Leaf Spring Hanger Buyer’s Guide
- The leaf spring hanger is a small metal component that connects the leaf spring shackle, and consequently the rest of the leaf spring, to the vehicle’s body.
- Constant exposure to the elements, regular wear and tear, or extreme stress can result in the leaf spring hanger being damaged.
- When the leaf spring hanger becomes damaged, the suspension system can become misaligned, your ride will be rougher than normal, and major safety issues will arise.
- Important factors to consider when buying a new leaf spring hanger are fit, whether you’re buying individually or as part of a kit, and the material and build quality.
- The cost of a replacement leaf spring hanger kit ranges from $20 to about $350 depending on the contents and brand of the kit.
Leaf springs are some of the oldest car components ever, practically existing even before the modern car as we know it was born. Because of it’s simple design that’s easy and economical to produce, leaf springs were the go-to suspension system for several decades Today, most cars, pickup trucks, and 4x4 vehicles are already equipped with coil spring suspension. But there are still some pickup trucks, trailers, and other commercial vehicles that use leaf springs in the suspension system.
If you drive a vehicle with leaf springs, it’s essential to know proper leaf spring maintenance and repair, along with other related components that can affect the leaf spring’s functionality when damaged. One small but important component that helps the leaf spring do its job properly is the leaf spring hanger.
What is a Leaf Spring Hanger?
Aside from the leaf spring itself, there are three vital components that allow the leaf spring suspension system to function properly. These are the leaf spring bushings, leaf spring shackles, and leaf spring hangers.
The leaf spring hanger is a small metal component that connects the leaf spring shackle, and consequently the rest of the leaf spring, to the vehicle’s body. The leaf spring hanger, leaf spring hanger brackets or shackles, and bushings and pins give your leaf springs room to move and stretch as your vehicle twists and turns. This helps dampen motion and reduce bounce, which contributes to the overall smoothness of your ride.
What Causes the Leaf Spring Hanger to Fail?
The leaf spring hanger, leaf spring shackle, and the bushings that connect them to the leaf spring are wear points. This means that when you notice a problem with your leaf spring suspension, one of the three components mentioned above is the likely culprit.
Over time, exposure to heat, water, salt, and the elements can compromise the integrity of the metal leaf spring hanger. This leads to rust and corrosion damage eating away at the metal and making your leaf spring hanger weak and vulnerable to breakage. Constant pressure from the movement of the leaf springs and leaf spring shackle can also put a lot of strain on the leaf spring hanger. This is another common cause of leaf spring hanger failure.
There are also some cases, though they are much less common, of leaf spring hangers suddenly breaking or separating from the chassis even on a pretty new vehicle (10,000 miles or less). This can be a result of undue stress to the leaf spring hanger caused by making sharp, 90-degree turns. A leaf spring hanger that suddenly separates from the chassis, on the other hand, might be a result of poor welding.
What Happens When the Leaf Spring Hanger Fails?
So what happens when the leaf hanger fails? As with any suspension system failure, a bad leaf spring hanger can cause a rough ride at best and major safety issues resulting in a crash at worst. One more side effect of a bad leaf spring hanger is more rapid wear for your leaf springs. Without proper support for your leaf spring’s movement, the component will wear down more quickly than usual.
A bad leaf spring hanger that becomes loose can also lead to misalignments in your suspension system. When this happens, you will experience control issues while driving and your rear axles and tires can wear out more quickly than usual.
If your leaf spring hanger suddenly pops off while you’re driving a trailer or hauling a heavy load, whatever you’re hauling or towing might become off balance and skid or tip sideways. This causes not just safety issues for you but problems for other drivers on the road as well.
When to Replace the Leaf Spring Hanger
A failing leaf spring hanger needs to be replaced immediately to avoid causing damage to your leaf springs and other major suspension system components. Here are some common signs that could point to a leaf spring hanger that needs to be replaced.
Cracks or Breaks
Hairline cracks or fractures on the leaf spring hanger should not be left unattended. After some time, the small breaks can become bigger and cause your leaf spring hanger to separate from the chassis.
Because of the location of the suspension system, suspension components like the leaf spring and leaf spring hanger are highly susceptible to rust damage. It’s important to do a physical inspection of your suspension system regularly to check for rust. If you notice that your leaf spring hanger, bushings, and shackle have too much rust on them, it’s time to have them replaced.
Shaky Leaf Spring Hanger
The leaf spring hanger is a component that needs to be welded firmly to your chassis. If you lightly shake the leaf spring hanger and it moves around, there could be issues with the welding point. This happens when the welds do not properly bond to the chassis.
Choosing a Leaf Spring Hanger
There are several factors to consider when looking for a replacement leaf spring hanger. The first is whether you’re buying the replacement leaf spring hanger individually or if you’re going to get a leaf spring hanger kit. A kit usually contains any number of leaf spring hangers, leaf spring shackles, bushings and pins. This is excellent because these components usually wear out at roughly the same time, so replacing them all at once saves you time and effort.
Another important consideration is fit. Check your owner’s manual or the old leaf spring hanger to find the part or identification number. This allows you to ensure that you’re getting the correct replacement part for your vehicle’s particular make, model, and year. Another way to get the right replacement part is to measure the old leaf spring hanger and match its measurements to the replacement part.
Lastly, it’s important to check the materials and build quality of the replacement leaf spring hanger too. If you’re looking for a trailer leaf spring hanger or something that’s designed to haul really heavy loads, finding the correct heavy-duty component is essential.
How Much Does a Leaf Spring Hanger Kit Cost?
The cost of a replacement leaf spring hanger kit ranges from $20 to about $350 depending on the contents and brand of the kit.