Different Types of Springs in a Car

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Different Types of Springs in a Car
Springs are a key component of every vehicle's suspension system. (suv suspension image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com)

Several spring types work on multiple and different vehicles. Some springs are designed to bear heavy loads, some are built for performance and some are built for ride quality. There are springs that are factory installed and others that are available aftermarket. In all situations, springs are combined with either a shock or strut to absorb bumps in the road.

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Coil Springs

Coil springs sit separately from the shock in a coiled shape. This type of spring is primarily found in older cars and in heavy trucks. Located on the front suspension of the vehicle between the upper and lower control arms, coil springs carry heavier loads but do not provide the highest ride quality.

Leaf Spring

Typically found in older vehicles and trucks, leaf springs are long, thin pieces of bowed metal to allow for rebound. These springs are layered depending on the amount of load the vehicle is designed to carry. Primarily found on the rear of a vehicle directly behind the wheel, in some cases, add and remove leaf springs to raise or lower the weight capacity of the vehicle. A leaf spring suspension uses a shock combined with the spring and delivers a bouncing ride.

Coil Over Spring

A coil over spring sits over a strut cartridge. This design allows the best performance while still providing good ride quality. Some coil over springs are adjusted using a speciality wrench that comes with the vehicle. This adjustment raises or lowers the height of the vehicle. Coil over springs provide the most advanced technology to date. This spring is found on the front of nearly all new cars and front and rear of most performance cars.

Lowering Springs

Lowering springs are an aftermarket spring option that lowers the centre of gravity of the vehicle and changes the spring rate. Both of those changes increases vehicle performance. But by changing the ride height and the vehicle spring rate, this compromises ride quality and results in a hard ride. These springs fit both coil over and coil spring designs.

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