Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - tyro
My Ford Ka, purchased Sept 2003, has just gone through its first MOT at 19,000 miles.

Failed - broken suspension coil spring (front, driver's side)

This interested me, because about a month ago, the front suspension arms were replaced, because the bushes were worn. (I was told it was simpler just to replace the arms.)

My questions

1) How long might I have been driving around with a broken coil spring?

2) Should I have noticed any symptoms of a broken coil spring - and if so, what?

3) Should I have noticed any symptoms of worn bushes - and if so, what?

4) Would it be surprising for a mechanic fitting new suspension arms to fail to notice a broken coil spring?

5) Could there be any connection between the broken coil spring and the problem with the worn bushes?

6) I've never known a car to have suspension problems this early in its life, especially with only 19,000 miles. Is this unusual? What might be the causes?
Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - bell boy
no 1.....yesterday or 3 years is possible
no not usually
no 3.........worn bushes sometimes clonk on potholes or on full lock but not always the case on these cars
no 4 .......absolutely,they break at the top and are very difficult to see unless the car is on a wheel free type ramp (i missed one myself a month ago,the mot man didnt)
no 5.....not really
no 6......modern road springs on cars especially ford seem to be made out of chocolate lately and has indeed been well discussed on here and in hj"s column in saturday"s paper
Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - bell boy
just looked at your avator and that shows you live in an area with suspect roads as well which dont really help likkle old ford ka"s
Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - Number_Cruncher
I agree with oldman's excellent answer.

I found a recently failed coil spring end by the side of the road today, and amused myself by looking at the fracture surface as I walked. The failure had begun on the inner side of the coil, where the paint had flaked off. There was about 180 - 200 degress of coil spring end - i.e. the spring had failed very close to the end, which is normal. The combination of the inside of the coil, and close to the end of the spring is where the stress (and stress range) is typically at its most onerous. From there, the crack had propagated until failure, in a typical "un-wrapping" type of fracture pattern. The propagation phase between initiation and failure must have been rapid because there was very little corrosion on the fracture face, except for a small area around the initiation site.

Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - bell boy
interestingly i drove round a coil of a broken road spring today it had paint on it but i was rushing for an mot so didnt have time to do a biopsy ;-)
Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - tyro
I agree with oldman's excellent answer.

Excellent indeed. Thanks very much, oldman.
Suspension issues and questions (Ka) - jc2
Most reports of broken springs appear to be VW.

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