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Car and Truck Coil Springs

Car and truck coil springs are very simple devices that do a very important job. They are very dependable, but sometimes they become worn. If your trusty car is giving you a harsh ride, has developed a slight tilt, or is making creaking noises from the front end, it may be time to take a look at the springs.

How do car and truck coil springs work?

Coil springs are a component of the suspension system of your car or truck. They work together with the shock absorbers to give you a smoother ride and surer handling. The coil springs compress and expand to keep you from feeling every pothole and bump. The springs also help support the weight of the vehicle, and their degree of stiffness plays a large role in the comfort of your ride.

How many coil springs does a car or truck have?

Most cars have two coil springs in their suspensions. There is one associated with each front wheel. It is usually recommended that you replace both springs at the same time. There are a few vehicle models that have rear springs as well.

How do you know when to replace coil springs?

Coil springs are very durable parts, and they rarely need to be replaced. What does sometimes happen is that the shocks or struts begin to fail, which causes extra stress on the coils. If you don’t replace these other parts of the suspension soon enough, the coils can become damaged to the point that they will fail, too.

When coils lose their bounce, you may feel the front end of the vehicle “bottom out” when you hit a bump. You may even hear parts of the chassis clunking against each other because the springs can no longer support the frame. Sometimes you can feel irregularities when you run your hand over the springs. If your vehicle sits lower on one side than the other, that is another sign that you may have a bad spring.

What are the types of coil springs?

Helical springs: These springs have consistent compression along their lengths. When you apply a load, they press back against the load in a constant, predictable way. You can change the stiffness of helical springs by changing the diameter or the shape of the wire they are made from. Most cars have helical springs as the original equipment.

Progressively wound springs: This type is wound tighter toward the top of the spring. This allows it to become more resistant the more it is compressed. If you frequently drive over widely varying terrain, you may want to switch to progressively wound springs for a smoother ride and better handling.

What are some of the features of coil springs?
  • Shape: Springs may be cylinders, cone-shaped, or wider in the middle.
  • Load rating: Stiffer springs can support heavier loads than more flexible springs can. Some coil springs are heavy duty to withstand the load of larger trucks.
  • Materials: Coil springs may be made from stainless steel, steel alloys, non-ferrous materials, and high-carbon wire.