Leaf Springs Vs. Coil Springs: Which Suspension System Is Better?

10 Feb.,2023


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Leaf Springs Vs. Coil Springs: Which Suspension System Is Better?

A suspension system is a system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connect a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two. It is responsible for a vehicle’s handling and braking for safety. There are a variety of independent suspension systems; however in this blog we will only be comparing two types of Spring Suspension Systems; The Leaf Spring System and the Coil Spring System.

What are Leaf Springs and Coils?

Well a leaf spring suspension is made of a series of relatively long strips of steel attached at both ends to a frame and suspending the axle in the middle. A leaf spring takes the form of a slender arc-shaped length of spring steel of rectangular cross-section.  Coil springs as the name suggests, look exactly like how one imagines a spring to look like. It sits on top of the axle or at the lower control arm and the chassis. A coil by definition is a mechanical device which is typically used to store energy and subsequently release it, to absorb shock, or to maintain a force between contacting surfaces.

Here’s a quick comparison of Leaf Springs with Coil Springs for the sake of debate:

Leaf Springs

Leaf spring suspensions are much simpler in terms of functionality as the axle is suspended by the spring, and does not require the arduous suspension geometry of the coil-spring set-up. Leaf springs are also much sturdier as compared to the coil springs. They are capable of handling much higher loads with less deflection than coils. Trucks with leaf springs are also easier to raise or lower.

The leaf springs’ simplicity is as much of a curse as a blessing. Since this spring is attached at fixed points on the chassis, it leaves a minuscule room for adjustability and customization of the suspension geometry. These springs also flex a great deal less than coil springs, resulting in a loss of wheel-to-ground contact under extreme conditions.

Coil Springs

Coil spring suspensions offer more range of suspension movement, and allow the user a wider tuning envelope through the suspension range than leaf springs. Practically all high performance applications use coil springs where possible and if the budget permits.

The two main drawbacks to a coil spring suspension are cost and load-bearing. Cost isn’t so much an issue if the vehicle is originally equipped with coil springs, however the retro-fits can be quite expensive and time consuming. Coils are not ordinarily preferred for very heavy vehicles, as the coil on axle setup isn’t remotely as stable or strong as a proper leaf spring.


This brings us to a conclusion that each of these suspension systems have their applications unique to their functionality and are used accordingly! Leaf springs will usually do an acceptable job and prove themselves a durable choice in the case of heavy, industrial or budget-limited applications; However, there are a very few applications which will benefit from choosing a leaf spring over a coil spring when it’s a matter of performance.

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