Why does a leaf spring break?

Why does a leaf spring break?

Like many auto parts, a leaf spring is an item that you never know you need until it breaks or wears down. The leaf spring is a part of the suspension system that helps to provide support and a smoother ride, by absorbing the impact of bumps and potholes in the road. Leaf springs are also used to locate the axle, control the height at which the vehicle rides, and keep the tires aligned on the road. Here are a few reasons why they fail:

Overloading Your Truck Springs

Everyone says they never do it, but we see it all the time. Overloading is pretty self-explanatory-- you have more weight in the back of your truck or on your tow load that is heavier than your truck can handle. We all love to do it, but the negative effect of not following your truck’s weight rating can be detrimental. So, how do you prevent overloading your truck springs? Obviously, you could carry less weight or purchase a truck with a higher weight rating. If buying a new truck or hauling less weight is not an option, you can add an overload kit, which takes some of the weight off the leaf springs and redirects it to the overload kit. Another option that is more popular with commercial vehicles it to add another piece of steel to the spring pack. This may cause the ride to be a little less comfortable but, if you are always hauling heavier loads, that may be your best bet. However, you should never add a new piece of steel to leaf springs that already suffer from fatigue. Instead, replace both of your truck springs with new ones with a higher weight rating.

Loose U-Bolts

U-bolts, especially on newly installed truck springs should be checked periodically to verify they are tight. If these aren’t tight enough it could cause your truck ’s spring and center bolt to fail. Even if you had a professional install the new springs, you should stop by after about 500 miles and have the u-bolts inspected to make sure they didn't come loose.

Corrosion and Fatigue

Usually, corrosion and fatigue are caused by a combination of time, use, and the elements. How much weight you haul and how often, and environmental factors like the weather, can all affect how long your leaf spring will last before it succumbs to fatigue. If your truck is old, you haul a lot of weight, or you consistently store your vehicle outside in particularly harsh weather, you should have your leaf springs regularly inspected. Make sure to wash off all salt and corrosive materials, and don’t overloading your truck will help prevent corrosion and early spring fatigue.

At V&F

If you do need to replace your leaf springs, it's important to replace all of the springs in the pack at the same time as, if one is cracked or broken, the others are probably in a similar condition and won’t last much longer. At V&F Auto, our certified mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange