Why Is My Trampoline Not Bouncy (and How to Fix)

When your trampoline gives a good bounce, it makes it easy to have fun, play and burn off all of the steam your kids have built up. But when your trampoline isn’t as bouncy as you’d like, it’s frustrating. You want to bounce, but your trampoline just won’t help.

Your trampoline isn’t bouncy because either you don’t have the right trampoline for the weight of the jumper, the springs aren’t of a good quality, or the springs have lost their elasticity over time. In most cases, you can replace the springs to make your trampoline bouncier.

Let’s go through this so we can understand why your trampoline isn’t giving you the bounce you want. We’ll also look at how to fix the springs so that you can make your trampoline give you a better bounce.

What Makes a Trampoline Bouncy?

The springs are almost entirely responsible for the quality of the bounce on a trampoline. The frame provides an anchor for the springs to work from, whilst the mat is made of a non-stretch fabric.

It is the extension of the springs between the anchoring frame and the mat that allows the mat to go down when you jump. And it is the recoil of the springs, or the snapping back into the springs original shape, that pulls the mat flat again, and hurls you up in the air.

Click here to discover “How Does A Trampoline Work?”

How to Know What’s Causing Your Trampoline To Be Not Bouncy?

We first need to know if this is a new trampoline, or if you’ve had it for a while. It’s either something that is specific to the size and quality of the trampoline where it’s harder to fix, or something has deteriorated over time and you can fix it.

If Your New Trampoline Is Not Bouncy

If this is a new trampoline that isn’t giving you the bounce you (or the kids) want, it’s probably the quality of the springs or the size of the trampoline, or a combination.

You may have a trampoline that is too big for the weight of the kids, or the quality of the springs isn’t great.

1. The Trampoline Is Too Big

The most common cause of having a trampoline that is not bouncy enough is a mismatch between the weight of the kids jumping and the size of the trampoline.

The little kids can’t do much more than run or roll around on the surface. When they jump, it looks like their feet don’t leave the mat. Or you might have slightly older kids who can bounce off the mat, but they can’t get enough height to do a flip trick.

You might think that you have bought the best trampoline because it’s the biggest. But in fact, a big trampoline needs a heavier weight to make it work.

You can check this out for yourself. Get a heavier person to jump on the trampoline. If they can get a good bounce going, but the kids can’t, then the trampoline is just too big.

How To Fix

You may need to see if you can do a swap with a neighbor who has older or heavier kids, or buy a new trampoline that’s a more appropriate size.  You can always keep the bigger one in the garage for when the kids grow up a bit, do a swap with a good neighbor.

If you do get a replacement trampoline, be sure to read about the quality of the springs below.

2. The Springs Aren’t Great

Springs can vary a great deal in the quality, which plays out in their strength and recoil ability. This is what lets the spring extend and then snap back into shape.

The basic components driving the quality of the bounce are the wire diameter, the width of the coil, and the quality of the steel material itself.

Standard China Spring Coil – these springs might be 3.1mm wire width, with a 26mm coil width.

These are fine for 8’ and 10’ round trampolines with small kids around 10 years and under.  

They can also work well on larger trampolines where the height of the bounce isn’t important, such as when the kids want to do parkour or cheerleading training.

Heavy Duty Spring Coil

These springs might be a 3.4mm wire width, with a coil width of 26mm to 32mm. These are fractions of a width different to the standard coil, but it makes a big difference in the quality of the bounce. The thicker wire and wider coil make the spring stronger, and more able to rebound back into shape.

These bigger springs suit larger trampolines, say 12’ round trampolines and above. They also suit bigger rectangle trampolines, such as 9’ x 14’ or 10’ x 17’.

How To Fix

When you know you have the right size trampoline for your kids, then see if you can replace the springs with a better-quality spring.

If Your Old Trampoline Has Lost Its Bounce

When you’ve had your trampoline for a while, and it has lost its bounce, it is probably because the springs have deteriorated.

1. Springs Are Rusty

Rust is not a friend of trampoline springs.

Springs are generally made out of stainless steel, and the better springs are galvanized with a coating of zinc. This stops the air from hitting the metal below, and starting to rust.

When springs rust, it means the metal has oxidized, and turns to flaky powder. As the spring is eaten away by rust, it loses its ability to extend and recoil.

This means that if you have rusty springs on a trampoline, it becomes less bouncy.

How to Fix

If you have caught the rust early, you can probably clean it off with store-bought chemicals and a stiff wire brush. Read here to discover how to protect your trampoline from rust.

If the springs are very rusty, and you can see that it is beyond surface rust, it is probably new spring time. Make sure you get the right length of spring, and a good size coil. If it looks like all of them are at various stages of rusting, it’s better to replace them all at once.

2. Springs are Missing

You can jump on a trampoline with a missing spring, but you really shouldn’t, and certainly not for weeks or months. It damages the mat when it is not being pulled evenly by the springs.

As the number of springs missing goes up, you will get less and less of a good extension and recoil on the remainder of the springs. Each one just has to work too hard.

How to Fix

It’s time to replace the missing springs. If you notice a good deal of rust on the remaining springs, or if they are stretched as below, it’s better to replace all of them at the same time with the same type of spring.

3. Springs are Stretched

Over time, springs lose their elasticity, and they don’t snap back into their original position as well as they did when they were new. You can see that there might be a small gap in between the coils where they are no longer tight against each other.

This means that there just isn’t as much as stretch and recoil as there used to be.

How to Fix

It’s replacement spring time. Every now and then, it might just be one or two springs that have failed. But more commonly, all of the springs have aged at the same rate, and all of them need to be replaced.

To Make the Trampoline Bouncier

As well as making sure that you have the right size trampoline for your kids, and the springs are of good quality and in good condition, there are other tricks and hacks you can do to make your trampoline bouncier.

Note: These two tricks below will shorten the life of your springs, as they will cause them to extend slightly over time.

Cross The Springs – X Shape

Using the same number of springs, you can cross your springs in an X-shape. This will make the trampoline mat tighter. It means that the springs don’t have to work as hard, as they are already slightly extended. They don’t need to recoil as much to return the mat to the flat position.

Sometimes you will struggle to get the springs into the slots on the trampoline frame. This is because the slots are really like slits, very narrow. As you bring the spring hook end across, it can be difficult to get enough stretch to put it in straight.

You might need to drill a small hole to make the slits wide enough to get the hook end in at an angle. If you do this, best practice is to spray with galvanizing paint to ensure it doesn’t rust too quickly.

Make the Springs Diagonal – V Shape

Similar to the X-Shape above, for this V-shape arrangement, you end up making the springs go at a diagonal.

The diagonal makes the distance between the frame and the mat shorter than if that same spring just went in a straight direct line. (Remember the hypotenuse?)

This again means that the mat is held tighter, and you’ll get a better bounce.

In Summary

If your trampoline isn’t bouncy, check that you haven’t bought a trampoline that is too big for your kids, or where the springs aren’t of a good quality. If you’ve had the trampoline for a while, it might be that you need to replace the springs as they are rusty, stretched or simply missing.

I do hope this has been useful for you. Go Forth, Kids!

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