Leaf springs are one of the parts of a truck that are overlooked until they break down.
Most truck drivers may not be aware of such a piece until it wears down and needs to be replaced. Leaf springs are an essential invention that ensures smooth transport on many vehicles.
Why Do Trucks Use Leaf Springs?
Leaf springs aid the truck’s suspension by offering support. Leaf springs also give the truck a smoother ride, especially on rough terrain, by absorbing the vibrations from portholes and bumps on the road.
They have been used for literally centuries and have kept getting better and better, especially for trucks. If you have heard of suspension systems, the first part you should think of is the leaf spring.
It is a suspension system that has been used in vehicles as far back as medieval times, and if you have heard about carriages, this is the idea. From the 20th century to date, most trucks have employed the leaf spring suspension system due to carrying heavy loads.
What Is The Structure Of A Leaf Spring?
The leaf spring has a distinct shape from all the other parts of the car. It is mainly made up of a couple of components that fit together to make one suspension system. It is primarily a piece of steel that is slender with an arc shape.
The same type of piece is stacked together with other components that come in different sizes.
The parts are then bolted together to create a bow-like one-piece reinforced to stay together. The springs tend to flex when you have an impact from a bump or any other obstacle.
When you get back on smooth ground, the leaf spring goes back into its original shape to accommodate the different terrains’ weight.
The leaf spring length also varies and expands without cracking since one end is attached directly to the truck while the other end is set on a shackle for the truck’s movement.
The entire piece is mainly attached to the rear axle and the chassis, which provides support to other weights added to the truck.
The leaf spring prevents the axle from getting deformed and snapping due to the pressure created. It is because of the added weight, even at extreme levels.
It is also important to note that using more springs allows the truck to hold more weight, but it doesn’t add to its maximum load capacity.
What Do Leaf Springs Do On A Truck?
The leaf spring’s curvature enables it to absorb vibrations from any impact. Since it is placed on the axle, it is used to locate the vehicle’s rear axles and height control. The leaf spring suspension system helps with the proper alignment of the truck’s wheels on the road.
The benefits are more than you can imagine, and so the leaf spring has been part of the truck manufacturing industry even up to now.
The demand for the part has increased over time, making it a vital part of any truck with advancements in technology, making it more efficient through better designs and materials for the trucks’ higher sustainability.
Apart from trucks and other commercial vehicles, vans and SUVs have also employed leaf springs to add more vehicle models capabilities.
Leaf Spring Suspension System Uses
Construction trucks using leaf springs have been a critical component that has supplemented industrial equipment transport worldwide.
rucks that can carry brick, concrete, stone, and massive materials is made possible because of the leaf spring technology.
The truck’s size doesn’t matter when it comes to carrying heavy materials, but the technology used to construct it is where the leaf spring comes in.
Leaf springs have also played a significant role in trucks’ capabilities to work in terrains such as snow. Trucks with leaf springs are known to be efficient even in areas where there are high snow levels.
The leaf springs mostly alleviate the truck’s stresses, which make it last through the winter seasons.
How Do I Maintain My Truck’s Leaf Springs?
Leaf springs are part of trucks’ lifeline, and they tend to get worn out if they are pushed to maximum levels.
Your leaf spring’s primary concern should be if they are too old, but they do last for several years.
Everything has a lifespan, and leaf springs are no exception. Elements such as exposure to corrosion and extra strain can increase the maintenance timeline of the truck.
Cleaning leaf springs is also an excellent way to avoid accumulating problems that may emerge in the future.
How Do I Know When To Repair Or Replace My Truck’s Leaf Springs?
Leaf springs tend to get sticky due to the accumulation of dirt. The dirt can get in between the leaf pieces making the ride bumpier than before.
This should be a concern if you ever get such signs but might also be rare unless your truck is always operating on dirt and muddy roads.
Most trucks come with a maintenance manual, including the leaf springs’ attachment points that need to be checked more and lubricated to extend their functionality.
One of the other signs that you need some maintenance on your leaf spring is if your truck seems lower than usual.
If the truck’s body is sitting lower on its wheels, it may be due to the leaf springs’ slight bending, which happens over time.
Fixing this is easy as you only need to replace the leaf springs with new ones.
The presence of fractures and cracks are also signs that leaf springs are necessary to be replaced.
These issues may change how your truck operates, mainly with the movement.
If your vehicle is leaning more on one side even when there is no load, you should have your leaf springs checked. Some of the other signs include:
- Leaning back, rolling, and nose dives of the truck on different terrains.
- Steering difficulties and side pull of the truck while driving.
Can I Maintain My Leaf Springs Myself?
You can also occasionally get a professional look from a mechanic to determine if your truck’s leaf spring is broken or needs any professional maintenance. It is not advisable to repair or replace leaf springs yourself unless you are a mechanic.
Doing the repairs with no professional consultation and guide can cause more damage and incur more costs than you may have planned for.
The restoration has a multi-step process, which is always better done by experienced professionals since they understand the suspension system’s facets and have the appropriate equipment.
If the leaf springs are not installed correctly, they can lead to premature wear and tear and frequent replacement.
You can avoid this by getting the correct leaf spring installed by your mechanic, which considers your truck’s maximum load capacity.
Why Use Leaf Springs Instead Of Absorbers?
It all comes down to the costs. Leaf springs have proven to be more a more economical alternative compared to absorbers.
They are also much more cost-effective due to their design and assembly. Replacing absorbers when they get worn out is way more expensive than leaf springs, which are also easy to replace.
Using absorbers is less costly for smaller vehicles, but it is better to use leaf springs for trucks.
The high demand for leaf springs has made them cheaper since they are more in the market for trucks than absorbers for smaller cars.
Can I Drive My Truck With A Broken Leaf Spring?
Leaf springs get fatigued and break or separate due to overloading and wear. Anytime this happens, or there is any other problem, it is advisable to get your truck to the nearest auto repair shop as soon as you can. It may only be safe to drive for a limited period on short distances to get to your home or repair shop.
If you notice this problem, drive as slowly as possible since the steering system will also be affected.
It is also advisable to move slowly so that you can easily control your truck to keep the tires’ grip on the road and avoid any accidents along the way and avoid damages to other parts of your vehicle.
Your Truck’s Leaf Springs
For bulky goods vehicles and light commercial vehicles, leaf springs are an essential component of their suspension systems.
They are more popular and will probably remain that way for decades to come unless a better suspension system emerges. Always remember to have preventative maintenance for your leaf springs and avoid aftermarket parts during repairs.