What Lies Beneath

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

Springs are used on things like a pogo stick much the same way they are used on your vehicle.

A pogo stick spring carries the weight of the person on it, compresses, and then pushes them back up. To get a better idea of why springs are needed on your vehicle, you need to picture the upper body of the vehicle as being one big assembly that weighs thousands of pounds and the tires being the parts that contact the road.

Obviously, there are parts that connect them to each other, but there has to be something to carry the weight of the vehicle and that’s the job of the springs. The springs not only need to carry all of that weight, but they need to give a little bit when you go over bumps. They come in different styles with coil springs being the most common.

Just like the name implies, springs are made of spring steel so they can compress and expand as needed to carry the load of the vehicle while making the ride a lot more comfortable. Springs also come in different styles, such as leaf springs, which you find on the rear of many larger vehicles.

Springs do a great job of supporting the weight and allowing the vehicle to move up and down. But if you didn’t have something in there to stop the vehicle from bouncing up and down you would probably get seasick over time. Stopping that bouncing is the job of the shock absorbers.

Shock absorbers have an internal shaft that can move as the springs go up and down, but the shock is filled with pressurized fluid to slow the bouncing as quickly as possible. That helps make your ride more comfortable and keeps your tires in contact with the road.

Struts are kind of a combination of the springs and shocks. The coil spring is mounted right into the strut housing and they work together as an assembly. When you need your struts replaced you can sometimes just replace a strut cartridge and reuse the other parts such as the coil spring and the strut mounts.

But many times you are better off getting something like a complete strut assembly that includes the strut, spring and mount all in one. If you are going through the labor to replace the struts anyway, you might want to look into this option to do the job right and get all new parts.

When you have springs, struts or shocks that are worn out, your vehicle will not ride nearly as smoothly as it should. So “spring” into action and get your suspension checked out. You might be “shocked” at how much better it drives with some fresh new parts.

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