Blown Coilovers: Symptoms & The Fix

By June 6, 2021Coilovers

Your coilovers are likely blown if you have the following symptoms:

  1. More bounce on speed bumps
  2. Visible oil leakage
  3. More body roll when cornering

Of course there’s a lot more to it. As a long time user of coilovers myself,  I have had my fair share of blown / broken coilovers in the past – not pleasant but not the end of the world!

In this article I will talk more about blown coilovers, why they happen and what you could do with them – so you can prevent them. 

Interested? Read on. 

Symptoms Of Blown Coilovers

Blown coilovers are pretty easy to spot – they almost always have all of these symptoms:

1. Extra bouncy ride

If your car bounces significantly during speed bumps or potholes, this is a heavy indication of blown coilovers. 

To further verify this, you could use your body weight to apply pressure on the side where the broken coilover is. If the car bounces significantly more, then it’s likely your coilover is blown. 

Coilovers use springs and oil (hydraulic fluid) to absorb pressure during speed bumps or cornering. Failure in any of these components could be why your ride is super bouncy.

2. Bottoming out

Blown coilovers can no longer support the intended load – which means your car will bottom out very often. You should notice the bottoming out when travelling with a few additional passengers. 

Bottoming out is when your car’s chassis comes in contact with the wheel (or bump stop) – causing the “thud” sounds. It happens because the springs have reached maximum load and are fully compressed.

Coilovers with faulty or low quality springs have a much lower maximum load – gain a couple of pounds and the faulty springs will give up on you.(just kidding!)

When going at high speeds, bottoming out may cause many problems. Mainly, the low stance may destroy your oil pan and at worst, cause catastrophic engine failure if your car runs out of oil and you don’t take notice.

3. Oil leak

Another symptom of a blown coilover is oil leakage, this is easy to spot. Just take your cell phone flash and inspect the coilovers, and if you are seeing some oil on them starting to form it means that they started leaking. 

If you purchased a good quality coilovers, an oil leak should be covered under its warranty. Do not hesitate to contact the dealer or shop from where you got it from.

Good coilovers are known to have a long warranty – some are even lifetime warranty and will replace the coilovers in case of an oil leak. 

Leaking oil coilovers

Blown coilovers often leak oil (hydraulic fluid)

Can You Drive On Blown Coilovers?

Driving on blown coilovers is possible but not recommended. Coilovers’ main role is to absorb shocks. Driving with a fault shock absorbers means other components in the suspension will take the shocks instead. 

In the long run, you could damage these components and cost even more money and time to fix. Suspension components are the hardest working part in your car – fix them quickly and take care of them!  

Also, coilovers are responsible for the majority of your riding comfort.

Riding with blown coilovers means your ride quality is going to be terrible – going over bumps are extremely uncomfortable and cornering ability is significantly reduced.

Driving with blown coilovers to the workshop or back home is fine. Make sure to drive slow and avoid potholes or bumps. You should look to fix blown coilovers as soon  you have the budget before you break anything else. 

Pro tip: If you never ride a boat before, you can try driving with blown coilovers. They feel the same – horrible cornering, bumpy rides, body rolls, etc. (I’m just kidding!)

Squeaking Noise Does Not Indicate Blown Coilovers

If you hear a squeaking noise from your front suspension that is probably not a blown coilover. Squeaking noises can be caused by many different culprits but most probably not a blown coilover. 

The main reasons why your coilovers squeak is either a bad install or loose bolts.

So, when you are installing a new set of coilovers, always take your car to a professional mechanic that knows how to do things the right way and make your car safe.

More info about squeaking and weird noises from coilovers here: How Long Do Coilovers Last ? (And Common Problems) 

If you are replacing coilovers on your own, pay attention to the direction manual and follow the instructions carefully for a successful installation. 

Suspension components are not meant to be dealt with by untrained professionals – the  many hazards could end up hurting you! Proceed with caution. 

Reasons That Cause Blown Coilovers

The most common reason for blown (or broken) coilovers is regularly driving over potholes with high speed.

This unnecessarily adds pressure to the coilovers – causing it to break (even faster if coilovers of low quality).

Broken coilovers are common for drivers living in a country where the roads are pretty bad. Your vehicle will hit bumps on a daily basis and your coilover seals become weak and start leaking.

If you want to protect your coilovers you need to take it easy. Don’t drive too fast, and always keep your eyes on the road.

Which muffler is your car right now?

Spot the potholes and bumps. Slow down before going over them. 

The other reason for blown coilovers is time. Seals from coilovers can go bad by themselves. Everything is built to last for certain miles but some products (especially defective ones) will blow out much quicker. 

My best advice is to take care of your coilovers, go slow on bumps and ensure you are protected by a good warranty when buying new coilovers. 

Related articles:

  1. How Do You Maintain Coilovers (6 Tips)
  2. How Do You Clean Coilover Threads?

How To Fix Blown Coilovers?

Fixing a blown coilovers is not easy (and may not even be worth it). This is why in most cases with warranty, your coilovers are replaced with a new one.

That aside there are 2 ways to deal with a blown coilovers:

1. Fix coilovers by workshops

Broken coilovers are not easy to fix and can sometimes be very expensive due to the complexity and parts required. 

When attempting to fix coilovers from a workshop, the best they could do is replace the seals and fill the coilovers with hydraulic fluid.

This repair can save you some money in the short term and restore your ride quality again. However, it’s not a permanent fix.

Your coilovers are bound to leak again where you eventually need to refill again. 

I do not recommend this fix, unless you are really on a budget or if the fix is guaranteed to be permanent (question the mechanic!).

2. Buy a new (or used) coilovers

Buying new (or used) coilovers is the pricier approach but also preferable because it’s most likely a permanent solution to your coilover problems. 

I recommend always looking for coilovers from a highly reputable brand – think KW or Eibach. They generally provide the best quality and lifetime warranty (no more headaches from blown coilovers!)

Related articles:

Image of KW Coilovers

High quality KW coilovers often have long mileage or even lifetime warranty.

Conclusion

Pay attention when hitting potholes and the motions that your car is making, if it bounces out it means the coilovers are probably blown, also make a personal inspection and check for leakage, if they leak, they are blown. 

And if they are blown, you have two options available, you either go and get a set of new ones or you decide to repair them. That’s also good, but most importantly stay safe and always fix your car.

Ifandi S.

Ifandi S.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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