Coils springs are integral to your car's suspension system. Your vehicle has four coil springs - two front coil springs and two rear coil springs (one for each wheel).
If your car coil springs are properly sized, then they are designed to last for the lifetime of your car. However, sometimes they will wear out and need to be replaced.
Coil suspension springs are designed to absorb the impact of driving over rough terrain, and also help keep your vehicle at the correct height so damaged coil springs on a vehicle are not good news for any motorist.
In this article we will look at broken coil spring symptoms, what causes coil springs to break in the first place, and whether you can still drive your car with a broken coil spring…
How serious is a broken coil spring?
If one of your car coil springs breaks, your vehicle will sit at an angle, with the lower corner over where the broken spring coil is.
A broken coil spring will mean pressure on the tyres is uneven, causing the affected tyre to wear out more quickly on one side.
And if the coil spring falls out of the vehicle it obviously creates a hazard for other road users.
How to tell if you have a broken coil spring?
Think that you may have a broken coil spring?
Symptoms of a bad coil spring in your car's suspension system to look out for:
- If your car has a broken coil spring you'll probably hear clunking, knocking noises when you drive over rough or uneven ground.
- Broken coil springs cause misalignment, meaning your car's suspension angles of travel are altered, causing components to scrape or knock against each other. Your vehicle may sway or bounce more than usual.
- With a coil spring failure, a visual inspection of your car will likely show one corner is lower than the others. If you're unsure, use a tape measure to see how far each wheel arch is off the ground.
Can you drive with a broken coil spring?
No, you should not drive with a broken coil spring. You should get it fixed as soon as possible.
Some drivers may decide to drive on a broken coil spring in order to reach a garage or home. However, when driving with broken coil springs, the ride is likely to be rough and controlling the car in an emergency will be more difficult.
A broken coil suspension spring will put extra pressure on the adjacent shock absorber, and may cause serious damage to it if you drive the car in that condition.
What causes a spring coil to break?
Have a broken spring on your car? You may be wondering what has caused you coil spring to break.
Coil springs can break for a variety of reasons:
Coating damage and corrosion
Coil springs are covered in a flexible plastic coating to help protect the metal from corrosion. However, over time, with constant compression and being hit by stones from the road, this coating can get damaged, allowing rust to form on the coil. Once this happens, coil springs can weaken and potentially break.
Driving over rough terrain regularly will make a coil spring breakage more likely.
Blown tyres/wheel imbalances
Wheel imbalances can cause your suspension to wear out unevenly, potentially leading to a broken coil.
A flat or blown tyre meanwhile can put huge pressure on your suspension system and can cause a coil to break.
A broken coil spring could also cause damage to your steering and braking systems.
Fluid leaks in struts/shock absorbers
If a strut - which usually comprises a shock absorber and spring - leaks hydraulic fluid, it won’t work effectively, placing more pressure on the adjacent coil, increasing the chances of a break.
Additional noise when driving over dips and bumps could mean you have a hydraulic fluid leak.
Lower hydraulic pressure could mean coil springs connect with other suspension components, causing damage to brake lines or even the exhaust system.
How much does it cost to replace a coil spring on a car in the UK?
The cost of a coil spring depends on the make and model of your car and whether you need new coil springs on the front axle or rear axle of your car..
A coil spring replacement cost of £100 per spring is a rough guide price. There is also the need to factor in the installation costs for labour for replacing the coil springs.
Generally speaking, front coil springs cost more to replace than rear coil springs.
If you need to replace one spring it's advisable to replace the one on the other side. It's also a good idea to have all your car's coil springs inspected for damage.
How long should a car suspension last?
A car suspension typically lasts for 50,000 to 100,000 miles, however, many factors can impact how long the suspension system of your car lasts, such as driving habits or road conditions, vehicle maintenance checks and the quality of the parts,
If you're concerned about your car failing you on a journey, for ultimate peace of mind, consider getting appropriate breakdown cover.