How long is the typical working life of a passenger car leaf spring? Should I be concerned about the primary leaf failing and possibly causing an accident?
There are 5 leaves in the pack with at least one appearing broken at the center. The vehicle is a ’78 Plymouth Volare station wagon with 230,000 mi and heavy coil helper springs. It has seen occasional, but extreme loads over long freeway distances.
Any info is greatly appreciated, Thanks. – Gary
All springs have a finite life, that is one day they will break. How long this life is depends on their use, the loads they have been asked to carry, the roads driven on, how the vehicle and suspension are maintained.
Any leaf that is broke at the axle shows that the u-bolts have become loose. And once one leaf breaks other leafs will also began breaking.
Can a broken leaf cause an accident? Yes it can. Depending on which leaf it is and where it breaks and does the broken leaf stay in the spring pack or not. So don’t mess around, replace broken springs ASAP.
But I would say if you have put 230,000 miles on the springs, they don’t owe you a thing. Be a nice guy and replace them.
Now if you carry a load on a regular basis, you may want to go with Heavy Duty springs. Don’t worry about the ride height when you do not have the extra weight in the car for the HD springs are designed to sit the car at normal factory ride height.