Your vehicle’s suspension system is critical in maintaining proper control and a smooth ride. The suspension system is actually part of something called a chassis. It joins with other important components found beneath your car which includes:
- The frame (chassis)
- The steering system
- Tires & Wheels
Types of Springs
There are four types of car springs used in modern cars:
- Coil Spring Suspension – By far the most common type of springing system. Front coil springs are often used with another type of spring in the back of the car. A coil suspension spring is nothing more than a heavy-duty torsion bar which the manufacturer coils around a specific axis.
- Leaf Springs – Several metal layers are fused together to become a single spring. Leaf springs saw their first use in horse-drawn carriages and stayed in use until 1985 on most American cars. They are still used today on most heavy-duty vehicles and trucks.
- Air Springs – As with leaf springs, these were first used on horse-drawn carriages. Until 1930 they were leather diaphragms filled with air. From 1930 until the present, manufacturers have used molded rubber.
- Torsion Bars – Although torsion bars do not have springs in their name, they use the twisting properties of a bar of steel for giving coil spring-like capability. One end of the bar is attached to the car’s frame and the other to a “wishbone.” The wishbone functions as a lever with perpendicular movement to the torsion bar. These were used extensively in European cars and Chrysler during the 1950s and the 1960s, but are a little less common nowadays.
When to Replace Suspension Springs
For many cars, the suspension springs rarely need to be fully replaced. However, if your car is leaning to one side or your ride is much bumpier than usual, it’s best to bring it to a technician so they can check your suspension springs. Technicians will also check your suspension springs during routine maintenance and will look for worn out shock absorbers or other suspension parts causing extra wear on the springs. Broken springs and other suspension issues should be immediately repaired or replaced to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.