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Coils vs Leaf Springs – Which One is Best?

photo by Supersmario via iStock

Pickup trucks and certain 4x4s are the last types of vehicles that in some cases still use leaf springs. However, even they have started making the switch to coils now. 

You may think that just by the above fact it would be easy to understand that coils are better, but do not rush to a conclusion. 

Both have their pros and cons, and one may suit you better than the other.

Coils vs Leaf Springs: Pros of Leaf Springs

Leaf Springs

photo by Supersmario via iStock

Leaf springs may be one of the oldest technologies on a vehicle, they date back to the horse and carriage era. 

This type of suspension is only found on the rear axle these days and it’s mostly on vehicles that were built to carry a lot of weight. 

Because of their design, leaf springs can resist sagging; therefore, trucks that use them can have a higher payload. 

The simplicity of them provides a level of robustness that is unmatched, and even if they do happen to break, they are easier to fix in remote areas than coils are.

Due to their robustness, they are chosen by people who use and abuse their trucks in farm work or hauling jobs.

Cons of Leaf Springs

Leaf Springs

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The cons consist of bad ride quality, less wheel articulation, and low-hanging leaf packs. 

The ride quality will be worse than that of a coil-sprung vehicle as the leaves are steel pieces of metal strapped together to form something that reacts like a spring. 

Because of that same reason wheel articulation is also compromised which can limit off-road abilities.

The leaf packs usually hang below the axle which may lead to grounding out in ruts or big rocks in which a coil sprung vehicle would have no issues. 

Coils vs Leaf Springs: Pros of Coil Springs

Coil Springs

photo by Supersmario via iStock

A coil spring is your idea of suspension. You know what it looks like, you find them in RC cars, bicycles, and even pens. 

The design of the coil spring means that it can absorb imperfections in the road far easier than a leaf spring. This leads to better ride quality. 

Coil springs are more flexible when it comes to compressing and extending; therefore, they provide more wheel articulation which helps off-road.

Because of the above, a coil-sprung vehicle will have better road manners and will also perform better off-road. 

Cons of Coil Springs

Cons of Coil Springs

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They are not as durable as they do break more easily. That does not mean they are weak though; it is very hard to break a coil spring. 

If you do break it, there are fewer bush mechanic tricks you can do to get yourself back to civilization. 

Finally, because of their design, they are not as good at carrying weight. However, with an upgrade in spring rate they can still do an adequate job.

Coils vs Leaf Springs: Which of the Two is For You?

Coils vs Leaf Springs

photo by Thanaphol Intaja via iStock

Leaf springs are for the person who uses their truck for hard work. Farming, construction, and off-roading on the weekends. They can take a beating and carry heavy loads with ease. 

Coils springs are for the hardcore off-roader or the person who likes a bit more comfort. If needed the coil springs can also do the heavy work just not as easily as the leaf springs. 

What do you think? Which one suits you best? 

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