I just read your column where you reminisced about driving your daughter to a full service shop for tires. In 1984 coil springs on cars were, for the most part, formed in a hot wound process. A hot wound spring can certainly tolerate a significant amount of rust before it becomes too weak and will fracture. Many of the coil springs on vehicles today, however, are formed using a cold process. The advantage of the cold process is that the springs weigh significantly less and can still support the load. However, the stress in these springs is significantly increased, and the metallurgical structure from the cold forming is such that a small amount of rust will cause them to fracture. I currently work for a facility that forms these springs cold, and we go to great lengths to paint them carefully so they do not corrode. Therefore, I want to caution you that while in 1984 the sales manager was obviously trying to sell you a bill of goods, today that manager would be doing you a favor. D.T.
I didn’t know that, D.T. I guess use of lighter gauge springs was part of the weight-reduction effort to achieve better fuel economy. I must admit that I haven’t seen my car springs since 1984. You can’t wander around auto shops anymore because of insurance regulations. Furthermore, I probably traded my cars before the tires needed to be replaced. I can’t remember the last time I bought tires.
I’m amazed at what I learn by listening to others and at how much I still need to learn. By the same token, I feel cheated if I don’t learn something new every day.