Rigid-axle leaf-spring suspension is simple to make and repair . Replacing a broken leaf is easy ( you can even weld a broken one for a temporary bush repair ). There are few suspension bushes used and they , too , are simple to replace .
When driving offroad , a live axle can offer better articulation than an independent design , particularly a coil-spring live axle . While some argue it ’ s a moot point in these days of clever traction control systems , on a steep undulating track there is a benefit to stability of having all wheels on the ground , rather than one or two lifting in the air .
So the leaf-spring rigid-axle suspension is simple and strong for load carrying , and is cheap and easy to make and repair .
The independent suspension design is more sophisticated . The most common design ( there are many variations ) is two A-arms pivoting off the body or chassis with a wound coil-spring in between .
Any independent suspension , if well designed and tuned , will provide a much better ride than a live axle , because when a wheel hits a bump it absorbs it without transferring load to the opposite wheel , as happens on a rigid axle .
Independent suspensions can be good offroad , where they not only provide better ride quality but also can allow – in some circumstances – better underbody clearance without the imposition of the rigid axle .