Questions And Answers About Air Suspension

As an innovative vehicle suspension system, air suspension was once only for luxury cars. However, since years ago, it has become popular in OEM suspension systems as well as in aftermarket modifications. People often think that vigorairride suspension with airbags as a cushion provides a softer and smoother ride. In fact, airbag suspension offers a lot of benefits to us. If you are not familiar with it, or if you want to know more about it before you get one, check this article out.

In today’s share, we mainly focus on the most popular questions that people asked about airbag suspension and air springs. 

What is an air suspension system?

Wikipedia has a standard definition. Yet, here, we describe air suspension as an alternative to traditional suspension systems. Airbags replace metal springs and do the same job as springs. Well, that is the most obvious difference between the two suspensions.

As the name tells, the airbag suspension system uses pressurized air instead of metal springs. Normally, in the system, there is an onboard compressor and an air tank. The air compressor inflates the air into the tank through airlines. Then, it provides compressed air to the airbags at each corner of the system. In fact, airbag suspension is simply another type of suspension system in vehicles. 

Do air suspensions have springs?

Airbag suspensions use “springs”. However, airbags suspensions replace coil springs with airbags. Airbags or air springs serve as springs. Usually, those rubber-made airbags are durable and can last for years. As we’ve mentioned above, the car has an air compressor on board that allows pressurized air to get into the airbags.

Well, yes, they use springs. But, they use air instead of metal as the medium of springs. In such a system, air does the job like springs do in an old suspension system.

What is an air spring?

Air springs or airbags are the springs in an air suspension system. Also, people refer them to as air bellows. Yet, Wikipedia says that air spring is the correct term.

Basically, an air spring is a small reservoir of compressed air in the form of rubber or fabric. Like what metal springs do, it is used to support loads and isolate vibrations.

Air springs are a perfect application in off-road conditions. Besides, air springs go super well with adventurous terrains and waterways. So, aftermarket manufacturers must offer airbag suspension solutions that can withstand the harshest road conditions.

When do we use air springs?

Most commonly, drivers use airbag suspension to maintain a consistent and smooth driving experience. In some cases though, an air ride suspension system is applicable to sports suspensions. In fact, for heavier vehicles such as trucks, tractor-trailers, and passenger buses, an air spring suspension system is the optimal replacement for a traditional steel spring suspension.

How do air suspensions work?

Air suspension contains airbags with a system of airlines, valves, and solenoids. They link an onboard air compressor to the air tank then to every airbag. The electronic pump (air compressor) is the air supplier of the system. When it inflates air into and then the compressed air will flow through airlines to the air tank. At the same time, valves manage the air direction. 

The air tank saves compressed air for later use. When the system needs immediate use of pressure, the air tank finishes the job.

Also, you can have an electronic control unit to control how it works. With on and off switches, the ECU controls the adjustability of the ride height and monitors the pressure. When the system needs more pressure, it orders the air compressor to provide more air. Yet, when the system needs less pressure, it deflates. 

Is air suspension suitable for daily driving?

It is ideal for everyday driving vehicles if the airbag suspension is properly installed and made from quality components. It is resistant to weather changes and can withstand extreme heat or cold.

Is air suspension safe? 

Both in summer and winter.

Most compressors (the power supply of the system), come with an air filter. This prevents moisture from entering the air tank and airlines. It won’t freeze during winter. But, it is important to maintain it properly.

Summer is a great time to use air ride suspension for your daily driving. However, it is important to avoid driving in off-road conditions. Natural wear and tear is normal.

Winter: Make sure there is no condensation or water in your air tank. Install a water trap to protect the tank. When it gets cold, make sure to add antifreeze to the system. If you don’t intend to drive over ice chunks, you’ll still enjoy winter riding.

aftermarket air suspension repair kit

Is air suspension good for off-road? 

Yes. In fact, you don’t feel any discomfort when the air ride suspension is in use. Air suspension is less damaging and offers a more comfortable ride. Airbag suspension can be used in off-road conditions to provide a smooth ride.

What are some of the benefits of air suspension?

  • Reduced noise, harshness, and vibrations on roads can increase driver’s comfort.
  • The suspension system is less worn because of the decreased vibration and harshness while driving. This is especially obvious when driving in off-road conditions.
  • Since there is less vibration, air ride suspension makes trailers last longer.
  • Airbag suspension decreases the possibility of trucks with short wheelbases bouncing on uneven roads. You know this is quite common when your vehicle is not carrying anything.
  • Air suspension can adjust to optimal ride height based on your speed and the loads you’re carrying.
  • Also, it is good for the road surface and enables you to go faster around corners. In fact, this may save some time when there’re a lot of turns.

What are some of the drawbacks to air ride suspension?

  • Installing airbag suspension is more expensive than installing leaf suspension systems. 
  • The maintenance fees of conventional suspensions are much lower than air ride suspension systems. This is especially true in the long run, say you will cost a lot more in 10 years of maintenance.
  • Fuel overheads are used to pump air at the right pressure occasionally.
  • A heavier suspension made of air than a leaf suspension can lead to a decrease in fuel efficiency.
  • Air suspensions can be prone to leakage, which could cause the whole system to break down. Actually, this is a very common and inevitable problem.