In addition to helping to absorb the impact of the road and support the weight of your vehicle, suspension springs, also known as suspension coils, are large metal springs that are attached to the chassis of your vehicle. They can become worn down and broken over time, and they must be replaced in order for your vehicle to be safe to drive on the road. It is possible for you to replace them on your own, but it is critical that you use special devices known as spring compressors to ensure that the springs are kept safely compressed during the process. You should not attempt this task without the use of spring compressors because you could end up injuring yourself or another person.
Method 1 Removing the Tire
1. Place the vehicle on a level surface and apply the parking brake to secure it. Locate a safe, level parking space for your vehicle, such as a driveway or garage, and park there. If your vehicle has a standard or manual transmission, you must engage it by pulling the parking brake. To engage the parking brake on an automatic transmission, locate the parking brake near the driver’s side door and step on or push the lever to disengage the parking brake.
Attempting to access the suspension spring while working on an angled surface will be more difficult than it already is.
WARNING: If you move your vehicle while you are replacing the suspension spring, it may fall off the jack or the spring may shoot out, resulting in serious injury.
2. Make use of a tyre iron to loosen the lug nuts on the tyre that you intend to remove. Connect one of the lug nuts on the tyre with a standard tyre iron that is available at any hardware store. Turn it just enough to loosen the lug nut, but not enough to completely remove it from the vehicle. Remove all of the lug nuts from the tyre and set them aside.
If your vehicle has a hubcap that covers the lug nuts, you’ll need to pry the corner of the cap off with a flathead screwdriver to reveal the lug nuts.
It’s much easier to loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the vehicle than it is afterwards.
3. Raise the tyre by sliding a jack beneath the axle near the tyre and lifting it up. Make use of a standard vehicle jack and locate the axle on the underside of the vehicle, close to the tyre you intend to remove. Slide the jack underneath the vehicle and position the top of the jack against the axle of the vehicle. Raise the jack by cranking or turning it until the bottom of the tyre is suspended approximately 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) above the ground.
It is only necessary to raise the vehicle to a height that will allow the tyre to be removed safely.
4. Remove the lug nuts from the tyre and slide it off the vehicle’s wheels. Remove all of the lug nuts from the tyre with your hands or a tyre iron, depending on your preference. Use both of your hands to grip the tire’s outer edge and gently pull it away from the vehicle. Remove the tyre and lug nuts from the vehicle and place them to the side.
The majority of vehicles have tyres that have between 5 and 6 lug nuts on them.
Method 2 Detaching the Old Spring
1. To remove the bolt that connects the shocks to the spring, use a socket wrench to turn it counterclockwise. The shocks in your vehicle have the appearance of a metal shaft with a tube wrapped around it, and they are connected to the metal struts that also serve to support the suspension spring. Remove the bolt at the connection point between the shocks and the struts with a socket wrench and set the bolt aside. Then, using your hands, gently push the shocks to the side so that they are no longer in the way.
Look for the suspension spring that is coiled around the strut, then look for the shaft that is connected to the strut if you are having trouble finding the shocks on your vehicle.
2. Using a socket wrench, unscrew the bolt that connects the sway bar to the spring assembly. This metal rod is connected to the struts of your vehicle and is responsible for helping to stabilise it when you make sharp turns or stop suddenly. Locate the sway bar and the point at which it is connected to the struts of your vehicle. Remove the bolt that connects them together with a socket wrench, and then use your hands to move the sway bar out of the way until the bolt is removed.
Once the bolt has been removed, you may need to pull the sway bar away from the struts to finish the job.
3. Attach two spring compressors to the outside of the suspension spring’s coil spring. Spring compressors are thin clamps with hooks on each end that hold your spring compressed until it is safe to remove it from the spring compressor. Attach a spring compressor to the spring at both the top and bottom ends. Then, connect a second spring compressor to the one directly across from it.
Two spring compressors must be used in tandem to keep the spring under tension in a safe manner.
Spring compressors are available at auto supply stores and on the internet.
4. Tighten the compressors with a wrench or a drill until the spring separates from the compressors themselves. Replace the screw end of the compressor with a socket wrench, impact wrench, or drill with a socket attachment, and rotate it to tighten it. Alternate back and forth between the two compressors, tightening them a little at a time to ensure that the spring is compressed evenly on both sides. Continue to compress the spring until it is free of the strut.
After the spring has been separated, check to see that it has been compressed evenly.
5. Remove the vehicle’s compressed spring by pulling it out of the vehicle. Disconnect the compressor from the power source by removing the wrench or drill and taking a firm grip on the spring with your hands. Removing the spring from the vehicle and placing it on the ground is recommended.
It is possible that you will have to press down on the control arm beneath the spring in order to get it off the vehicle.
6. Remove the compressors from the spring by loosening their grip on them. Make use of your wrench or drill to slowly loosen the compressors a little bit at a time, alternating back and forth between them, to ensure that the spring is decompressed in an even fashion. Remove the compressors from the spring once they have been sufficiently loosened.
Warning: If you loosen one compressor too quickly, it may cause the spring to shoot out, resulting in serious injury to the user. It is critical that you decompress the spring slowly and evenly throughout the process.
Method 3 Installing the New Spring
1. Then, using the spring compressors, attach the new spring to them and tighten them. Hook up each of the compressors to the new spring by hooking them over the top and bottom of the spring and directly across from each other. Tighten the compressors a little bit at a time with a wrench or drill, alternating back and forth between them to ensure that the tension is applied evenly to the spring. Continue to compress the spring until it is small enough to fit into the slot on the vehicle’s bumper.
Hold the compressed spring up to the slot where it will be used to determine if it has been compressed sufficiently.
2. To instal the compressed spring, slide it onto the vehicle until it clicks into place. Remove the wrench or drill bit and insert the compressed spring into the slot in the vehicle that you previously removed the old one from. The spring should be slid into place and turned until it is snug and clicks into place.
It is critical that the spring is correctly installed in order for it to properly support the weight of the vehicle when it is being driven.
3. Replace the bolts that hold the sway bar and shocks in place and reattach them to ensure they are secure. Connect the sway bar to the vehicle’s struts once more, and tighten the bolt with a socket wrench to ensure it is completely secure. Then, using a socket wrench, tighten the screw that was previously removed from the shocks and struts to ensure that they are properly connected.
All of the attachments around the spring must be tight and secure in order for the spring not to fly off when the tension is released from the spring.
4. With a wrench or a drill, remove the spring compressors from the springs. Slowly loosen the two spring compressors by alternating back and forth between them, releasing a small amount of tension at a time to ensure that the spring decompresses evenly. When the spring compressors are loose enough to be removed with your hands, stop the machine.
The spring should be firmly secured in its position.
Tip: Shake the shocks, sway bar, and struts with your hands to make sure there is no movement in the suspension. If this is the case, use your socket wrench to tighten the connections together.
5. Reinstall the tyre on the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts to secure it. Slide the tyre back onto the vehicle and use your hands to tighten the lug nuts as far as they will allow you to go with them. Whenever you reach the point where you can no longer turn the lug nuts any further by hand, use your tyre iron to tighten one of the lug nuts as much as you can, then tighten the lug nut directly opposite it. Continue to tighten the lug nuts in a star-shaped pattern to ensure that the tyre is attached evenly throughout the vehicle.
6. Lower the vehicle and remove the jack from the vehicle. Rotate the rod in the opposite direction of the vehicle’s movement to lower it to the ground. Lower the jack all the way to the ground so that the tyre is flat on the ground and you can slide the jack out from under the vehicle.
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