What Is a Leaf Spring?
Like many auto parts, a leaf spring is one of those items you never know you need until it breaks or wears down. Without leaf springs, you'd be in for a much bumpier and rougher ride around town. For centuries, people have used leaf springs to smooth out their rides, whether in an automobile or a horse-drawn carriage. While you probably don't associate leaf springs with luxury, they're essential to your comfort as you drive a truck.
Learn more about what leaf springs are and how the modern auto industry uses them.
Leaf Spring Definition
A leaf spring is a suspension system for vehicles that has been in use since medieval times. They were initially called carriage or laminated springs. This tried-and-true system was primarily in use on almost all vehicles up to the 1970s, and you'll still see them today on trucks and vans that haul heavy loads.
The leaf spring consists of an arc-shaped, slender piece of steel stacked with the same material in smaller sizes and bolted together, creating a reinforced bow-like item. When attached to the rear axle and the chassis, it supports any weight added to a vehicle, preventing the axle from buckling and snapping from the pressure.
In the simplest terms, a leaf spring refers to a spring featuring multiple layers of metal bracketed together. They're essential to the suspension systems of vehicles.
What Is the Purpose of a Leaf Spring?
The overall purpose of a leaf spring is to provide support for a vehicle. It also creates a smoother ride by absorbing any bumps or potholes in the road. Additionally, leaf springs locate the axle and control the height at which the vehicle rides, while keeping the tires aligned on the road.
Because of these benefits, leaf springs are in high demand. Casual transportation is only one of the ways leaf springs have contributed to our transportation industry. These days, leaf springs are more popular with heavy commercial vehicles like trucks, SUVs and vans.
The need to support farm equipment inspired leaf springs' invention. In the past, when agriculture was the major industry leader, leaf springs were a major advancement. Improvements like the leaf spring made it easier and faster for farmers to haul and transport trade goods. Though leaf spring design has improved over the years, today's farming equipment uses the same concept.
Hauling and Plowing With Industrial Equipment
Without the use of leaf springs, construction vehicles would be unable to haul heavy loads. Construction vehicles need to have the capacity to carry heavy items like brick, stone, concrete and other massive materials. It doesn’t matter how large a vehicle is if its design can't support overbearing loads. When a construction vehicle doesn't have leaf springs, it won't be able to handle heavy loads, resulting in breakdowns and unnecessary costs.
In addition to transporting construction items, leaf springs also benefit areas that get lots of snow. High volumes of snow can get heavy once they freeze. Equipping trucks and snowplows with heavy-duty leaf springs will alleviate any unnecessary stress, helping them last through the winter.
Tow trucks and other vehicles that regularly pull vehicles or trailers need leaf springs. If you need to tow, you must ensure your truck's leaf springs are in working order before taking on any job. Since trucks will need to tow other heavy vehicles either behind them or on a platform, heavy-duty leaf springs are essential to protecting your axle from breakdowns due to excessive weight.
If you're towing another vehicle behind you, it's essential to understand that your truck's back wheels will take some of the vehicle's weight. One of the uses of leaf springs on your tow truck is handling this extra weight. Leaf springs also help a vehicle's suspension system adjust to the weight, keeping your truck at the best position and height.
General Spring: Holding You Up!
General Spring has been the automotive leaf springs and suspension authority since 1965. We specialize in providing original equipment manufacturing and heavy-duty leaf spring replacements. If you're unsure of what you need, our dedicated team of service professionals can help you find the part for you and answer any questions you might have.
Browse our selection of leaf springs to find one that meets your vehicle's needs. If you can't find one, we can design a custom leaf spring for your specific work haul. Call us toll-free at 888-829-0619, and local Kansas City residents can call 913-829-0619. You can also contact us via email or through our online form.