In the world of motoring, the importance of balance over power can't be further stressed. Without balance, a powerful car can roll or skid out of control and get in serious trouble. That's why race drivers and professional mechanics put a premium on quality suspension.In racing, most cars are tuned for performance, meaning they're equipped with a stiff suspension that provides superb handling at the expense of riding comfort. For street cars, however, a balance between handling and comfort is ideal. That's what the helper spring is for.The spring helps a car handle extra loads and the rough weight transitions involved when driving at the limits. The main spring does its work as usual when driving with little load or cruising along at average speeds. Once you start loading up on passengers and cargo, or when you floor the throttle, the helper spring kicks in to help keep your car in balance.It's one of the most reliable suspension upgrades possible. You'll find a wide variety of helper springs here at Carparts.
• Helps support excess loads
• Improves overall balance and performance
• Guarantees that suspension system reliably supports your car
Helper Spring Buyer's Guide
- A helper spring usually appears to be a thinner and smaller spring when compared to main suspension springs. They function to complement the main suspension spring and are specially engineered to enhance and support your vehicle’s suspension.
- The two common types of helper springs are steel springs and pneumatic springs.
- Steel helper springs reinforce your vehicle’s existing suspension. It does this through auxiliary spring/s that are either bolted above or below your main suspension spring assembly.
- Pneumatic springs expand or contract depending on the weight of your cargo. Also called air springs or air bags, they are inflated with air to level the bed of your vehicle and avoid squatting when carrying heavy loads.
- A typical helper spring replacement will cost you around $100 to $500. To ensure that you are getting the right fit, enter your vehicle’s correct details in our built-in search console.
Your vehicle’s suspension system is integral to maintaining a smooth and comfortable ride. This system is composed of several components such as a chassis, an anti-sway bar, and of course, the suspension springs. Along with shock absorbers and struts, they support your vehicle’s weight and absorb excess energy and impact caused by road shock.
Aside from the suspension’s main spring, there is another kind of spring that made to support and enhance your suspension system. In this article, you will learn more about helper springs, their types, and what to look for in case you decide to install one for your vehicle. If you already have helper springs installed and you’re looking for a replacement, you’re also reading the right article.
What is a helper spring?
Compared to your vehicle’s main suspension springs, a helper is usually thinner and smaller. They work to complement the suspension’s main spring. Helper springs are especially engineered to enhance and support your vehicle’s suspension.
Helper springs are helpful for your rear suspension. Carrying heavy cargo, for example, may put your rear suspension in a lot of stress. There is a great chance your vehicle may experience squatting, which makes your vehicle point downwards especially during hard acceleration. This scenario is not ideal because it takes away weight from the front wheels which may cause reduced braking power. Thankfully, helper springs were introduced to the automotive market to help solve this problem.
Types of Helper Springs
There are two common types of helper springs: steel springs and pneumatic springs. Before buying and installing helper springs, it is best to read up on them to make sure that what you’re buying is compatible with your type of vehicle. Also, you may talk to your trusted professional about it.
Steel Helper Springs
Steel helper springs work by reinforcing your vehicle’s existing suspension by bolting auxiliary spring/s above your main suspension spring assembly. Your suspension system can also be enhanced by adding more leaf springs to the current assembly. A leaf spring helper is usually made up of coil springs. They expand and contract depending on the weight of your vehicle and the actual driving condition.
Depending on your preference and the type of steel helper spring you choose, your trusted mechanic will know where to install your newly-bought helper springs.
Commonly called air helper springs, these types of springs are able to expand or contract depending on the weight of your cargo. In a truck, for example, an air spring or air bag is inflated with air to level the bed of the truck and avoid squatting.
Air bag helper springs are one of the most popular choices when it comes to helper springs. One of the advantages of installing air bag suspensions is easy adjustability. You can easily increase and decrease air pressure depending on the situation. This is particularly helpful when you are loading a truck with an uneven load.
However, pneumatic springs also have some disadvantages. Generally, they are a lot harder to maintain than steel springs. Frequent maintenance may be needed to avoid any damages, leaks, cracks, or breaks.
When will I need to replace a helper spring?
Most suspension springs are built to last for many years. However, different factors may affect the lifespan of any of your suspension springs such as frequent cargo overloading and exposure to road debris and the elements.
Generally, any changes in ride quality may be attributed to a faulty suspension component. If you notice your rear sagging while carrying cargo, this may be a sign your rear suspensions, including your helper springs, are not working as it should.
In most cases, you will hear clunking or squeaking during a bumpy ride if one of your suspension components is faulty. When this happens, it is recommended to have your vehicle checked right away.
In case your helper springs need replacement, you don’t need to worry because CarParts.com offers a wide variety of high-quality helper springs for you to choose from.
What should I look for in a replacement spring?
Shopping for suspension springs may be overwhelming. The number of options available and the different types of helper springs may cause some confusion. Aside from reading about helper springs and knowing the specifications of your vehicle, it is also important to keep these factors in mind:
Since your vehicle’s helper springs are exposed to constant stress, it is important to find ones that are durable enough to withstand your cargo’s weight. There are many OEM and OE replacements available in the market today. No matter what type you choose, make sure that these are high-quality and not substandard. After all, your suspension does not only ensure a smooth and bounce-reduced ride. It also helps you steer and maneuver your vehicle properly.
Value for Money
One important factor you should also consider is affordability and value for money. High-quality car parts do not necessarily need to be priced high. Instead, look for helper springs that are durable, high-quality, and of course, sold at an equally reasonable price range.
How much does a helper spring replacement cost?
A typical helper spring replacement will cost you around $100 to $500. However, some brands may exceed this price range. Helper springs are either sold in sets of two or as part of a whole kit. There are helper springs available for both the front and rear suspensions so just make sure to tick the right box. Also, don’t forget to check the product specification before purchasing to avoid buying the wrong car part.
Finding the right fit
To ensure that you are getting the right fit, enter the correct details of your vehicle into our built-in search console. Click search and browse through our wide selection of helper springs. From there, choose the ones that are best compatible with your vehicle. You may also filter your search according to your desired brand and the price range you prefer.
Although there are many self-help videos online on how to install helper springs, it is still recommended to have a trusted professional do the installation for you.
How to Install a Helper Spring in 4 Steps
Your vehicle may lead you from one place to another but if it cannot carry enough load for your driving and cruising needs, then your auto is only as good as a thirsty camel. However, with the installation of an efficient helper spring, your car will be able to bear and withstand a greater load-carrying capacity. So if you find your springs in bad condition or you simply want to install one for your auto, then here is a four-step fix to your helper spring problem.
Required skill level: Novice
Needed tools and materials
- Jack and jack stands
- Ratchet and socket set
- Tire iron
- Safety glasses
Preparation for the helper spring's installation
First, lift the rear of your vehicle using the jack and secure it with the jack stands. Afterwards, detach the rear wheels using the tire iron.
Locating the place for installation
Once the wheels are detached, position yourself in front of the rear suspension. As you can see, the helper spring should be bolted on the top of the leaf spring pack. So, carefully install the new spring in such a way that the curled ends of the part are pointed up. The bolts should be loosely settled in position in preparation for the final step.
Tightening the bolts
Now using the ratchet and socket, tighten the bolts. You may install a second bolt as an additional safety measure to provide better security. Do not forget to torque the bolts into place before reinstalling the wheels.
Reinstalling the wheels
Finally, you may now reinstall the rear wheels with the tire iron. Lower the auto mobile off the stands and your vehicle is now built to allow greater load capacity. Give your vehicle a run to check if the springs were installed properly.
Tips and warnings
- When working with your auto, be sure to always wear safety glasses. The underside of your vehicle may contain rust or debris that may damage your eyes.
- Additionally, wearing gloves will not only provide you a safety measure against rusting parts but also provide you a better grip with the tools.
Helper Spring: Buying Tips
Helper springs are reliable aftermarket components that are added to the top of a leaf spring pack. These springs are designed to increase a vehicle's load capacity and improve its overall stability. So if you're the type of guy who constantly tows or loads his ride with heavy cargo, then helper springs are surely the thing for you. These suspension components can be of great help when it comes to upgrading your suspension. However, you'll want to make sure that you're getting the right ones for your vehicle. Here are a few need-to-know facts about aftermarket helper springs.
Helper springs vs. Tender springs
These two are very similar in appearance but are used quite differently. A helper spring is meant to keep the main spring snug and has a very soft rate, around 10lbs/in. A tender spring, on the other hand, has a rate ranging from 150 lbs/in to 300 lbs/ in. In addition to that, this spring is meant to be used in conjunction with a stiffer linear rate main spring. Do not confused the two, because you wouldn't want to order a tender spring by mistake.
Helper spring types
These springs get the job done, but they cannot be adjusted according to the weight of the load. Such helper springs provide the bare minimum, but it comes highly recommended that you get one that can be adjusted.
As the name implies, these springs may be manually adjusted according to the weight of the cargo being loaded. In turn, you're able to fine-tune your helper springs to provide the needed support for your cargo.
This specific type of helper spring senses the amount of load and varies its support based on the new weight. Self-adjusting helper springs are very convenient and do not require tweaking every time you change cargo loads. For the latest in helper spring technology, it is recommended that you buy this spring variant.
Factors to consider
- Weight capacity- Choose helper springs based on their ability to serve your exact needs. Top-quality springs can provide an impressive 1,000-2,000 lb. carrying capacity.
- Compatibility- See to it that the new helper springs you are getting are designed to fit your vehicle type, make, and model.
- Installation- To get your money's worth, choose helper springs that are easy to install and come with U-bolts and other mounting hardware.
- Material- Strong materials are a must for such a component. We recommend you get helper springs that are made of heat-treated alloy spring steel for maximum durability.
How to Install your Helper Spring
Is your vehicle's suspension suffering because of the heavy loads it's forced to carry? If your answer is an emphatic "yes", then you need some new helper springs. These aftermarket components are designed to increase your vehicle's load capacity and improve driving stability. With these springs hooked up to your leaf spring pack, your vehicle will be able to support heavy loads and prolong the overall life of your suspension system. If you have worn out helper springs, then you'll need to have them replaced right away. On the other hand, you'll have less to worry about if you're simply installing new springs for the first time. Either way, the step-by-step process listed below should be very helpful when it comes to plugging in your new helper springs. This DIY job won't take up much of your time and requires only a few basic tools.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Wheel chocks
- Jack stands
- Tire iron
- 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set
- New helper springs
Step 1: Park your vehicle on a level surface and place the wheel chocks around the front tires.
Step 2: Lift the rear of the vehicle using the jack, and place jack stands underneath the rear axle.
Step 3: Remove rear tires using the tire iron.
Step 4: Position yourself in front of the rear suspension. At this point, if you are simply installing a new leaf spring and not replacing a broken one, then proceed to step 6.
Step 5: Locate the helper spring, which is bolted to the top of the leaf spring pack. Use a ?-inch ratchet and socket to remove the U-bolts holding the helper spring in place.
Step 6: Install the new helper spring by bolting it on to the top of the leaf spring pack.
Step 7: Reinstall the rear wheels with the tire iron and lower the vehicle off the jack stands.