerous if removed without the right tools and experience. For best results, have the spring on the opposite side of the car changed as well. It is also generally recommended that new shocks be installed along with the spring.
How to Prevent Coil Spring Damage
Though metal can bend and weaken over time, in most cases, coil springs are very durable, so they require little maintenance. However, you can do a few things to help your coil springs last longer. Be careful while driving on rough roads, especially those with deep holes or bumps. Do not overload your car, especially over long time periods. And if you live in an area where they salt or use chemicals on the roads, have your undercarriage cleaned at regular intervals.
Though many people seem to ignore the coil springs on their car, they perform an extremely vital function to keep your car safe. If you have a broken coil spring, or you’re having other suspension problems with your vehicle, let the professionals at White’s Automotive Center check it out and fix it for you.