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Broken car springs ?

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Broken car springs ?

Old 6th Jan 2022, 06:52
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Broken car springs ?

A quick straw poll, if I may:

How many of us have had a broken suspension spring on our cars in recent years?

We have had 4 in about 10 years.



Edit, thank you for the spelling correction, Mr Mod; can't believe I made that mistake !

Last edited by Uplinker; 7th Jan 2022 at 09:32. Reason: Spulling
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 06:55
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Yep but only once.
edit: front offside on 16year old fiesta.

Last edited by Mr Optimistic; 6th Jan 2022 at 10:24.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 07:18
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Not a single one in 50 years of motoring.

We have had 4 in about 10 years.
Bit more detail would be interesting - types of vehicle and road surface locally?
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 07:31
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It is far from uncommon to see bits of car coil springs in the roadside gutters.

An engineering colleague pointed out to me the built in failure mode of coils made of the same rod but of differing external diameters. The section of coil where the reduction occurs, this being the part where the resistance of the spring changes, is a focus for the applied torsion and, as the broken bits show, this is where they invariably break.
That's also just where my personal example failed too...


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Old 6th Jan 2022, 08:39
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Three in the last 10 years, one (rear) on my car which was my own fault (too fast down a back road I knew had a sizable hump in it) and one front on each of my wife's last two cars, a Citroen Picasso and a Renault Modus.You would think French cars would be better on poor roads......

I have also hit a hidden pothole with my current Renault Scenic hard enough (30mph) to dent the inside rim of the front alloy wheel, cost £60 to fix, but no damage to the suspension despite the massive bang!

The roads in this country are a symptom of central government centralising power and starving councils of money in order to do so, like many other things (state of mental health services, etc etc). It's the same all over the UK especially in rural areas.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 08:51
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Never in over 50 years of driving in several countries. Hope that doesnít jinx me.
Last year a friend in our village hit a local pothole hard enough to break something in the engine of his BMW so that it would not start and ended up garaged.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 09:14
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One, two months ago on a 17 year old Fiat Punto.

The famous Honest John - who used to write in the Telegraph - noted that the majority of cars with broken springs were European and Japanese cars suffered less. This was because the way the ends of the springs were formed and fitted into their sockets at the top and bottom of the suspension. There has been a great incidence of spring damage with the increasing amount of road humps to stop speeding on back roads.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 09:14
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Three events (5 springs) in the past 10 years.
First and second case were similar - car had been unused for up to 6 months and the brake discs were corroded. As the car moved forward, both front springs broke. First time Peugeot 307, second time Ford Fiesta.
The first time, the tow guy who picked the car up said it was a pretty common thing for him to retrieve vehicles with broken springs.
The Fiesta broke another front spring recently, also after being unused for a few months, but although the discs were corroded, they were definitely not seized before moving away.
Since the first event, if I have been leaving a car unused for a long period in UK, (where I have a garage) I have been very particular about putting it away with dry hot brakes, and those have had no issues and far less brake corrosion.
In the more recent case, the fracture definitely looked as if it had been cracked about 1/4 way through for some time before it broke.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 09:17
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First 3 inches at bottom of a rear coil spring snapped off but still in situ, a year ago. Totally unaware of it until picked up during MOT. Hadnít hit any bump or otherwise I was aware of and mostly motorway driving.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 09:27
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Several fatigue failures at the spring end which were only picked up at MOT, plus one instantly noticeable pothole break on a car/model which was free of fatigue failures, but I only got derisory compensatioin "because of the age of the vehicle".
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 09:35
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One. Started hearing a jangling from the front offside. Few days later saw a piece of metal fly out the back of the car with an accompanying clunk.

Turned out the front offside spring had broken where the spring lands on the perch on the shock absorber. Replacing (both sides) was straightforward (apart from one nut on the top of a shock absorber which needed cutting off) especially as a mate at the time had a two post lift...

The root cause was much and grime getting trapped under the spring at just the wrong point, so eventually the protective paint and coating was punctured and the spring corroded at that point. I was advised to put plastic tube around the spring up to and beyond that point when reinstalling, and that was 50k miles ago and it's all still working...
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 09:49
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Two rears on my old MK1 Audi TT 225, one I didn't know about until in for an MOT and the other went with a bang
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 10:34
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Pulling out of a junction in a ten year old Fiat Coupe the front right spring broke with an almighty bang and dug itself into the tyre, I was stuck!
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 10:52
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Only once in the last 10 years
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 10:55
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1 on my wife's car (7 year old Alfa MiTo) in the last 12 months. Front drivers side, cracked very near the end of the coil so only really noticeable when the car was jacked up off it's wheels. Garage spotted it when working on the clutch. Other than that none. My car a 2001 vintage Alfa 166, which had new, stiffer springs put on all round in 2011 (to improve handling, no issue with the original springs) still sitting pretty and passed its latest NCT in Dec 2021.

JAS
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:16
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Never had a broken spring after many decades of driving. The springs on my current 21 year old vehicle have sagged evenly on all four corners but the shocks are still acceptable. I'm now finding I can drive 10kph faster through a busy chicane under a rail bridge than all my previous vehicles, even put a late model BMW to shame who struggled to hold his lane.

Aussie cars were made out of real steel with none of that cheap special mix.

Last edited by cattletruck; 6th Jan 2022 at 12:19. Reason: Past tense applied, no makey Oz cars anymore.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:17
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Yes, I have not had broken springs until relatively recently - it seems to be a modern phenomenon. Potholes are often blamed, but I make a habit of avoiding potholes, (and even drain covers that are not flush), as I'm sure most of us do. Chap at the garage said that lower profile tyres and harder rubber compounds (that wear less) are giving the springs more work to do absorbing bumps, that the tyres used to do.

Springs made these days seem to corrode a lot more - I don't remember springs ever corroding in all my many previous years of car ownership. So I suspect that manufacturers are using more crappy steel as well. Interestingly, springs these days are often coated in thin plastic which they never used to be, and I wonder if this is causing the corrosion by trapping moisture next to the spring instead of it draining and drying off. As I say, 'bare' springs never used to corrode in my experience.

I wouldn't mind so much - springs are relatively cheap - but depending on the car, changing a spring can be very involved or expensive.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:29
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I have had all four on my old Merc needing replacement over the last few years. My local garage told me that they were becoming more common such that he had invested in a new spring compression machine to make the job easier. He blamed the many speed bumps we have here (Telford)
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:57
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I had a Ford Mondeo (2004 Reg) that suffered failure of all 4 springs, but not at the same time. All failed at the very top, the man at the garage said it was a known fault.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:59
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The spring's purpose and design is to extend and contract to follow bumps - if it fails while doing that, something is surely wrong?

Driving directly into a deep pothole at speed without having spotted it yes, that is fair enough perhaps. But for normal driving, over undulating surfaces, including speed bumps? If brake pads started breaking....(that's an awkward phrase....), we would not be happy about that. (They wear down, yes, but they don't break through normal use).

I think it is cheaper crappier steel, and perhaps ironically, the plastic 'protective' coating together causing corrosion of the springs, which weaken them, leading to breakages. If I was being cynical, I would say that they now make springs from crappy steel because it is cheaper, so more profits to them, but to stop the springs rusting and breaking too early, they dip them in thin plastic. After 3 years or so, when the first owner has sold the car on, the manufacturer couldn't care less if the spring breaks, I am sure.
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