Springs 101 – What is a helper spring?

In our experience, when it comes to spring specifics, the helper spring has been one of the most misunderstood areas that we’ve seen. If you’ve ever wondered before or thought you may know, we’re here to detail that for you. What is a helper spring? Typically, a helper spring will be a smaller, thinner spring that will be used in conjunction with the suspension’s main spring; a helper spring is never used by itself. The helper spring can sit on top or bottom of the main spring and will serve the same function. Some springs have a “helper” section built into the spring so that a two-spring system will not be necessary; you can see the examples of the two below:

What is the purpose of a helper spring?

This is where the real confusion comes in. We hear a lot the assumption that the lighter, thinner spring is used in the coilover to soak up the smaller road bumps so that the main spring doesn’t have to hit hard causing the suspension to be ultra-stiff for smaller road imperfections. When discussing coilover options similar to ours this assumption could not be further from the truth. The helper spring is not to be confused with a tender spring that may be used in a dual rate setup; we’re specifically referring to helper springs like used on ours and many other manufacturer’s coilovers.

The main purpose for the helper spring is to keep the main spring properly seated against the suspension upper or lower spring seat. This becomes particularly important when weight is taken off one or more corners of the vehicle. This is common when going into driveways or inclines at an angle. Typically, one corner will extend, or droop, and the helper spring will expand to hold the main spring in position. This leads to the next misunderstood aspect of the helper spring’s purpose:

Something must be wrong because the spring is fully compressed!

Again, not true at all. With the weight of the vehicle on the suspension the helper spring or helper section of a spring will be fully compressed. This means that the coils will be touching each other. This is completely normal and the helper is functioning properly. Many people believe there is a problem with the spring if this is the case but there should be no need to worry, the spring is working properly. As mentioned above, when weight is taken off one or more corners the helper spring will expand and push/hold the main spring in position. When weight comes back down onto that corner the helper spring will become fully compressed once again.

Can I remove the helper spring?

This is a question that has been asked mainly by those looking to really slam their vehicles. They wonder if they can remove the helper spring all together to be able to lower the collars further to allow the vehicle to drop lower. Obviously as the manufacturer, we don’t recommend this. The helper spring is there for a reason. It has a role and purpose to the function of the full coilover system. By removing it you limit the full function of the coilover and are in risk of damaging the coilover or vehicle. Keep in mind that by removing the helper spring your warranty won’t be available for that corner.

Hopefully that clears up some confusion on what a helper spring is and what is its function. If you have other questions, feel free to leave a comment or email us at [email protected]. If you have other suggestions for future blog posts we’d be happy to hear them for future features.

14 thoughts on “Springs 101 – What is a helper spring?

    • Raceland says:

      For partially threaded kits, you will increase the spring pre-load by turning the adjusters counter clock-wise and clock-wise to decrease the load. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  1. Tyler Johnson says:

    That’s good to know that the springs will still function if the vehicle pushes it down all the way. My brother is considering getting a slingshot to drive, and he wants to upgrade the suspension. I’ll have to make sure that we don’t worry about it if we install a new suspension and its fully compressed.

    • Cody Graham says:

      We don’t recommend it as it serves to keep the main spring loaded at all times. If you remove it, when the coilover goes into full extension, the main spring will come loose and cause noise in the suspension. Let us know if you have any other questions!

      • Don Kremer says:

        I may be daft, but if you would remove the helper, why not simply thread the locking rings all the way up against the main spring? Then it can’t unseat just and act the same as a fully compressed helper spring.

        • Cody Graham says:

          When lowering the car to the lower section of the adjustments, without the helper spring, the main spring would come unloaded and unseat from the spring seats. Now, if you were to raise the coilovers to the highest adjustment, there would be no need for the helper spring as there would always be load on the main spring.

  2. Rick L. says:

    Just removed all wheels on a new to me 997 GT3. After solving a stripped locking wheel bolt problem figured I’d have a look and clean the wheel well and suspension. On the front, the helper spring was not fully compressed as weight was off that corner. For rear, I was surprised to see the helper spring was fully compressed. Is this because the rear wheels are much heavier and removing them even when lifted does not provide enough mass for helper to decompress? This makes sense to me with the front having significantly larger brakes pulling down the suspension, but want to make sure set-up is correct. Thanks LR

    • Cody Graham says:

      The function may vary with the model but if it is the same as most models, it is likely that the rear was adjusted higher than the front to even it out and because of that, the helper springs are compressed. If you were to maintain the same ride height and the main spring was still loaded, you technically won’t need the helper spring. It would only serve its purpose if the main spring comes unloaded at the set ride height. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. Jeremiah Larson says:

    Is there a way i can buy just a helper spring off of you guys? i bought a pair second hand but one coils is missing a helper spring.

    • Cody Graham says:

      The helper springs don’t contribute to the ride. It’s only function is to keep the main spring pre-loaded at all times.

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