How Long Do Coilovers Last? (And Common Problems)

By October 20, 2020July 19th, 2021Coilovers

Good coilovers that are properly installed and maintained could last a long time – about 150,000 miles or more. Coilovers below this range that are making squeaking or thumping noises could easily be fixed without replacement. 

In this article I discuss all the common problems in coilovers and how to fix them. I will also cover how to maintain coilovers for maximum longevity. If you follow all the tips in this article, I am pretty sure your coilovers could last a long time. 

Coilovers Common Problems & Fixes

Here are the common problems people see in their coilovers. Most of them don’t require you to replace the coilovers – just quick fixes and small parts replacement could bring them back to their former glory. 

Also, most people become concerned with their coilovers when they hear weird noises from their suspension system – you will also experience them at some point. These are the kinds of problems I will be focusing on  in this article. 

One thing to note, these problems could be fixed easily – they happen to the best of coilovers. Problems like blown shocks from cheap coilovers can’t be fixed. So stay away from cheap eBay coilovers if you don’t want the headache. 

That being said, let’s get to the list 🙂

1. Squeaking Coilovers

If your coilovers are making squeaking noises as you drive (even on float roads), then it’s probably due to a bad install or loose bolts. There are many moving parts in the suspension system and coilovers, some bolts coming loose are very common.

The easiest fix is to find the squeaking source and tighten the bolts in the area. You could also just take off the coilovers and reinstall them and then clean the coilovers while you are at it! Cleaning coilovers is usually a good practise. I will cover this in the maintenance section below. 

If you are not familiar with how to install coilovers, then now is the perfect time to learn. There are plenty of tutorials from YouTube. Get to know your coilovers and get rid of those squeaking. Here’s a good YouTube tutorial.

2. Clunking Coilovers

Clunking noises happen because metal objects come in contact with one another. This becomes pretty common once you have used the coilovers for a while. Or if you install other suspension components that can add more stress and noise. 

Metal to metal contacts can quickly wear out and they get noisy. This is why coilovers come with rubber bushings and bump stops. These rubber materials can get worn out as you drive and allow metal to metal contact – which generates the clunking noise. 

To fix this clunking noise, replace the rubber bushings in your suspension system. Common ones are: 

  • Bump stops
  • Top strut mount bushings
  • Control arm bushings
  • Trailing arm bushings
Image of KW coilovers for Audi
Rubber bump stops in coilovers. These may get worn out and should be replaced.

3. Popping Noise From Suspension 

Popping noise usually comes from the camber plating – which controls the position of your tyres. You should hear these popping noises when you are steering. 

Strut plating is not a direct part of a coilover but you had to tinker with it when you first installed the coilovers. If the noise comes directly after installing coilovers, could it be possible that you tighten bolts on the strut plating? 

Otherwise, it’s possible that the strut plate is worn out and needs replacing. It should not be such an expensive replacement and you definitely don’t need to replace the coilovers. Do note that you will need to go for alignment if the strut plate is changed. 

Camber Plate
Camber plating might be loose. This can cause popping noise

4. Loud Thump When Going Over Bumps

If you just install coilovers and hear a loud thump when going over bumps, then you might have a spring that’s too weak (low spring load) – nothing to do with spring rate or putting your ride height too low. 

Most coilovers only advertise spring rate (and not spring load). And that’s a reason – spring load shouldn’t be too much of a concern to you, unless you purchased cheap coilovers that use a weak spring. 

In simple terms, spring load defines how much total weight it can support before it fully compresses and stack up on each other. If your spring load is too low, then the spring will fully compress even with just a passenger or two.

The solution is to replace the spring on the coilovers with one that’s stronger (higher spring load).

fully compressed spring
Fully compressed spring when maximum load is achieved

5. Oil Leak

Internally, the shocks in coilovers use oil to absorb excess energy. If your coilovers are leaking oil, it could mean that the seals are worn and should be replaced. 

This also shouldn’t be too expensive. Especially if your coilovers are still under warranty. Most coilovers from reputable brands have at least a 5-year warranty (or even lifetime for the better ones). 

If there’s a lot of oil leak, you should get the coilovers fixed asap.

Coilovers Warranty

Coilovers could be one of the hardest working components in your car. It’s important you get a good one that’s covered with warranty. I suggest you look for coilovers that have a lifetime warranty. Or at least a 5-year warranty.

I cover my recommended coilovers at the bottom. Read on if you want to know about it 🙂

How To Maintain Coilovers?

Coilovers like any other car parts should be maintained regularly. Below are the common maintenance that you could perform on your coilovers – to make sure they last a lifetime.

1. Clean The Coilovers 

Coilovers get dirty quickly – especially during the rainy season or during winter. The dirt and moisture could form rust and corrosion which damage your coilovers in the long term.

Use a pressurised air gun or water hose to blow all the dirts from the coilovers. This is the easiest and quickest method. To be more thorough, you could remove the coilovers altogether for brushing and cleaning with soapy water. 

You obviously don’t have to take them off for brushing regularly. Just do it from time to time to make sure the dirt and debris don’t get stuck and harden – preventing you from adjusting them. At other times, pressurized water hose is sufficient.

2. Re-tighten Screws And Bolts

Re-tighten any screws and bolts in your suspension system to prevent any squeaking noises. These are easy maintenance that don’t need any much explanation (if you have read the above section!) 

3. Coilovers Covers

Use coilover covers to keep dirt, debris and water away from your coilovers. This is extremely useful during winter or the rainy season.

Coilovers covers are quite pricey – about $40 for a pair. Which means $80 if you have 4 coilovers. But it does a good job of protecting your coilovers and keeping it in shape. I would say they are worth it. 

Installation is easy. You don’t need to take off the coilovers – just wrap the coilovers around with the coilovers and the sticky velcro should do the job.

Here’s a coilover covers from Amazon that I have personally used.

Coilover Covers
Coilover Covers

4. Use Corrosion Protectant 

Corrosion protectant as the name suggests, prevent your coilovers from corroding. It’s a coating that you apply by spraying or painting your coilovers. Make sure to do it after you have washed the coilovers from dirt and debris.

It’s better if you can take off your coilovers while you clean and apply the corrosion protectant. This way you can be more thorough and make sure every important part is coated.

Otherwise, applying them with your coilovers already installed should also work.

Here’s the best selling anti seize from Amazon.

Corrosion Protectant
Coilover Covers
Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

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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