We’ve seen a lot of weird stuff over the years. From cut coils to heated springs and everything else that implies, there’s a lot of different ways that suspensions can be modified. But what about when things go wrong? What’re the signs of bad suspension springs?
Turns out there are quite a few of them, and we’ve taken the time to break it all down for you. Let’s spring into it.
Let’s start with the basics.
Chances are pretty good that you know the gist of how a suspension works, but just in case, let’s talk it through.
The springs on your car or truck are designed to support the weight of the vehicle, and then allow the suspension to move through its range of motion. Springs come in a lot of different sizes and shapes, too. There are coil springs that go between control arms; springs that go onto a strut; leaf springs that hold up an axle; and torsion bars, which serve the same purpose, but are straight, splined pieces of spring steel held in place by keyed parts. Note that the spring is not responsible for dampening your ride — that’s the shock’s job. No, springs just do the heavy lifting, and that’s it.
So if one goes bad, it’s not a great sign.
The fix? In every case it’s replacement. You don’t want to mess around with trying to fix something like a spring, because it just doesn’t work that way.
Sign 1: Your car or truck is leaning to one side.
Yeah, if your vehicle tilts to one side or the other, you’ve got a bad spring. But why does this happen? Overloading is one scenario. Age is another. There are a ton of reasons why it could happen, but if your car or truck tilts in one way or another, that’s a sign of a bad suspension spring.
Sign 2: Your suspension cycles too much.
If your vehicle is bottoming out the suspension all the time, or you feel it oscillating up and down more than it used to, chances are it’s the springs. Maybe it’s bouncing too much when you hit a dip, or it just doesn’t stop bouncing, either. Too much travel one direction or another is a bad sign.
Now you could make the argument that the shocks have to be bad for you to notice this problem, and that’s correct. But if the springs are bad, the shocks will be doing more work than they were designed to handle, and that means they won’t be able to effectively do their job, either.
Sign 3: Your tires are wearing wonky.
Think about it: If your suspension is cycling up and down excessively, what does that do to your tires? Not great things, frankly. The wheels will go from neutral to negative then positive camber. The toe might shift, too, and between both of those, you’re in for a world of hurt. That means your tires are getting way more use than usual, and they’re going to show the results on their tread pattern. If you’ve got signs of abnormal tire wear, then you’ve got signs of bad suspension springs.
Sign 4: Heavy Duty Sway
Let’s say you’re driving around town and you take a right turn at a stop light. As you do, your car lurches heavily over to the driver’s side, almost bottoming out in the process. At this point you weren’t going very fast, so everything is ok. But what if you were going faster? How scary would that be?
This too is a sign of bad suspension springs. Your vehicle shouldn’t bottom out in any situation, much less when you’re turning a corner.
What should you do about it? Fix it.
If you’re experiencing any of these problems, you should get it fixed — now. These aren’t aesthetic, they’re safety issues, and they need to be addressed ASAP. If you don’t, then you risk getting yourself into a serious accident, and nobody wants that. Don’t risk your health and safety over something like this. Get it fixed, and do it now. You’ll be grateful that you did.