Leaf Springs are an essential component in any truck, mainly used for hauling any bulky cargo. They tend to get worn out after a while due to the fatigue and strain from the number of loads they support. Finding out that you need to change your leaf springs when it’s too late can be a huge mess, especially when you are in transit.
How Do I Know If My Leaf Springs Are Bad On My Truck?
Classic signs that your leaf springs are faulty and need to be replaced are squeaking noises coming from under the hood while driving, decreased handling and hauling performances, and noticing a slight lean to your truck. The only way to tell for sure is a visual inspection, which would reveal cracks or sags in the leaf springs.
Having a properly maintained truck to haul heavy workloads starts from vital parts such as the leaf spring. This is key to avoid unnecessary catastrophic breakdowns when on the road and keep the operation as efficient as possible.
A good truck needs healthy leaf springs installed in it. This is a component that is often overlooked but should always be prioritized. Having a routine inspection is one of the best ways to keep your leaf springs in check. You will need to have reliable auto mechanics to keep your truck’s leaf springs in good condition before performing any tasks for your business.
How Can I Diagnose The Problem With My Truck’s Leaf Spring?
First of all, you need to know where to locate the leaf springs. They are mostly situated in the rear or the front with attachments to the axle’s top or bottom positions. You can spot them since they have a very distinct look from other components in your truck.
They look like narrow steel strips stacked together like leaves. They are bowed in shape, and the stacked strips have different lengths. These leave springs’ primary function is to absorb the pressure from the amount of weight from the truck’s load for hauling.
Most of the leaf springs also stand out because of their shiny coat of black paint when they are new, but if dirty, they may look brown or even grey depending on the terrain you have been driving on.
Below are some of the things you can diagnose if your leaf springs have started having problems.
Cracks of leaves
Cracks and fractures are a serious sign that your leaf springs need repairs or replacing. You can check this yourself, and so you may have to get dirty. The cracks might be apparent, but it’s better to consult a mechanic to determine if the gaps pose a threat to your truck’s functionality if you are not sure about them.
If you start noticing some instability at the rear end of your truck when driving and sways when you hit bumps and other obstacles, chances are you need to check the condition of your leaf spring. The leaf springs are supposed to prevent the truck from bouncing and swaying by absorbing the energy from bumps and rough terrain. So, if you notice that your truck is wobbling, the leaf springs are the first component to look for any liabilities.
You need to know your truck’s maximum hauling capacity and determine how much load it can carry efficiently. You can learn the best performance of your vehicle when it is loaded.
If the truck seems to be struggling to haul the load, it may be due to the leaf springs’ problems since they are designed to support the load capacity during transport. If you have been trying your truck for a long time, you may need to pay attention to the overall performance when you started driving it and the present performance when fully loaded.
The performance should be relatively the same. Get the leaf springs replaced if they are not upholding that extra weight as their primary function.
When you pack on a relatively flat surface, you can see the overall structure of the truck. If you notice the truck leaning on one side, you will need to have more inspections done. The first inspection should be on the leaf springs, which might have bent due to the immense loads hauled overtime.
Sagging Leaf Springs
You can notice sagging leaf springs when doing wheel alignment and other technical inspections on your truck. Your leaf springs tend to be on a specific level when they are newly installed. If you notice that they are lower than they need to, it might be due to the wearing out and bending from the heavy loads.
If you are not sure, it is good to get a professional third parties’ opinion. The repair is relatively simple and will not cost that much.
Broken leaf springs affect the driving performance of the car. Since they are connected to the axle, you may realize you are using a lot more effort to control the truck than you should be. The truck may feel unstable, and maintaining the grip on the road may be difficult.
It is not recommended to drive under such conditions since you may lose control, leading to fatalities. You may also have trouble when it comes to hauling loads, which will lead to delays in transport, less productivity, and ultimately more costs for businesses.
What Is The Primary Symptom Of A Bad Leaf Spring?
There is one sign that is evident that your truck’s leaf springs may have some damages. These are squeaky sounds that you mostly hear when driving. Since you can only hear the sound while driving, getting the exact place where the squealy sound is coming from can be challenging to know.
Most of the time, the squeaky sound tends to come from the leaf springs. The sounds may occur due to a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is due to loose bolts in any of the springs. You will need to have the springs inspected and sorted out immediately to keep them from further damage.
How Do I Know That I Need New Leaf Springs?
Inspection is the only way to determine whether you need to replace or repair your leaf springs. You can mostly see any problem with your leaf spring after parking on a flat surface both when you have a load or not. The procedure can be quick, mainly when a professional mechanic does it.
Or, if you don’t find one, you can use an amateur mechanic who has a couple of essential diagnosis tools. You can also see problems with the leaf springs by lifting the truck and thoroughly cleaning them to remove all the dirt and expose any faults you may have missed during an observing inspection.
Is It Dangerous Not To Replace My Leaf Springs?
Having a compromised suspension system poses many dangers to you as a truck driver and other motorists on the road. A truck with broken leaf springs can lead to extensive damage to the surrounding parts and the car’s chassis. The more damages there are, the more costly it will be to get the truck back into shape for hauling bulky goods.
Anytime you have an issue with the leaf springs, the next step would be to drive the least distance possible until you get to a reliable auto repair shop and fix them as soon as possible.
What Causes Leaf Spring Failure?
Leaf springs can last for several years without replacements, but this is not always the case. It all depends on the work and the road conditions you expose your truck to. If the strain is too much, leaf springs are prone to failing.
Below are some of the common causes of leaf spring failure:
Leaf Springs are made of steel, and just like any other metal, it can be affected by environmental conditions. Through their lifetime, the leaf springs can become fatigued and corrode. The corrosion’s leading cause can be exposed to elements such as salt and other chemicals and general wear-and-tear from hauling heavyweights.
The more exposure to corrosive elements, the faster the leaf springs will have damage and be repaired often. If you want to extend the truck’s lifespan, you need to wash the parts as often as possible, especially during the winter months, and not strain your truck to immense loads.
U-bolts connect the leaf springs to the axle. With long-distance driving and rough terrains, they can become loose and more susceptible to damage.
It is important always to check them and tighten them before any long-haul operations. Remember always to check if they are fastened well when you get significant repairs from the auto service.
You can check the best hauling truck mechanics and professional repair shops to get your leaf springs repaired before they cause any more damage to other vital components of your truck. It is essential to diagnose any problems associated with your truck’s leaf springs before deciding on the necessary action to undertake.