LEAF SPRING vs. TORSION: HOW NOT TO GET WRAPPED AROUND THE AXLE

Along with owning and running a trailer dealership, comes selling trailers.  Go figure, right?   Well often times during our Q and A session, with the customer before the transaction is complete, we get one specific question that comes up quite often. “What are the major differences between leaf spring and torsion axles?”

We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to educate YOU, the buyer on each of the two suspension types.  Consider it a quick crash course in trailer suspension.  We want to save you from getting ‘wrapped around the axle’,  and now when the time comes to purchase a new trailer, you will know just the type that fits your needs.

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LEAF SPRING AXLE:

Leaf Spring Axles are the most commonly used suspension systems and are made up of a series of curved stacked springs (leaves) that are attached under or over the trailer’s axle.  This is commonly called over-slung or under-slung.  They are used in utility trailers, dump trailers, cargo trailers, snowmobile trailers, open trailers, closed trailers…ok you see where we are going with this.  They are used in MANY different types of trailers and below you can see just why they are so commonly used.

Overslung 1

Over-slung

Under-slung

Under-slung

 

 

 

 

 

pro’s: 

  • Even tire wear for multi axle trailers
  • Even weight distribution due to the built-in weight equalizer
  • More affordable (up front)
  • Durable
  • Repairable
  • Cheap to repair
  • Easier to repair

con’s: 

  • Repairs are needed more frequently due to many components making up a leaf spring
  • Bouncy ride on uneven or rough roads
  • Metal on metal design, can lead faster wear

TORSION AXLE:

The stiff competitor of the Leaf Spring Axle, is known as the Torsion Axle.  Torsion axles mount directly to the trailer’s frame and are made up of thick rubber cords concealed inside the axle’s tubing.  These cords are created to resist torsion and create suspension. Generally trailers won’t come stock with the torsion axle, but it is certainly an available upgrade in many models.

pro’s:

  • Dependable
  • Quiet/Smoother ride
  • No metal on metal contact
  • Offers trailer rigidity as axle is bolted to the trailer
  • Increases handling control in crosswinds/rough roads
  • Maintenance free (except wheel bearing lubrication)

con’s

  • Not repairable
  • Expensive to replace
  • Severely bent axle can damage trailer frame
  • No impact distribution (ie: hitting a curb) full impact on one wheel or set of wheels
  • Rubber cords become stiffer in colder weather

Now that you’ve educated yourself on the in’s and out’s of one of the most important components of your trailer, we hope that you are now able to make a more informed purchase when the time comes for you to visit us.  Hopefully this is no longer a battle waging on, but peace of mind knowing that you’ve done your homework.  After all, axles are caring your precious cargo, and you should certainly give that decision plenty of thought.