The spring has sprung
April 6, 2010 6:58 AM   Subscribe

My car appears to have a broken spring. Is this going to be as expensive as I think it will be?

Yesterday while driving my 2002 Ford Focus ZX5, I hit an unavoidable and nasty bump in the road that caused my car to make a horrible *thunk*. Everything -felt- fine, so I continued on my drive, which was mostly gentle curves and rotaries for the next 5 miles or so.
When I made my first sharp turn (turning the wheel past 2 o'clock), I heard a loud and resonant *ka-clank* come from my right passenger wheel well, and another *ka-clank* when straightening the wheel. As it is, I have to get the sway bar repaired yearly due to some nasty dips on my street.
It would be great if someone could give me an idea as to how much fixing the broken spring will cost. Also, does it matter if I go to the Ford dealership for this or any other trustworthy mechanic? Thanks.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Any competent mechanic can replace the springs. Depending on the mileage, you might consider getting new struts while you're at it. Generally, springs come in pairs. Probably be about 2 hours per side, and depending on the setup, you might need a re-alignment.

You can check your spring yourself, though: on a level street, jack up that corner of the car and *look* up in there.
posted by notsnot at 7:06 AM on April 6, 2010

Best answer: Take it to the dealer, this is a known problem on these cars and you should be covered under Ford's Customer Satisfaction Program 03M02.
posted by Floydd at 7:08 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: This is awesome, Floydd! I'm going to call the dealership now to see if I'm covered. Thanks!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:16 AM on April 6, 2010

They'll probably want to replace at least both the front, and maybe the rear as well unless they are in superb condition. This will be expensive. Like $1k expensive. Replacing suspension bits is pretty labor intensive.

If they only do the front, maybe $300 for one, or $500-$600 for both.

IANAMechanic, this is just what I remember from having to pay for my girlfriend's suspension replacement.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:17 AM on April 6, 2010

Springs should only be replaced as spares, especially on any car older than a year.

The quotes insanepenguin is mentioning seem awfully high for just a spring change (it's not that time consuming), to me, so maybe his 'suspension change' was more related to shock absorbers or struts or something more complex than just a spring change?

Having said that, it's possible that (known problem aside) something broke either in addition or as a result of the spring change. Hopefully it being a known will mean the cost is largely irrelevant anyway.
posted by Brockles at 7:52 AM on April 6, 2010

Response by poster: I just called the dealership and the spring replacement is indeed covered. Thanks, Floydd, you just saved me a ton of money!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:53 AM on April 6, 2010

Yes, it's expensive--good thing you're covered. My last car was put out to pasture looking at $700+ for spring/strut replacement.
posted by domnit at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2010

Make sure that they replace two springs, not just one, so the suspension wear is even.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:14 AM on April 6, 2010

That's a result! My 98 Saab 900 broke a driver's side front spring a month ago... I was expecting the worst, but it came out at £140 (about $200).
posted by derbs at 8:29 AM on April 6, 2010

I had the same thing happen to my 4-door Focus a few years ago. The dealer did indeed replace both from springs as part of the repair.
posted by indyz at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2010

Thanks, Floydd, you just saved me a ton of money!
Aww, shucks. 'Twern't nuthin'. Buy me a beer next time I'm in Beantown.
posted by Floydd at 3:49 PM on April 6, 2010

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