The springs in your vehicle probably aren't something you think about until there's a problem or you've decided to upgrade suspension parts in the interest of sportier handling. But what specifically do springs do? In short, they play a major role in the safe handling and ride comfort of your vehicle. Not only do they keep a vehicle at a designated standing height, they provide recoil necessary to bounce back after suspension components move up and down over uneven road surfaces.
Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over By themselves, springs will continue to bounce up and down for a long time unless a motion damper such as a shock absorber is present to keep things stable. Springs can be soft and extremely bouncy, or they can be stiffer and less bounce-prone. When it comes to simple, basic springs made of metal that don't require electricity, hydraulics, or air pressure to function, there are three main types. In this article, we'll examine those three types to help you understand how each one functions, and how they differ from one another.
We'll also guide you to the appropriate sections of our website if you're in need of original equipment style replacement suspension components or performance upgrades that yield changes in handling or ride height.
Because the types of springs fitted as original equipment on the front of many vehicles differ from those fitted on the rear, our website Product Options field will automatically provide guidance in that category for any make and model.
Coil springs are made from hardened and tempered steel, wound in a spiral formation. Most modern passenger cars built in the last few decades feature coil springs at all four wheels, and an increasing number of pickups and SUVs are now equipped with them in the front as well as the rear. On MacPherson type struts, a coil spring is mounted around a shock absorber - both of which are attached to the strut itself. On other vehicles without struts, coil springs and shock absorbers are mounted separately.
Coil springs can be firm, soft, or have a spring rate that varies. As a pound-per-square-inch measurement, spring rate is the force required to compress "Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over" coil spring 1 inch. The higher the per-inch spring rate, the stiffer the spring.
Spring rate is also used to describe whether a spring has the same rate of compression at all points during its travel "linear"gets progressively stiffer the more it compresses "progressive"or is specially configured to change characteristics abruptly "dual rate". Coil springs allow the most flexibility when it comes to variable rate characteristics.
For trucks, variable rate coil springs allow a Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over ride when the vehicle is unloaded. As weight is added, the spring rate becomes stiffer to increase stability without the ill effects of bouncing, and it prevents the ride height from dropping significantly.
For performance-oriented cars with a low ride height, variable rate springs allow better absorption of bumps during normal street use, then become stiffer around turns to reduce body roll during aggressive driving. Coil springs can also allow for a greater amount of up and down wheel travel, which is a huge advantage on rutted and rocky off-road trails.
Coil springs aren't as well suited to carrying heavy loads as leaf springs are. With coil springs, vehicle weight is concentrated onto a smaller surface area of the vehicle frame, while leaf springs spread a load out more evenly.
To save overall weight on cars that keep getting heavier with additional standard and optional equipment, some manufacturers have taken to making coil springs lighter and thinner. Unfortunately, this makes them more subject to cracking and breaking under pressure - especially if corrosion sets in.
What would be non-threatening surface rust on more robust springs can cause thinner ones be significantly compromised.
Some vehicle manufacturers have applied durable surface coatings around the springs - both for corrosion resistance and to prevent any broken shards from flying loose and puncturing tires. As coil springs age, they naturally lose their resilience and start to sag, causing ride height to drop.
So if your vehicle droops at the front or rear, those springs are probably worn out. If there's a noticeable difference in ride height between the left and right side of the vehicle, a coil spring may be broken.
Either of these problems will Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over especially obvious when even a small amount of weight is added - such as one or two passengers in the rear seat.
Broken coil springs also tend to generate some kind of noise as things shift. Because coil springs are often fitted to vehicles with more sophisticated independent, multi-link suspension systems, improper ride height has more of a negative effect on wheel alignment and tire wear. If you think your ride height may be sagging, vehicle manufacturers typically list ride height specifications in owner manuals and on the internet.
It's easy to make a measurement yourself for comparison purposes. When you think it's time to replace those springs, we've got a wide selection of springs and related items. And if you appreciate manual adjustability for ride height and stiffness, take a look at our individual springs for coilovers. Leaf springs are literally older than the automobile itself, having been in use since the earliest horse-driven carriages traveled the countryside.
Very simple in layout, a leaf spring setup is composed of one or more lengths of arched spring steel. Each arched steel piece is known as a leaf, and one or more leaves may be stacked on top of each other and mounted above or below a solid non-independent axle beam assembly.
Because they are bolted to the axleleaf springs support the weight of the vehicle and serve to secure the axle to the vehicle frame.
A single leaf setup typically found on small lightweight cars is known as a "mono leaf" spring, while multiple leaves stacked on top of each other are known as "multi leaf" springs. Both types of setups have a "main leaf" that features curved ends with round bushings built into them known as eyes. Since a mono leaf spring is comprised of only one leaf, that leaf serves as the main attachment leaf.
On multi-leaf setups where additional leaves become progressively shorter in length, the longest leaf serves as the main attachment leaf. While the front eye of the main leaf is typically mounted directly to the vehicle frame, shackles are often used at the rear to allow flex as the leaf springs elongate under compression. One end of the shackle is attached to the vehicle frame, the other to the rear eye.
Mono leaves were developed by automakers who were trying to create a better ride for lightweight passenger cars. Because these springs are thickest at their center and thinnest at their end points, a variable spring rate is produced which yields a soft, flexible ride that stiffens up for better control around corners. The overlapping creates a stiffer spring than a standard mono leaf without adding much weight. Split mono leaves are popular choices for older muscle cars used in drag racing, so you won't find them as standard Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over. Because leaf springs are best suited to heavy vehicles that carry large payloads, they're most commonly found on solid axles of pickups, SUVs, and larger trucks not equipped with air suspension.
On these vehicles as well as older body-on-frame cars, leaf springs are mounted longitudinally from front-to-rear alongside frame rails.
On other occasions, leaf springs have been mounted transversely from left-to-right on various front and rear suspensions. Leaf springs are the simplest setup, with the fewest number of moving parts to wear out.
Unlike coil springs, leaves serve to keep the rear axle in place so the need for complex suspension linkages is eliminated. When a lot of weight is being carried, leaf springs spread the load out more evenly across the vehicle's chassis than coil or torsion bar springs.
Additionally, the friction produced between multiple leaves as they slide helps damp the natural up-down rebounding effect of springs - making the ride steadier and reducing the work that shock absorbers must do.
When leaf springs are bolted directly to rear axles, torque generated during hard acceleration or braking can cause axle wind-up which creates vibration, rear-end squat, and nose-diving. Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over mounting also requires leaf springs to have a stiffer spring rate - reducing ride comfort levels that softer springs would provide.
When worn leaf springs lose their resilience, they begin to sag. Vehicle ride height drops Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over a direct result, so it's a good idea to measure ride height yourself and compare it to the manufacturer's specifications if you feel there's a problem. Along with lowered ride height and lost spring bounce come complications such as bottoming out much easier over bumps - something that's harmful to suspension components and possibly to your payload.
When leaf springs become worn, the leaves can develop visible cracks and corrosion. Sometimes if corrosion and wear are bad enough, a leaf can break in two - with a section of it falling off the vehicle entirely.
When rubber bushings in spring eyes and shackles dry up and crumble, cushioning is lost and ride harshness significantly increases. Want to see what your options are for replacement leaf springs? These will restore your ride quality to factory new specifications. There are also shackles and spring pads along with mounts, bushings, and other hardware.
Leaf springs were almost universally used on the rear axle of rear-wheel-drive RWD American passenger cars from the s through the s. The Chrysler Corporation continued to use them through the s. When carmakers began to switch to front-wheel-drive platforms, rear leaf springs were tossed in favor of coil springs. Most traditional pickup trucks used leaf springs in the rear AND front suspensions through the s, as these vehicles had non-independent suspensions at all four corners.
As pickups matured and gained independent front suspension, they switched to coils or torsion bars in the front. Many Micro midget torsion bar verses coil over trucks and vans continue with rear leaf springs today.
Torsion Bars don't flatten out like a leaf spring or compress like a coil spring.