How to Replace Front Coil Springs
Installing replacement coil springs on your car requires the right technique and some specialist equipment. The job is not extremely difficult, but it is risky. If you observe some sensible safety precautions, you stand a better chance of success.
Step 1 – Vehicle Raising
First, you must raise your vehicle to a height that it is safely off the ground so that you can easily access the coil springs. Place the car jack under your car and secure it beneath the solid part of the engine cradle before use. If you prefer, you can use a hydraulic jack to support the suspension as you raise the car up.
Always consider safety and use preventative measures to stop the car from slipping off the jacks. Before you raise the car, crack the nuts on the wheels to loosen them.
Step 2 – Wheel Removal
When the car is jacked up safely, remove the front wheels. This procedure largely depends on the make and model you are working on. Different cars have different set ups so use the correct removal process for the car you are repairing.
Step 3 – Ball Joint
You will have to remove the lower ball joint from the control arm. The average size nut on these is a 13/16” so make sure you have a socket that will correctly fits the size you are removing. Then use the pickle fork between the control arm and the spindle. This will separate the mechanical welding between the two. You will then have to jack up the rotor to remove the control arm from the spindle stud.
Step 4 – Removing the Strut
Open the hood and locate the three mounting bolts that hold the strut into the body. Undo all three of these nuts. Then, slip the strut out of position and away from the car. Keep all the nuts safe so that you can use them to replace the new parts. Coil springs don’t come with replacement nuts.
Step 5 – Compressing the Coil
To remove the coil from the strut you must, above all, observe safety. The coil springs must be compressed before you undo the bolt at the top of the strut. This is one of the most dangerous parts of vehicle maintenance and the spring can uncoil and do serious harm. Use the compression brackets at 180 degrees, opposite each other on the spring and tighten them evenly with about 8 – 10 turns each before swapping. Once they have been compressed tightly, you can remove the holding bolt at the top of the strut and take the coil off.
Step 6 – Installing the New Coil Spring
You will also need to compress the new coil spring before you attempt to put it back on the car. Use the same method of compression that you employed on the old springs and keep them at 180 degree opposing angles. Once the tool is tightened you can then place the new spring on the strut. At the bottom of the strut there is a groove which the lower end of the coil spring will slip into and sit. Rest it in that groove and tighten the top bolt. When the new coil spring has been fully installed and secured, you can remove the compression tool.
Step 7 – Reinstalling the Strut
This is a reverse technique to the removal procedure, so replace the strut in the retaining hole of the body and replace the three holding bolts. Then, jack up the rotor again and lock the spindle and control arm back together. Follow the reverse procedure to replace all the remaining parts.