Accessories & Gear

Springs 101 – Leaf, Coil, and Torsion Springs Explained

If you don’t know much about vehicle suspensions, that’s OK. Most people never crawl under their truck to figure out the exact purpose of every piece of suspension. Even if you’re brave enough to get underneath with a flashlight, a lot of the components are hard to identify and/or understand.

Fortunately, there’s something called the “Internet” that can tell us what we want to know about springs. The folks at Four Wheeler magazine created a basic guide to springs that is a must-read for any suspension newb. Here’s the short version:

Leaf springs are the simplest and most rugged vehicle spring you’ll find, and they’re ideal for any sort of heavy-duty application (like hauling a heavy payload in your Tacoma). You’ll find them supporting the rear axle of almost every pickup on the market (the 2009+ Ram 1500 is a notable exception, as it has rear coil springs).

Coil springs are just about the only spring you’ll find on a car because:

  • They don’t take up a lot of space
  • They’re lighter than leaf springs (less unsprung suspension weight means a better ride)
  • They’re less expensive than leaf springs

but that doesn’t mean that coil springs aren’t worthy of trucks or SUVs. Almost all modern pickups and SUVs use coil springs on the front suspension.

Torsion bars are the simplest of all springs – you just take a steel bar, bolt one end to the frame, and then let the other end twist as needed to absorb bumps. As you can imagine, twisting a steel bar is hard to do, which means torsion bar suspensions are pretty durable. The downside to a torsion bar is that it’s just not that tunable – while coils and leafs can be given variable spring rates and given fairly fine tuning (coils are the easiest to tune), torsion bars are hunks of steel you twist…not a lot of finesse there.

Understanding the different types of springs available is a good idea for any truck-owner thinking about suspension modifications. Be sure to check out our Tacoma lift leveling kit guide too.


Leaf coil torsion bar springs explained

Suspension is one of the most important aspects of any four-wheel-drive vehicle, but can be an intimidating topic for anyone new to the sport…We’ll walk you through what makes torsion bars, coils, and leaf springs different, and the pros and cons of each. Of course, you’ll want to keep in mind that what we’ll cover is in general terms, and there are exceptions out there. Read the full article