Reasons to Check Your U-Bolts
Although U-bolts play a critical role in ensuring your leaf spring suspension system works properly, they're often one of the most overlooked components. These invaluable pieces of a suspension system can mean the difference between a smooth ride and a rough one, as they ensure your
leaf springs work properly by absorbing shocks from the road.
By learning more about what U-bolts are and how they're used, you're more likely to keep an eye on them and replace them when needed. Additionally, you can find out more about what can go wrong with U-bolts, so you can better spot warning signs indicating they need to be repaired or replaced.
What Is a U-Bolt?
A U-bolt is a bolt that is threaded at both ends and shaped like the letter "U." These bolts can come in a round, square or a semi-round U shape depending on the suspension's needs. They are a major part of the leaf spring suspension and securely connect a suspension system's leaf spring pack to the vehicle's axle.
You can think of U-bolts as large industrial paperclips, designed to keep the suspension system and leaf springs securely together. In trucks, properly functioning U-bolts provide enough force to ensure your leaf springs and other components are sufficiently clamped together.
How Are U-Bolts Used?
In vehicles, leaf spring U-bolts primarily go around the axle and hold the leaf spring bundle tightly on the underside of the axle. Thisfunction is especially important if the leaf springs do not have spring clips to securely hold the leaves together in the bundle.By the U-bolts tightly holding the leaf spring against the axle, the springs absorb the shock applied to your suspension when your wheels go over rough terrainby transferring the shock from the axle to the springs.
Besides their ability to absorb shock, they're also used to keep the spring at the optimal stiffness. They can also keep your vehicle at the right handling specification and the best ride height. Additionally, U-bolts reduce forces acting on the center bolts, protecting these parts from shearing.
What Can Go Wrong With U-Bolts?
The main reason to check your U-bolts is to ensure you catch potential problems before they damage your vehicle. Like any bolt, the biggest problem that can happen with a U-bolt is for the nut to become loose. Thisloosening is made easier because the suspension system and the U-bolts within it are constantly subjected to vibrations and jolts when you're driving.
When the nuts become loose, a couplethings can happen. The first of which is that the U-bolt itself can start hitting against the axle. Since the bolt is designed to be tightly held against the leaf spring, the constant striking can lead to bolt breakage.
Secondly, even if the bolts are not to the point of rattling around, they can become slack, causing the shorter leaf springs within the leaf spring bundle to move sideways. If caught early, you can tap the leaf springs back into place and re-tighten the U-bolts, but if they're left unattended, loose bolts can cause your leaf springs to become disassembled.
Choose General Spring for All Your Suspension System Needs
Our experts at General Spring have been authorities in the design and installation of automotive leaf spring and suspension products since 1965. In this time, we've mastered what it takes to keep a suspension system working smoothly. By keeping many items in stock, we can supply quality products with fast shipping and low prices. Furthermore, we can easily check the quality before shipping to our customers due to our factory direct approach.
If you want a heavy-duty option for your car, truck, van or SUV, we have plenty of items in stock. For those who just need to replace broken or worn factory springs, we can replace them. If we don’t have them in stock,
we can custom design one for you.
our selection of U-bolts to find one meeting your vehicle's requirements. If you have any questions, call us or contact us online. If you're in the Kansas City area, you can call us at 913-829-0619, and national customers can call us toll-free at 888-829-0619.