The vehicle's suspension is naturally designed to maximize the friction between the road surface and the tires to provide you with a stable steering, good handling, and comfortable ride. But if your ride is regularly loaded with heavy cargo, that's when your suspension will call for a little help. This is where suspension add-ons come in.
The automotive market won't run out of choices when it comes to suspension add-ons and upgrades. One of the additions most suited to your need of making your truck more capable of transporting heavy loads safely is the helper spring.
Helper springs are added to the stock suspension to improve the vehicle's load-carrying capacity. These add-ons are popular among truck and SUV owners who use their vehicles for carrying heavy stuff.
Should you decide to outfit your ride with suspension helper springs, you need to put these things into consideration for you to find the product that best addresses your needs:
Types of helper springs
Leaf helper springs
These springs are made up of several layers of long and narrow steel plates (called leaves) bound together to work as one. They are slightly curved and are designed to flex billions of times over their lifespan. There are rare cases when they are used in front of the truck, but most of the time, they are installed at the rear. This type of helper spring is further categorized into two.constant and progressive.
Constant-rate leaf springs, as their name implies, work by constantly pushing back up on the load at the spring's rated capacity, regardless of the weight of the load. Though they are reliable, this type of leaf helper spring can give you a harsh ride when the vehicle is lightly loaded.
Progressive leaf springs, on the other hand, adjust their load-bearing springiness on the weight of the load. They push back lightly when the vehicle has light load and hard when you fill your ride with heavy cargo. This spring type, however, is more expensive because it doesn't require any adjustment and ensures a more comfortable ride even when the vehicle isn't loaded.
Air helper springs
This type, which is also called air bag helper spring, comes in thick convoluted or cylindrical air bladders with top and bottom strikes. It also features fill vales, attachment plates, as well as extension lines, which make remote adjustment possible. Air helper springs ensure smoother ride because of their ability to compress, thereby reducing the amount of vibration transmitted from the axle to the vehicle's body.
Constant-rate leaf springs can be adjusted by manually moving the U-bolts while the progressive type does not call for any adjustment. Air helper springs are available with manual and automatic adjusting setups. In a manual setup, the air bags can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the air pressure through the air lines or manual fill valves that are usually located near the license plate at the rear bumper. Automatic setups, on the other hand, come with on-board automatic adjustment compressors that have the ability to sense and adjust vehicle level when necessary.
These are the two main considerations when choosing a helper spring for your ride. Other factors you should look into are durability, affordability, and warranty.