Trailer Rubber Torsion Axles -vs- Trailer Leaf Spring Axles
One of the most common questions we hear in regards to purchasing a trailer is “What is the difference between a rubber torsion axle and a leaf spring axle?”.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a Rubber Torsion Axle?
“The Torflex suspension system is a torsion arm type suspension which is completely self-contained within the axle tube. It attaches directly to the trailer frame using brackets which are an integral part of the axle assembly. The Torflex axle provides improved suspension characteristics relative to leaf spring axles through the unique arrangement of a steel torsion bar surrounded by four rubber cords encased in the main structural member of the axle beam.
The wheel/hub spindle is attached to a lever, called the torsion arm, which is fastened to the rubber encased bar. As load is applied, the bar rotates causing a rolling/compressive resistance in the rubber cords. This rotating action provides the same functionality as conventional sprung axles with several operating advantages including independent suspension and reduced wear.” (Dexter Axles)
Pros of Rubber Torsion Axles for Trailers:
- Quiet/Smoother ride
- No metal on metal contact
- Offers trailer rigidity as axle is bolted to the trailer
- Increases handling control in crosswinds/rough roads
- Maintenance free (except wheel bearing lubrication)
Cons of Rubber Torsion Axles for Trailers:
- Not Repairable
- Expensive to replace
- Severely bent axle can damage trailer frame
- No impact distribution (ie: hitting a curb) full impact on one wheel or set of wheels
- Rubber cords become stiffer in colder weather
What is a Leaf Spring Axle?
A leaf spring axle is the most common and well known axle. They consist of a stack of curved springs (leaves) and are attached to the underside of a trailer axle. The axle is slung over the springs in order to reduce the ride height of the trailer. This makes the load stability greater and it also allows for easier loading and unloading of of the trailer.
Pros of Trailer Leaf Spring Axles:
- Even tire wear for multi axle trailers
- Even weight distribution due to the built-in weight equalizer
- More affordable (up front)
- Cheap to repair
- Easier to repair
Cons of Trailer Leaf Spring Axles:
- Repairs are needed more frequently due to many components making up a leaf spring
- Bouncy ride on uneven or rough roads
- Metal on metal design, can lead faster wear
Overall, we know the axle is a very imperative part of all trailers. Knowing the basics before trailer shopping can help you make a more informed decision. Please contact us if you have any additional questions or if you are interested in receiving a quote for your next new trailer!