5 Symptoms of a Broken Coil Spring (& Replacement Cost)

The coil springs ensure the right driving height on your car and make your ride comfortable. Here's how to tell if your car has a bad coil spring

suspension spring

When you head down the road, your suspension is hard at work, ensuring that the ride is smooth. One of the critical components of the suspension system is the coil springs. When there are bad suspension or coil springs, the ride is anything but enjoyable.

We discuss the symptoms of a bad coil spring, the suspension spring location, its function and review the cost for replacement. Let’s take a look at the signs first:

The most common symptom of a broken coil spring is a sagging corner of your car. You may also notice issues like excessive bouncing, uneven tire wear, or a rattling noise when turning your steering wheel.

While these are the most common symptoms, it’s far from all of them. Here’s a more detailed list of the most common symptoms of a bad coil spring:

Bad Suspension or Coil Spring Symptoms

1. Sagging Corner

sagging car

When the coil spring goes bad, the corner where it is located will start to sag. It’s clear to see in this case that one corner of the car is sitting lower than the others. 

This sagging condition can also cause a reduction in stability while driving. It will also lead to some of the other symptoms, such as uneven tire wear and noises. 

2. Excessive Bounce

car shakes while driving e1609778840298

Coil springs are designed to keep the vehicle from bouncing up and down every time it hits a bump. However, when the springs are defective, they can no longer prevent bounciness from occurring.

As you drive, you will notice the shaking or bouncing gets worse over time, especially if you spend a lot of time on uneven terrain or dirt roads. When the bounciness becomes severe, it could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

3. Uneven Tire Wear

uneven inner tire wear e1609864079396

The suspension system ensures that the wheels and tires remain balanced while traveling down the road. As the tires rotate, they should receive equal amounts of wear for a safe drive.

When the coil springs go bad, the wheel alignment geometry is changing, leading to excessive wear on one side. The tire tread can fail prematurely and cause massive handling issues. It could also lead to a blow-out if you aren’t inspecting the tires frequently. 

4. Rattling Noise

When the suspension springs go bad, you might experience shaking and unusual noises. As time goes on, the noise will increase. It could also get worse as you accelerate or travel over rough terrain.

This early warning sign should never be ignored, or it could turn into something much larger. 

5. Noise when turning

If you can hear a high noise when turning the steering wheel from the front of your car, it is very likely that the coil spring is broken and is getting in contact with the car’s body. It can also cause the spring to lay against the chassis instead of the top mount bearing, which can cause high bouncing noises when turning.

Suspension/Coil Spring Location

coil spring

Most cars contain four coil springs on each corner of the vehicle. The top of each spring is found below a solid part of the vehicle, while the bottom end rests on the lower control arm. This lower control arm is the same part that helps hold the wheels on.

Because of the design, the vehicle sits on the springs, which sit on the control arm. Therefore, the movement of the vehicle is greatly reduced as the suspension accounts for any road imperfections. 

The Function of a Coil Spring

compressing coil spring

Coil springs are responsible for absorbing bumps on the road. As the vehicle travels over imperfections, the springs work with the suspension system to provide a comfortable ride. 

The suspension springs hold up the weight of the vehicle, allowing the wheels to travel vertically whenever an obstacle is encountered. This movement is buffered by the springs instead of being sent to the cabin. 

broken coil spring

Suspension Spring Replacement Cost

The average coil spring replacement cost is between $300 and $700. You will likely pay around $100 to $300 for the parts and another $200 to $400 for the labor. Of course, if you have the tools and expertise to replace the coil springs yourself, you could save some money.

While you can drive with a broken coil spring, you will notice a significant decline in the ride quality. You might also experience trouble with the vehicle handling. For the vehicle to remain level during a turn, traction must be spread equally between all four of the wheels. This operation depends on how well the springs can distribute the weight. As the springs get worse, you could easily lose control of your vehicle and cause an accident. 

In rare cases, the spring can get damaged and bounce out to the tire, causing a flat tire at higher speeds, which can be fatal. Therefore it is recommended to replace a broken coil spring.

However, coil springs rarely go bad while driving under normal conditions. On average, a coil spring will wear out after about ten years of use. With that said, many cars will require a suspension coil replacement at some time, especially if you want an upgrade. With high-performance springs, the ride can be even smoother and more enjoyable.

If you live in a colder climate you will notice broken coil springs much more often than if you are living in a warm climate.

Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. He has also been a motorsport (drifting) driver for over 5 years.