As you may already know, your suspension works by compressing and decompressing a spring, which slowed and controlled with a shock absorber or damper. Unfortunately, springs can wear down over time and ultimately fail. Springs also present a great opportunity to upgrade your suspension. With aftermarket springs, you can lower (or raise) your vehicles ride height, as well as increase the spring rate which reduces overall body movement by making your suspension stiffer.
The Purpose of Springs
Springs are vital to the function of your vehicle’s suspension system. Without springs, your vehicle would effectively have no suspension travel. Most OEM springs are designed to provide great ride-quality, without making the vehicle handle poorly. In many cases, the OEM springs are very soft and allow for significant amounts of body movement. This can quickly become an issue after you’ve installed sticky tires, where the increased grip can overpower the stock springs. This is where aftermarket springs come into play.
What Happens When Your Springs Fail
Although springs do not require maintenance, you may have to replace them as your vehicle ages. Springs generally have long lifespans, and in many instances they last an entire lifetime of the vehicle, but in some cases the springs can break. After all, your springs are just metal coil which is constantly being compressed and uncompressed. If your OEM springs fail or get damaged, both driving quality and safety suffer greatly.
A damaged spring can be a massive safety issue, since a broken piece of spring can deflate a tire or get tangled up with other suspension components. Depending on how the spring breaks, it could have enough for to shoot out of your vehicle fender well and damage your fender or bumper. On top of that, it can fall on the road and bring about unwanted risk to other drivers and people on foot.
Replacing your Car’s Springs
Spring replacement is typically a relatively easy task. Keep in mind though, that these parts can be quite hefty. Suspension components are often exposed to the elements and they’re more prone to suffering from rust as well. For the sake of safety, you should never replace the springs with the weight of your car on the ground. Always be sure to unload your suspension as much as possible!
The Benefits of Lowering Springs
As mentioned earlier, sticky tires can easily overpower your OEM suspension in many applications. With an increase in grip comes an increase in body movement, and if your springs can’t handle the extra load, you’ll end up with very poor handling characteristics. If you want the best performance possible, aftermarket coilovers are a great option, however, they are significantly more expensive than lowering springs.
With lowering springs, your vehicle’s center of gravity is much lower and most lowering springs have a much higher spring rate than your OEM springs. Thanks to their vehicle affordable price, lowering springs are one of the easiest ways to improve your vehicles handling characteristics!