What are suspension spring coils and how do I know when one is bad?

Your car’s suspension keeps you from swaying side to side or being bounced out of your seat when you drive down the road. It helps to keep your wheels on the road and your ride as smooth as possible.
To do that, the suspension is supported by coils which:
  • Keep your vehicle at its required height
  • Absorb the shock of passing over road irregularities such as bumps
  • Help keep your wheels in alignment
While some problems with cars are less noticeable, a faulty spring coil is fairly obvious to most drivers. Signs include the following:
  • A sagging on one side of the car where the coil is broken
  • Noise from parts of the car scraping on tires (or other car parts)
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Vehicle imbalance and sway, which can often be severe enough to interfere with driving

How can I replace a bad spring coil?

This is not a repair the casual weekend mechanic should attempt without researching the steps thoroughly. Here is an outline of the basic process:
  • Raise the car and remove the wheel from the affected area
  • Remove the ball joint and the strut
  • Remove the bad coil from the strut—
    this can be very dangerous to do as the spring may unexpectedly release its tension. Proceed with caution, following the directions for compressing the coil
  • Compress the new coil spring and replace the coil

How important is it to replace a broken spring coil?

It is very important to replace a broken spring coil. In fact, do not continue to operate your vehicle until you have the problem fixed because it can become difficult to control your car with a broken spring coil. This will make driving hazardous for you and for other drivers near you on the road.

Why should I replace at least two coil springs at a time?

Unless your car is relatively new, your mechanic will probably advise you to replace both coil springs on the same axle so both springs will be worn down at the same rate.

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