Rick writes: “After replacing the springs on my wife’s trailblazer and nearly killing myself when the spring compressor I was using swung around to the other side, I decided I was going to buy a proper spring compressor. The one I had been using was a two-piece style, but when one of them swung around to the other side, I ended up with a “C” shaped spring. If that thing had let loose, it could have gone through my skull or something. I was only able to take them apart when a buddy of mine had [one like the one in the middle above]. Right after that I bought my own. Not the fastest, but I think it’s relatively safe. And at $30 – it’s a no brainer.”
Rick, I can’t agree more. I had my own experience with one of the two-piece types when I was swapping springs in one of my Miatas. In my case it just barely started to slip, then I caught it and loosened it before it came loose. I managed to recompress it, but ever since then I’ve been very leery of cheap-ass spring compressors.
If you think about it, you’ve got 500 to 1,000 pounds of force stored up in that compressed spring. If you figure that the compressor itself weighs about three pounds, that’s a hell of a power-to-weight ratio. It’s gonna be a rocket.
Seriously, I think the model Rick’s recommending should be your bare minimum quality tool for the job. I prefer wall-mount types whenever possible for strut-type removal. If they’re on the car, you’re best off with a high-quality version of the center type. You might also consider renting a nice one.