Springs have sprung when Harold jacks his car

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1983 Chevy Caprice Classic that I bought used. I do all the maintenance on the car myself. When I jack the rear wheels off the ground, the rear springs fall out. There doesn't seem to be anything holding them in place. I use the proper jack the way it's supposed to be used. But when I work on the rear tires, someone has to hold the springs in place while another person lets the jack down. Can you please assist me in finding a solution?

TOM: The solution is on your calendar, Harold. Look at it. It's springtime, isn't it? Time for new springs!

RAY: Spring time? Oh, that's terrible, Thomas! Anyway, springs ARE what you need, Harold. When you look under a car that has good springs, the springs look like they're about a foot or so long. But if you were to take one of them out, it would expand (Boiiinnnggg!) to about twice that length. The compressed spring stays where it's supposed to by pushing up against the frame and down against the rear axle assembly.

RAY: But over time, springs lose their springiness. They're like the pillows on your favorite couch. And when they lose too much of their spring, they not only become ineffective at cushioning bumps on the road, but they may not even be strong enough to hold themselves in place when the rear wheels are extended. Spring into action, Harold. New SPRINGS won't FALL out.

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