Pickup trucks are at the cornerstone of American hauling especially when it comes to residential towing. A great example that represents this is the Toyota Tacoma. This reliable V6 is able to tow around 6,800 pounds. On the other hand, it doesn’t have a high price range, meaning you can afford to spend some on much-needed upgrades and accessories.
No vehicle is perfect and this is, unfortunately, the case with the Tacoma especially when you want to haul loads through challenging terrain. In this case, you need something to make your Tacoma capable of going over humps and other road obstacles. This is where leaf springs make things a lot easier and safer too. Leaf springs help support the weight of your Tacoma’s chassis and help control axle damping too.
In a hurry? Check out our top 3 picks that we highly recommend!
|Image Preview||Product Name||Links|
|Icon Vehicle Dynamics Progressive Add-a-Leaf Kit||Check Price On Amazon|
|Dorman 929-401 Leaf Spring||Check Price On Amazon|
|Hellwig 1901 EZ Kit||Check Price On Amazon|
The Best Leaf Spring for Toyota Tacoma (Towing and Hauling)
1. Icon Vehicle Dynamics Progressive Add-a-Leaf Kit
Just like your Tacoma this lift rear expansion kit from Icon Vehicle Dynamics is considered to be the best leaf springs for Tacoma. You get a 1.5” of lift which by many off-roaders and haulers, including myself is quite enough to not worry about damaging the undercarriage.
For me personally, there was a big difference from the stock leaf springs.
With this kit, you just need to remove the factory overload and install the new springs with the help of some U-bolts and center pins.
2. Belltech 5954 Leaf Spring
No Tacoma is made the same and the same goes for leaf spring suspensions. A good example of a completely different leaf spring for your Tacoma than the Icon Vehicle Dynamics one is Belltech’s 5954 leaf spring.
These are sold as single leaf springs so and they can lower the rear by down to 4 inches.
One thing to note about these Belltech 5854 leaf springs is that there are cases where you’ll experience wheel hop. This will of course vary from one year and model to another.
Generally speaking, though the Belltech 5854 leaf springs are a good product that requires a bit more effort on your side since they don’t come with any hardware.
3. Dorman 929-401 Leaf Spring
If you want to upgrade your Tacoma with leaf springs from a well renowned American manufacturer you can go for Dorman’s 929-401 leaf springs. With these leaf springs, you will bring back the tension and suspension performance that your Tacoma once had.
The Dorman 929-401 is easy to install and lasts a long time thanks to its corrosion-resistant finish and proper fit. These leaf springs from Dorman are a reliable upgrade from the stock ones but if you want to haul heavier loads then consider getting overload springs too.
The 929-401s come with the bushings pressed in but do not come with bolts and nuts which are not that hard to find.
4. Hellwig 1901 EZ Kit
This level helper spring kit from Hellwig can help bring back to life your Tacoma’s old springs. The Hellwig 1902 EZ level helper spring kit can also help reduce body roll and even leave your ride unaffected when fully loaded. The latter is thanks to variable-rate leaves.
This kit allows you to adjust the level load capacity independently which is useful when you have uneven side-to-side loads to tow. If versatility is your number one priority then the Hellwig 1902 EZ kit is a good option for you.
These spring leaves are made of steel which, can take as little as 20-ish minutes to install.
5. Crown Automotive 488186AA Assembly
Crown Automotive also has a good offer on leaf spring assemblies with the best one for your Tacoma being the 488186AA variant. I know the name is not the easiest to remember but the installation of this leaf spring assembly is.
You should keep in mind though that this leaf spring assembly doesn’t come with bushings but many people including a coworker of mine are satisfied with their performance.
6. Skyjacker D200CS
This soft ride leaf spring from Skyjacker comes with a lifetime warranty since it’s made with American steel. The individual leaves of each spring are shot-peened together with steel pellets.
This makes the Skyjacker D200CS leaf spring have high tensile strength and a long-lasting performance too. Unlike other leaf springs, the Skyjacker D200CS uses bold style spring clips which help eliminate friction.
Most leaf springs rely on cinch-style bend clips which bend tightly over the spring leaves. This then leads to friction and binding.
The fact that these leaf springs taper over the length of the leaf means that there is more flex at the leaf ends. This helps distribute the load more evenly.
What to Consider Before Buying the Best Leaf Spring for Your Tacoma?
The first and most important factor of them all is the compatibility of the leaf spring. If the leaf spring you’re interested in isn’t made to be installed on your Tacoma it’s not worth it. No matter how big of a difference it makes the risk just isn’t worth it.
Once you’ve found a leaf spring made to be fitted on your type of Tacoma you should then look into what type of leaf spring you are getting.
There are mono and multi-leaf springs. Mono leaf springs as you would expect have one piece of metal while multi-leaf springs have two or more pieces of metal on top of each other. The latter provides a higher level of sturdiness but it also adds more weight.
The material of which a leaf spring is made will determine how well it will perform and for how long it will be able to perform at its highest level. The majority of leaf springs are made from hardened steel while there are some made from composite materials such as carbon fiber.
Composite materials have a great strength-to-weight ratio meaning they can bear heavier loads without adding too much weight. Hardened steel is a more affordable material that offers solid levels of strength and durability.
Talking about affordability you should also be wary of the price tag of the leaf spring you’re after. If you’re in for the best of the best leaf springs for Tacoma you can’t really go for affordability.
But if you want something that isn’t going to break your bank account and still want to get a good deal then you should look for more affordable leaf springs that satisfy your needs.
How to Determine Which One is the Best Leaf Spring for My Needs?
When choosing the right leaf springs for your Tacoma you need to keep in mind the load you’re going to be hauling regularly. You should get leaf springs that will support not only the weight of your vehicle but also its load-carrying capacity. This is where you should pay attention to a leaf spring’s load rating.
The load rating signifies the amount of weight a leaf spring can withstand without getting damaged. This is why you should calculate the total weight that the leaf springs need to support including the weight of your Tacoma, the trailer, and the carrying capacity of both.
It’s best that you get leaf springs that can support a little bit more weight than the one you calculated. A proper set of leaf springs should be able to provide the adequate lift without a hitch and it shouldn’t feel like rocket science when installing it.
How Do You Tell When Your Tacoma Leaf Springs Are Worn Out?
While cracks on the leaves are not something you’ll be able to notice that easily, they are still the strongest indicator that there is something wrong with the spring leaves. If you spot cracks formed on the existing leaf springs of your Tacoma it means that it is time to replace them. This is better done sooner than later.
If your Tacoma is leaning on one side when you have it loaded you’ll need to do some inspections. The inspection you want to do first has to do with the leaf springs. If they are bent then they are the cause for your Tacoma leaning on one side. Replacement is inevitable in this case.
When you start to notice instability at the rear of your Tacoma when driving especially sways from when you take on bumps then you definitely need to check the leaf springs. The core reason why you have a leaf spring is to prevent your Tacoma from swaying and bouncing. When this is happening it means that the integrity of the leaf springs isn’t in a good condition.
You will experience a hard time when it comes to having control over your Tacoma when the leaf springs have been broken. His comes in the form of serious handling instability as your Tacoma won’t have a good grip on the road. In this case, you shouldn’t be even driving your truck.
While leaf spring sagging isn’t something that you will notice while driving, you will definitely have it uncovered during a wheel alignment or another technical inspection. Over time leaf springs can start to lower as they wear out. This is normal if it happens over a long period of time.
If your Tacoma seems to be having a hard time when you load it with the usual stuff then the leaf springs can be the component to take a look at. Your leaf springs are made to support the load-carrying capacity of your Tacoma and if they aren’t able to do that then they might be worn out and in a need of a replacement.
Q: Are Leaf Springs Sold in Pairs?
A: This largely depends on the manufacturer as some manufacturers sell their leaf springs in pairs and others separately. You can also find leaf springs as kits with all the necessary hardware and instructions so you don’t have to search for anything later on.
Q: Will You Increase the Payload by Adding an Extra Leaf Spring?
A: The payload of your Tacoma will definitely be increased once you install even a single leaf spring let alone a pair of leaf springs or a whole set of them.
While not all leaf springs and assemblies provide the same increase in payload they will definitely raise your Tacoma, usually anywhere between 2 and 5 inches. This depends on how many springs you’ll add.
Q: Can You Add Additional Springs onto the Pre-Existing Leaf Springs?
A: Yes, this is possible, however, you need to use what are known as helper springs. These springs are mounted after you install a new pair of leaf springs or the existing ones and usually come with kits.
Q: Can You Rebuild Leaf Springs?
Rebuilding your Tacoma’s leaf springs is possible and it will require you to disassemble the leaves. This is done by removing the center clips and bolt that keep them together as well as other hardware such as bushings and insulators.
While the springs can be reused once rebuilt, the rest of the parts can’t hence why you need to fully replace them.
What do I Recommend from my Own Personal Experience?
Throughout the years that I have been tinkering around with Toyota Tacoma, I can freely say that this vehicle is a beast of a pickup truck. For the price you pay for it you get top-tier performance and reliability.
Although some upgrades like a leaf spring assembly are needed especially if you want to do more than just driving around town. In my opinion, if I have to choose from the above-mentioned products, I would personally go for the Icon Vehicle Dynamics Progressive Add-a-Leaf Kit.
This is one of the best leaf springs for Tacoma as they have been a true lifesaver for my off-road adventures and a couple of towing experiences. You get everything you need with this kit and all you have to do is just spend a little bit of your time to set things up.
I installed mine over the weekend. It definitely didn’t take me a whole weekend, I just wanted to have fun while doing something new.