What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

What Happens If A Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring

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Your car’s suspension system is made up of several components that work together to provide a smooth and comfortable ride. One of the key elements is the suspension spring, which acts as a shock absorber to cushion the impact from bumps and dips in the road. But what happens if one of these important springs breaks?

What happens if a suspension spring breaks? A broken suspension spring can have a negative impact on your car’s handling and drivability. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of a failed spring and understand how to respond appropriately. This article explores the effects of a broken suspension spring and provides advice on next steps if you suffer this common automotive failure.

Understanding Suspension Springs

What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

Suspension springs, also known as coil springs, leaf springs, or torsion bars depending on the design, serve the vital function of absorbing impacts from the road. As the wheels move up and down over uneven surfaces, the absorber springs compress and extend to dampen the motion. This creates a smooth ride for passengers.

Springs need to be sturdy enough to support the vehicle’s weight, yet flexible enough to respond to road vibrations. They are carefully engineered and tested to match the vehicle model’s size, weight distribution and intended driving dynamics.

What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

Most modern vehicles use coil springs or a MacPherson strut design in the front suspension. The rear often has leaf springs or coil springs. Overall, springs allow the wheels to maintain contact with the road while isolating the chassis from excessive shock.

7 Signs of a Absorber Broken Spring

What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

What happens if a suspension spring breaks? A failed or broken spring may produce any of the following common signs:

  • Uneven ride height – One corner of the car appears lower than the others
  • Leaning to one side – The body tilts or leans, especially during turns
  • Excessive bouncing – Suspension bobs up and down uncontrollably over bumps
  • Knocking or clunking noise – A broken spring may make loud noises when driving over imperfections
  • Reduced handling and braking – Lack of suspension control affects overall driving dynamics
  • Misaligned wheels – Ride height differences can point wheels in slightly different directions
  • Visible damage – In some cases, a broken coil spring may protrude out of position
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These symptoms typically start gradually but worsen quickly as the spring fails further. Acting sooner rather than later is advised when symptoms appear.

Driving With a Broken Spring is Dangerous

While it may be possible to drive a short distance with a broken spring, it is not recommended. With compromised suspension, the vehicle will be unstable and extremely difficult to control.

Handling is severely impacted by the lack of spring support on one corner. Turning, braking performance, and overall responsiveness will be unpredictable and unsafe. Hitting bumps or dips can bottom out the suspension as the wheel has no spring to cushion the impact. This lack of damping makes it easier to lose traction and skid off the road.

What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

Driving any substantial distance with a broken spring often causes secondary damage too. Abnormal forces placed on other suspension components lead to premature wear of ball joints, struts, and bushings. Wheels can be knocked out of alignment, wearing down tires unevenly. Continuing to drive in this condition multiplies repair costs.

Most importantly, broken suspension parts create a dangerous loss of vehicle control. It’s simply not worth the safety risk to yourself and others on the road.

Steps to Take After a Spring Breaks

When signs of a broken spring arise, follow these steps to ensure safety and prevent further damage:

  • Pull over immediately in a safe location if you hear odd noises or feel a change in handling.
  • Inspect the car’s condition. Look for an uneven appearance indicating one corner is lower.
  • Determine if the vehicle is still drivable very short distances by testing responsiveness at low speeds. Drive only if you must get off the road.
  • Call for roadside assistance if needed. Towing may be required depending on severity and location.
  • Mark the damaged spring location so the repair shop can quickly diagnose.
  • Have the vehicle towed to a repair facility. Technicians can confirm failure and recommend appropriate parts and service.
  • Ask if other suspension components need inspection while repairs are made. Worn ball joints, struts, and bushings may need replacement after absorbing harsh forces.
  • Compare prices between repair shops if costs seem high. Spring replacement is fairly affordable unless other parts require work too.
  • Wait for full repairs before driving the vehicle again. A broken spring cannot properly support the car’s weight and dynamics.
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With the right response, a broken coil or leaf spring is fairly straightforward to remedy. But attempting to drive any real distance without this suspension component risks costly damage and serious accidents.

Causes of Broken Suspension Springs

Several factors can lead to the failure of a vehicle’s suspension spring:

What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

1. Age and Mileage

Springs naturally wear out over time. The constant compression and extension cycles applied over many miles eventually take a toll. Corrosion in salty climates also contributes to deterioration. Most springs last between 50,000-70,000 miles before needing replacement.

2. Overloading

Exceeding the vehicle’s weight capacity strains the suspension components. Large loads of cargo or passengers compress springs beyond their limits. Over time, these forces weaken the spring’s structural integrity.

3. Impacts and Accidents

Potholes, curbs, debris, and other significant impacts can bend or crack springs. Even minor accidents like bumper taps transfer energy that takes a toll. Broken springs commonly result after collisions, especially to the wheel or suspension area.

4. Worn Suspension Parts

Bad shocks or struts transfer excessive vibration to the springs and cause them to break sooner. Bushings, ball joints, and tie rods should be inspected when springs fail, as worn components contribute to early spring fatigue.

5. Manufacturing Defects

While rare, faulty materials or a production defect can lead to premature spring failure. Weak spots in the coil lead to cracks or unraveling.

With proper maintenance and avoiding curb/pothole impacts, most springs deliver reliable service life. But wear is inevitable over the vehicle’s mileage. Stay attentive for any symptoms of compromised suspension.

Repairing or Replacing Broken Springs

Repair options for a broken spring depend on the type of suspension system:

  • Coil springs can sometimes be repaired using a spring clamp if the break is small. But replacement is usually required for cracks over an inch long. Replacing both springs on the axle keeps the ride height balanced.
  • Leaf springs are not repairable, as the multiple steel leaves are permanently bonded together. The entire spring must be swapped out.
  • For MacPherson struts, the assembly must be disassembled to access the coil spring. In most cases, technicians will recommend replacing the entire strut unit for an optimized repair.
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Labor costs vary depending on the repair facility and local rates. But parts pricing is relatively standard:

  • Coil springs – $100-$300 each
  • Leaf springs – $150-$500 each
  • Complete strut assemblies – $200-$500 each

While parts are reasonably priced, any ancillary damage discovered during the repair can substantially increase the total. Be sure to approve any recommended additional work before it is performed.

Replacing just the broken side may temporarily resolve symptoms. But for optimized handling and ride quality, replacing springs and struts in pairs is recommended. Discuss options with your mechanic to decide if a full or partial replacement makes sense based on budget.

Preventing Suspension Spring Breakage

What happens if a suspension spring breaks, What Happens If A  Suspension Spring Breaks? – 7 Signs of A Absorber Broken Spring, KevweAuto

While springs will eventually fail from normal wear and tear, you can prolong their life through proper care:

  • Maintain the vehicle’s suspension system with regular inspections and alignments. Replace worn components before they damage other parts.
  • Avoid overloading the vehicle with excess cargo weight. Check your owner’s manual for capacity limits.
  • Drive carefully over bumps, potholes, curbs and debris. Impact damage can bend or crack springs.
  • Evaluate suspension and steering components after any accident or impact. Unseen damage contributes to early spring failure.
  • Clean dirt and road salt from coil and leaf springs to minimize corrosion in winter weather.
  • Consider upgrading to heavy duty suspension components if you frequently haul heavy loads.

With attentive driving habits and proper maintenance, suspension springs can deliver maximum longevity. But when failure eventually occurs, act quickly to get the spring replaced and restore safe handling characteristics.

Conclusion

Broken suspension springs disrupt the entire balance and structure of your vehicle. Failing to address this issue promptly leads to hazardous driving conditions, additional wear of other components, and escalating repair costs. While a broken spring is inconvenient, follow the steps here to prioritize safety, minimize expenses, and get your car back on the road in optimal condition. With repairs made properly, your ride will once again feel smooth, stable and controlled.

Ejenakevwe Samuel

I'm Ejenakevwe Samuel, and my blog is all about sharing the love for cars. Through my blog, I pour my heart into educating fellow car enthusiasts in everything they need to know about their beloved rides. Whether it's driving tips, maintenance tricks, or the latest trends, I aim to empower others to make informed decisions and take care of their vehicles like a pro.

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