Helper Springs vs. Add-a-Leaf: Similarities And Differences

When it comes to utility vehicles such as heavy-duty trucks, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs, manufacturers design them to have a higher carrying capacity than passenger vehicles. These types of vehicles are often used for hauling and transporting lightweight goods such as paint, equipment, furniture, packages, and more. 

However, stock springs cannot always support a heavier payload. This is one of the main reasons why owners opt to upgrade their suspensions. This is done by upgrading the existing springs to avoid slumping or dragging at the rear end of the vehicle.

The two best options recommended by garage mechanics are Helper Springs and Adding-a-Leaf or Leaf Springs. Both of these options provide excellent load support but have a few differences. In this article, we’ll walk you through the similarities, the differences and which one is ultimately better for your vehicle.

What is the difference between an Add-A-Leaf Kit and Helper Springs?

While both of these options will give you the lift you need while supplying load support, the main difference between add-a-leafs and helper springs is that an add-a-leaf gives you a constant rate, whereas helper springs give you a constant and progressive rate. Progressive rate basically means that your truck or utility vehicle must be loaded and the leaf spring compressed in order for the spring to activate. So, as your load increases, the helper spring progressively increases its resistance to the load.

What are the similarities between an Add-A-Leaf Kit and Helper Springs?

Both Add-A-Leaf and Coil Springs provide added carrying capacity and supply load support on the rear suspension.

Helper Springs or Coil Springs: What Are They?

A helper spring or coil spring is a suspension product built to enhance, support, and help various types of original equipment suspension. There are two basic types which are steel springs and pneumatic springs. It’s a short, thin, flat wire spring that sits above or below the main spring. Its purpose is to keep the main spring engaged with its upper and lower seat during a full suspension trip. Basically, they support the main spring and keep it in the palace whenever a vehicle turns or adds weight to one or more corners.

Helper springs work best for road users who need reliable towing capacity. They provide a progressive rate suspension, which means that as your truck or van load increases, the spring resistance will progressively increase.

About Helper Springs Or Coil Springs

Another type of helper spring is air springs. They absorb shock the same way a spring does, except that airbags use pressurized air from a pump to stabilize the ride. However, the problem with air springs is that the rubber in the bags tends to wear out over time, letting air out and losing its effectiveness.

Overall, if you’re experiencing front suspension that squats because of weight or a sagging rear suspension, helper springs can increase the truck’s overall performance in a positive way.

Add-A-Leaf Springs or Leaf Springs: What Are They?

Leaf Springs are the most basic forms of suspension. Dating back to medieval times, they were first called carriage or laminated springs. Leaf springs are essential to your truck or van’s ability to bear the weight of a load. They are long, bow-shaped plates with springs that flex under pressure. The main function of leaf springs is to minimize the vertical vibration caused by the non-uniformity of road geometry.

About Add A Leaf Or Leaf Springs

An additional leaf spring provides more tension to existing leaf springs to make your vehicle more shock absorbent when traveling on bumpy roads, tough terrain or hauling heavy payloads. An Add-A-Leaf is an extra leaf added to a leaf spring pack, installed to increase the carrying capacity of your vehicle and create a firmer ride. They are also used to increase the height of your truck or van as well as additional load support.

Their structure has stood the test of time, with models like Chevy Silverado adapting almost the same leaf spring used in ancient times. These are an integral part of your vehicle’s suspension system. Leaf springs consist of a number of layers of leaves with a gradation in their size. They are directly attached to the frame, either at one end or both. The center bolt, center pin, or u-bolt keeps the different lengths of bent steel in place. The bolt or pin gets slotted through a hole that holds together the leaves that comprise the spring and puts them in contact with the axle.

An Add-A-Leaf kit allows for more leaves to be attached to an existing leaf spring, adding more laid support to the truck’s capacity.

Leaf Springs: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Strong and simple design. Holds the axle in position without the need for separate linkage.
  • It can support the weight of the chassis of a vehicle. This is great for commercial vehicles, trucks, and vans.
  • Controls axle damping.
  • Simple in design and generally cheaper to produce.
  • Gives the vehicle height and keeps it off the ground.

Cons

  • Not always easy to install, though Add-A-Leaf kits make it easier.
  • Prone to sagging as springs can lose shape over time.
  • Vibration can be caused by acceleration and braking. Wind-up can also cause nose-diving and rear-end squatting.

Helper Springs: Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Good for vehicles traveling on rough terrain.
  • Improves ride quality. A smoother ride.
  • Lightweight
  • Generally low cost. Made from steel and inexpensive metals.

Cons

  • Not good for heavy vehicles like leaf springs.
  • More likely to crack and break under large amounts of pressure.
  • May need other enchantments to ensure coils last.

Helper Springs vs. Add-a-Leaf: Which Is Better?

When it comes to giving your truck, van, or utility vehicle an extra lift, we lean towards Add-A-Leaf vs. Helper Springs. One of the main reasons is because of Add-A-Leaf’s easy installation, as sellers offer kits that have everything you need to get started. Additionally, Add-A-Leaf springs are cheaper because of their simple structure and lower production costs. Leaf springs are sturdier compared to coil springs.

Similarities Between Coil Spring & Leaf Spring

Which is the Best Option for Your Vehicle?

In short, based on our team’s research and knowledge, Add-A-Leaf is a better choice compared to Helper Springs. Add-A-Leaf reduces more body roll, is lower maintenance, and essentially adds a better lift. They have the capacity to handle higher loads with less deflection than helper springs. Vehicles with leaf springs are also easier to raise or lower. While helper springs give you a smoother ride, leaf springs will give your vehicle the height it needs.

Tilting or sagging in a truck, van, or utility car increases when attached to trailers or carrying a heavy payload, ultimately affecting its brakes and handling. 

Simply upgrading the suspension can increase your weight capacity, and for that reason, we recommend add-a-leaf. It’s ultimately more affordable, offers heavy rear carrying capacity, and is easy to install.

Conclusion

Ultimately, going with Helper Springs or Add-A-Leaf really comes down to what you’re using your vehicle for and how it needs to function. If you have a heavy-duty vehicle, Add-A-Leaf is going to provide higher resilience that will support the hold.

The helper spring is going to be ideal for smaller cars, providing attributes like a smooth driving experience and improved performance.

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