Everything You Need to Know About Valve Springs

22 Oct
close-up of valve springs
Source: kasza5.com

The heart of every vehicle is its engine and today’s internal combustion engines have come a long way especially when it comes to their efficiency and performance. But how do internal combustion engines work? An ICE essentially burns fuel in order to create a controlled explosion. Why do you need an explosion? You need an explosion in order to generate movement. The explosion is generated thanks to a spark and the compression of air and fuel in a tight space which in this case is the cylinder. 

The exerted energy from the explosion pushes pistons that then transfer the motion through various other engine components so that it ends up making the wheels rotate. Valve auto springs have a great contribution in this process since they help push the valves which help feed the engine with the right amount of fuel and air. Performance valve springs are simple components that can make a big difference in performance.

Types of Valve Springs

close-up of valve springs
Source: vr6parts.com


Just like there are different kinds of car engines there are also different types of automotive valve springs. The most advanced and most efficient performance valve springs are beehive valve springs. With these springs you get progressively wound coils which are usually made from a high-quality ovate wire. A beehive coil spring is more stable than any other type of valve spring design. The beehive shape of these springs makes them ideal for high-performance settings that can only be matched by dual spring setups which also handle faster valve acceleration quite well.

Dual Cylindrical

A dual cylindrical valve spring is one that makes use of two different frequency springs. There is one small innerspring and one large outer spring, sort of, encasing the smaller one. This design provides enough spring pressure to control the valve movement even with aggressive cams as well as to dampen harmonics. Dual cylindrical automotive valve springs are able to reduce both piston and valvetrain damage even in boosted and high RPM applications.


The most economical and common valve spring design nowadays is that of cylindrical springs. These are meant to be sued for everyday driving as they provide the minimum pressure level which makes them the most reliable and affordable too. You can’t do much high performance driving with these springs as they are made for long idle periods and low RPM driving conditions. When coupled with lightweight retainers cylindrical springs are considered to be ideal for engines where performance matters more than longevity. This is not the case with flat tappet camshafts.


If you want to get the best level of harmonic stability you should go for conical springs. Conical springs are also a great alternative to dual cylindrical springs since they are more affordable and lighter too. The thing is that conical springs are known to cause a self dampening effect due to their design which decreases spring oscillations at high RPMs. A conical spring design comes with varying diameter coils that offer added stability.

Symptoms of Bad Valve Springs

valve springs attached to engine
Source: jheinc.com

High RPM

Bad automotive valve springs can easily contribute to loss of power at high RPM. When your engine operates at high speeds and thus it relies on rotations between 600 and 6,000 RPM and even more. The higher the RPM the faster the camshaft rotates which makes the valves open a lot faster. This puts a lot of pressure on the springs which is why if there is a loss of power it is felt more during high RPMs. This can happen due to valve float.

All Speeds

There could also be a loss of power during all engine speeds. This is a more obvious sign that there is something wrong with your engines valve springs. This could also mean that there is a broken spring which can not only hinder performance but it can also wreak havoc on the engine too. In other cases, the piston could be cracked but usually when there is such an issue the symptoms will be sudden.


Taking a look at the springs themselves is another way to tell whether or not there is something going on with them. This is the best way to prevent any further damage and a drop in performance. The way the springs operate and look gives you a straight answer on whether or not you need to change them.


A valve spring may not be something a lot of drivers think of when they think of car engines. Usually, the pistons and camshaft are the components that take the spotlight but although they are quite important they won’t function with a valve spring. Again a spring in itself is a simple part that you may not think can determine the performance of your car but when made and used in the right setting it can affect performance immensely. It’s up to you to decide which type of valve spring you’ll incorporate in your engine.


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