Air Suspension vs standard/spring suspension

suspension system is always integral to a vehicle drives. Metal spring is the most widely used suspension systems in vehicles. Shock absorbers and coil springs function to maintain wheel oscillation, vibration and bounce, compensate for road surface irregularities and support added weight without excessive sagging.

For comfort and safe driving and riding experience, the improved technology has been used with advanced electronics to make suspension system handy, fast, precise and load bearing in modern vehicles. Air suspension systems have long been used in heavy loaded vehicles, like trucks and buses. It has become more and more popular over the last decade to replace metal springs offering more control and load capacities than traditional springs. If you are looking for a new car or used luxury car, you will likely see air suspension on the standard or optional features.

How Air Suspension System Work

Instead of steel or leaf springs, an air suspension systems typically consists of air spring, also known as plastic/air bags, tough rubber, and an airline system, connected to an on-board air compressor, valves, solenoids, and under electronic controls. The on board compressor is an electric pump, used to feed air to the air bags via multiple lines. Valves play a important role in air direction control, allowing air to enter different parts of the system. In electronic systems, when the system adjusts for different driving conditions, solenoids inflate and vent the airbags by opening and closing to change the amount of air entering each airbag. An electronic control module controls the on/off switches, monitors pressure and manages ride height. Air springs are flexible and have certain amount of elasticity. The more they are compressed, the increased stiffness will be produced.

Air springs can provide adjustable suspension and load support by adding air when riding loaded, and deflating air when riding unloaded. They allow your vehicle to sit very low to improve its street credibility, and rise to a level high enough to handle inconsistencies and obstacles on the road. Air springs are the only adjustable load support product, offering vary load and leveling capacity as well as improved ride comfort.

Pros and Cons of Air Suspension

The Benefits

Today's air suspension systems possess three major advantages over metal, conventional springs:
  • Near instant tuning: Air suspensions provide a wide range of spring rate and load capacity. In-car adjustability can get the ride load, height and rate tuning in a few minutes.
  • Ability to adapt handling to different situations: vary spring rate combined with the performance customization provide your vehicle enormous potentiality in performance, enabling real time tuning and a cushy ride with increased comfort on a rough road.
  • Towing capabilities: the system makes it easier for trucks and similar large vehicles to handle heavy load. Drivers can increase stiffness when towing large loads while improving ride comfort. Some today’s SUVs have air suspension feature for better handling under variable load conditions.

Air Suspension Drawbacks

  • Leaking is an usual vulnerability shared by all air suspensions. A system will go flat when it cannot hold air any longer. Leaky or clogged air lines and leaking air springs are the common air ride problems.
  • More cost in buying and maintenance: it is an option at an extra cost when buying a car in the first place. Usually, luxury cars, high-end cars and some SUVs provide air suspension as standard feature. The maintenance costs can be higher than standard coil and shocks. Many drivers replace worn systems with traditional suspensions for cost consideration. However, still got many driver choose air suspension for safety and quality reason.
  • Installation: it will take more time to install an air suspension due to the complexity of wiring, lines and hose installations, and installation requires the use of various tools. So hiring a professional mechanic to do it is the best option to guarantee the safety and vehicle integrity.
If you are torn between a car with and without an air suspension system, the above information is hopefully helpful for you to make the decision. Any system will wear and break as it ages, so leaving some room in your budget for maintenance and repair is another consideration you many need as well. So an air suspension can boost your ride quality, improve towing capacity and customize performance of your vehicle.
Looking for air suspension? Send us an inquiry now for professional advice. 

Published : 14-Aug-2018

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