The car springs may not be as glamorous as other car parts like rims, wheels, and bumpers, but these work as hard as any other part of your ride. Car springs are among the hardest workers in a vehicle’s suspension system, maintaing ride height and absorbing energy transmitted from the wheels over various types of surfaces. This only underscores the need to be knowledgeable in shopping for car springs. This article will guide you in choosing the right springs for your car.
Types of Springs
To be able to choose the right spring for your vehicle, you should first familiarize yourself with the various types of springs. There are four spring types—coil, leaf, coil over, and lowered springs. Each type has its pros and cons.
Coil springs may just be the easiest to visualize, even for a neophyte driver. It looks like a coiled spring that you see everywhere. This type of spring is preferred by many motorists because of advantages like adjustability, longevity longevity and weight.
Coil springs are often used in old cars and trucks, particularly on the front suspension between the lower and upper control arms. It can carry really heavy loads, although the downside is that this type of spring doesn’t necessarily offer the smoothest of rides. This is the reason why coil springs aren’t used in newer vehicles.
The other older type of spring used in trucks and older vehicles is leaf springs. It is typically composed of several thin strips of metals called leaves. These metal strips are arranged on top of each other, forming a single piece. Most leaf springs are curved, enabling them to absorb impact.
Leaf springs are often placed toward the rear of the vehicle. This kind of spring is commonly used in old cars and trucks. Like coil springs, leaf spring is not commonly used in contemporary vehicles because it doesn’t offer a smooth ride.
Since coil and leaf springs are usually used in older cars, it’s safe to say you won’t likely use them in your vehicle.
The two other spring types are the ones you’ll likely get for your car. The first is coil over spring. It consists of a coil spring sitting over a shock absorber. This design allows the spring to absorb impact on the road. It is widely available as an aftermarket addition.
There are many reasons why coil over spring is popular among motorists. One is that it provides good handling. Many drivers say that cars with coil over springs can easily handle corners.
Another advantage of coil over springs is that these are adjustable. It’s a very attractive option for the motorist who desires a ‘low ride’ for his car. It can also be adjusted high for off-road vehicles.
Of course, there are also disadvantages of coil over springs. Perhaps the most glaring con is the price. Coil over springs are very expensive. Another disadvantage is that it can lead to a stiff and uncomfortable ride. This may be something you want if you’re hitting the race track, but certainly not for your daily commutes.
Also, some coil over springs can eat up more than their share of space. It can come in contact with other parts of the car like the sway bar and even cables for anti-lock brake systems.
Lowered springs may appear to be the same as coil over springs. After all, both types can lower your car. But the difference is that unlike coil over springs, lowered springs don’t offer any adjustments.
This type of spring can lower the center of gravity of the car, and adjust its spring rate. The spring rate pertains to the amount of weight needed to deflect a spring by one inch. The lower the spring rate is, the smoother the ride that the car gives.
Things to Consider in Choosing Springs
With the different types of springs to choose from, you could get confused on which kind to get for your car. Here are some factors to consider when selecting springs.
- Your objectives. For most motorists, their objective with their vehicles is the main consideration in choosing springs. For instance, if you’re the type of driver who likes to bring your car to the race track every weekend, then you should go for coil over springs. Because coil over springs are adjustable, you can infinitely adjust the springs of your car to get the best possible height the next time you hit the track. It may be expensive, but coil over springs can give your car the kind of performance and superior handling you desire.
If you just want to lower your vehicle or make it better at handling corners, then you can just settle for lowered springs.
- Your budget. Just like in any purchase, you need to have a budget in mind before you chose springs for your car. As mentioned earlier, coil over springs are the most expensive of the four types of car springs. If budget is not a concern, then you might want to go with coil overs. For the budget-conscious driver, however, lowering springs are a more practical option. It can provide practically the same thrill and aggressive stance one would want for his car.
- Determine the ride height. Usually, spring manufacturers estimate how low a car will sit once the spring has been fitted. Ride height is typically measured from the center of the wheel to the lip of the guard. Usually, the ride height of large passenger cars is between 370 and 430mm. Thus, the ride height of your car should be within this range.
- Determine the right spring rate. The spring become ineffective when it is too hard or too soft. You’ll have to get a spring with a spring rate matching your vehicle. You can check with your mechanic for further guidance on the spring rate that best suits your vehicle.
Remember these things when you are choosing the right springs for your car, and you’ll surely get the right suspension system for your vehicle.