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Coil springs are a key part of your car’s suspension system. Now, you may be a little iffy on what exactly a suspension system is, but trust me when I say that it’s pretty darn important. Most cars have a coil spring for each wheel. We could sit here for a while as you do the math, so let me just do it for you: That means there are four coil springs on your car, got it? The coil springs are exactly what the name suggests: standard coiled springs. They’re usually placed between the upper control arm and lower control arm, and essentially serve to absorb shock. Simple enough. As your car drives, you might notice that it’s subject to a lot of imperfections in the road. There are pot holes, bumps, and everything in between. Yet the ride is usually pretty smooth, in large part because the coil springs absorb much of those imperfections, rather than letting them transfer to the frame of the car, and, eventually your butt. The coil springs are what allow the suspension to move up and down, rather than forcing the entire car to. Coil springs are also responsible for supporting the weight of your car, which, it may shock you to learn, is kind of important! So, if you like having your car sitting at the right height, you can thank your coil springs. Thankfully, coil springs are extremely durable. They usually last the entire life of the car. If yours don’t, however, they’ll need to be replaced in pairs. If one front coil spring breaks, you’ll have to replace both front coil springs, and same with your rear ones. And lastly: Replacing coil springs can be dangerous, given the amount of pressure holding them in place. So, if you think that fence you built is looking good, and you’re feeling a little eager to do another DIY project, just…don’t.
The coil springs support the weight of your car, from each corner. If one of them breaks, your car won’t be supported in that corner. So, if you spot your car leaning - to one side, or to one corner - then you may have some busted coil springs.
If the coil springs are failing, you may notice less of a lean and more of the car just being way too low. It will look funny, that is, if you’re perceptive enough to notice the difference. The coil springs hold your car up. If they’re not doing their job, they won’t hold your car up. Just imagine yourself without calves. That’s your car with faulty coil springs. Not so fun, huh?
Please tell me this isn’t new information to you, but your car shouldn’t make bizarre noises. If it does make bizarre noises, it’s usually because something is wrong, and that something should be fixed. If your car has some busted coil springs, then it will likely make a knocking noise. You’ll notice this noise coming from the suspension when you drive over bumps, or other imperfections in the road. It’s the sound of malfunctioning coil springs being forced into action and failing. When in doubt, listen to your car.
Your car is safe to drive short distances when it has a broken coil spring. But this probably isn’t the best time to do that procrastination thing you’re so good at.
The longer you drive a car without a fully functioning shock absorption system, the more pressure and impact is put on the suspension, which can lead to further damage. Ignore a damaged coil spring, and you could find yourself with an entirely busted suspension.
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