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Yesterday I was driving home from work and heard a loud noise which I can only really describe as a "clang". After looking at it today, it looks like the spring for the front left (passenger side) suspension has snapped at the bottom.

Here is a picture of the damage:

enter image description here

I've already had a couple of friends advise that this is still safe to drive in this condition and was really just looking for some clarification that this is, in fact, safe to drive for a very short term basis (since I need it to get to work).

I have it booked in to get repaired in a few days so it really will be quite short term, and the mileage covered during this time will be about 60 miles.

Keeping in mind that the break is on the first coil, and that the car hasn't lowered all that much in this corner, is this going to be safe for me to drive for a couple of days until it gets repaired?

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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I would say this would be fine to drive slowly and carefully over short distances (I've had worse) - but things to be careful of:

  • potholes
  • speed bumps (seriously - watch out)
  • cornering hard
  • high speeds

Also try and avoid braking or accelerating hard - gently come to a stop at lights etc as you want to avoid too much nose travel up and down.

Get it to the garage asap, though - it is a really easy fix.

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It's not that bad. I wouldn't go driving fast or anything, but you should be okay. There are guys who cut the springs on their Honda Civics (it's always Honda Civics for some reason) to make them lower and they seem to be doing okay.

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I agree with @ Rory Alsop that yes the car can be driven short distances at reasonable speed in order to get it replaced. Be aware that the broken spring no longer has the formed end that positions in the strut. While many people do cut their springs, it is a calculated cut hopefully balancing ride height and spring rate. In my experience the most common cause of broken springs is worn struts. Worn struts lack the rebound and dampening controls which allows the spring to overcompress and overextend weakening it.

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With broken springs, wheels tend to "jump": on average, the wheel will spend less time in contact with the ground, especially when the road is slightly bumpy. This reduced braking efficiency. For the short term, reducing your driving speed will lower your need for braking, and thus compensate this effect.

Be warned that willingly driving with such a known break probably invalidates your insurance. Woe to you if you have an accident. Depending on your local laws, this may make driving your car with a broken spring illegal -- not the same thing as dangerous, but an important parameter nonetheless.

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There is a hazard from the broken part of the spring as there may be a possibility of this dislodging from the remaining part and contacting the tyre. This could then damage the tyre wall and cause a blow out. It could also fall into the road causing a hazard (being picked up by lorry wheel and thrown into passing car. Just had spring break after 105K miles hence visit to this site. Get both springs (and if necessary struts) replaced. It costs but you will be safe and save in the long run. Many roads here in Uk have potholes after pretty wet winter which is leading to failure of those springs which already have cracks in metal after high mileage.

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