The kids are standing in front of the trampoline, the shoes are off, hands are on the ladder, and they are about to climb on, and you notice a spring is missing. You simultaneously congratulate and curse yourself for your keen observational skills.
You can jump on trampoline with a spring missing if the rest of the trampoline is in good condition, but it is not recommended. The spring needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Depending on the condition of the other springs, you may even need to replace them all.
Let the kids keep playing today, but get the spring replaced pronto. Like a car using the spare tire, it will get you out of trouble in a pinch. But it’s not a good long-term solution.
Let’s go through the ins and outs of what to do if your trampoline is missing a spring.
What Do Trampoline Springs Do?
Trampoline springs are the engine of the trampoline. This is where all of the work happens. When somebody jumps up and down on the trampoline, the springs provide the elastic stretch for the mat to go down. When the springs recoil, causing the trampoline mat to come back up again.
Every Spring on a Trampoline Matters
Every spring contributes to the elastic stretch and recoil. You’ll see that the springs are distributed evenly around the trampoline mat. This is so they can pull the trampoline evenly at the same time.
When a spring is missing, that area of the mat is not pulled along with the rest of the mat. This puts more strain on the surrounding springs, as you can see in the picture below.
What Happens If A Trampoline Spring Is Missing?
Despite a missing spring, the same amount of weight (or force) is pushed onto the trampoline mat by the bouncing person, and so the remaining springs have to do more work.
The springs right beside the missing spring have to do the most work. This extra strain can cause the stitching on the mat around those D-rings to be strained. This results in damage and tearing. It can also cause strain at the holes where the trampoline springs join onto the frame. If the metal frame is not a strong grade of steel, the force can rip the anchoring holes open.
What’s The Problem With Having A Missing Trampoline Spring?
The danger is either the kid falls through the gap where the spring is missing, or the trampoline is damaged, or both.
If a child is bouncing well on the trampoline, and falls through the hole, they can get their limbs tangled on the way through. Or they can land with force on the ground, potentially hurting their spine.
The trampoline can be damaged as the mat can tear near the missing spring from the extra force, or the steel frame can be torn surrounding the missing spring.
How to Inspect for Missing (or Damaged) Springs
If you find that have a missing spring, it’s worth finding out if there are any others missing. Lift up the trampoline pads all the way around the frame, and look carefully at each spring.
As you inspect each spring, look to see that the hook joining the end of the spring to the trampoline mat is nice and circular. Check that the other end is also has a nice curve, and that each end hasn’t deformed at all.
The actual coils on the spring should be good and tight. The coils should all touch each other with no gaps. If you can see gaps, it means that the spring has stretched, and is no longer in good condition.
You will want to replace any missing springs, any spring where the curved ends have started to deform, as well as any springs where the coils are in poor condition.
What Size Spring To Order To Replace A Missing Spring?
To measure the size spring you need, take a spring off the trampoline. You can do this with a spare spring, a spring tool, or even a pair of pliers. I’ve put a video here showing the easiest way to do this using a ratcheting strap to bring the mat closer to the frame.
Then, measure from the outside edge of one curved hook end to the other outside edge. This will give you the length of trampoline spring you need to order.
You should also note whether your springs are exactly a cylinder, or whether they have a ‘fat bit’ in the center of the spring.
Ideally, you should get the same type of spring to match what is on your trampoline already. This will allow the springs to again distribute the weight evenly.
How Long Can You Go With A Missing Trampoline Spring?
It’s really not recommended to have any missing springs on your trampoline. You can probably get away with kids well under the weight limit jumping on it for a day or two. But you’d want to get onto it pronto.
Replace the missing spring as quickly as possible, but in a pinch, you can probably get away with jumping lightly on the trampoline for a day or two.