Understanding Your Vehicle's Springs

There are a multitude of applications for a used coil springs suspension system. The majority of front-wheel-drive vehicles are built with coil springs which are assembled to the strut basically coiling around it. Larger and much heavier duty vehicles place the coils between the chassis and the frame and feature shocks as a completely separate suspension element.

In another popular segment of the aftermarket parts market are coil over shocks. Similar to a strut, the coil wraps around the entire shock but it does not usually bolt to the steering knuckle like a strut does. You need to change shocks and struts much more frequently than a regular set of used coil springs, but make sure to thoroughly check the used springs when you decide to replace any suspension components.

Even a good set of used coil springs may become compromised after long periods of time therefore you need to pay attention to the longevity of the springs. Moreover, depending on how they are used on the vehicle, many coil springs can actually last as long as the vehicle can. The reality is that there is not really any sort of expiration date on springs. There are only a few things that you need to pay attention to when inspecting your car or truck's suspension system.

Even though it is the springs that support the entire weight of a car, it is the shocks or struts that hinder the bouncing after encounter rough or uneven terrain. You can test this by simply bouncing the front or the rear end of suspension of your car and count how many bounces take place after you release the car. A total of 2 or more full bounces may mean that you may have very weak shocks or struts. This is when you need to determine the cause of this. The overall age of these parts is likely the determining factor. Coil springs are definitely much more durable than a set of shocks or struts. In many instances simply replacing the shocks or struts will return the vehicle back to its original level of performance.

On the other hand, weak shocks or struts will wear down coil springs if left unattended for an extended period of time. As the coils begin to become weak, you will start to notice thumping sounds or bottling out more often especially when going over speed bumps. The reason for this is that the coils are not able to administrator stability to the weight of the car anymore.

Furthermore, weakened coils can cause irreparable damage to your car's shocks or struts since their rebound distance will be much higher than the components were designed to handle. Weak coils will ruin the ride height of the vehicle and if left unattended may jeopardize the alignment as well. Measuring the ride height of the vehicle and comparing that with the specifications will aid you in figuring out whenever the used coils are working properly together with the shocks and struts.

There are some cars that have an extended and well known history of breaking coil springs so these are one to look out for. It can be an extremely hazardous situation depending on the position of the break in the coil spring. Since springs are positioned very close to the tires, it's not rare for a broken spring to rub against the sidewall of a tire and inadvertently puncture it causing a flat tire or even worse a blowout of the tire.

Upon examining a set of used coil springs or used lower springs, run your hands all the way around the coils from the front all the way to the back. You will notice that some coil springs make us of a protective cover that can conceal the break. However, if you attempt to run your hands around the symmetrical coil you will feel a slight abnormality.

Furthermore, another thing to listen to and look for is a squeaking sound or binding of the strut bearing plate on strut applications. Attempt this by turning the steering wheel back and forth and listening for binding or squeaking sounds. Damaged bearing plates will cause the coil springs to react in ways they were not designed to do and over the course of time wear them out.

An important thing to pay attention to is when you should consider replacing your current coil springs with a set of good quality second hand used springs. You definitely should not replace them each time you replace your shocks or struts. To start off with, inspect the coil springs every time you change any suspension parts. Idler arms, ball joints, pitman arms, tie rod ends and control arms that are damaged in any way can all cause damage on the spring and shock or strut.

Take a moment to measure the ride height of your car, van, truck or SUV, and then compare it with the manufacturer specifications. As the coil spring supports the weight of the vehicle, one that is performing significantly below its' determine specifications may likely have been compromised springs. Additionally, examine in contrast the ride height side to side on the same axle. The coil springs are separate elements and it is plausible that one side can become weak while nothing is wrong with the other side. Even though this may cause one side of the car to sag lower make sure you replace both just in case. A key point is to always change your shocks, struts, coil or leaf springs in complete sets as opposed to individually.

You may well wonder whether you should always change shocks or struts when replacing your springs with a set of good used springs. Although many people will debate the necessity of it, unless you know how long your existing set of coil springs has been compromised, you need to be aware of the fact that that shock or strut has taken up the slack of the spring. If you are looking for a more comfortable and better performing ride from your vehicle then you definitely need to consider replacing the shocks or struts every time you change to a set of high quality used coil springs. If you are looking to save a buck or two then this option may not be for you. However, you need to realize that you may not be saving money in the long run. Remember, you need to remove coil over shocks and struts and compress them when trying to remove the coil springs from their assemblies. Therefore, if you choose to cut costs in these situations you may be stuck with additional expensive labor costs or wasted time in trying only to change to a set of used lowering springs without replacing your shocks or struts.