Air suspension is one of the most popular modifications that car enthusiasts do to make their vehicles stand out. The ability to have your car’s stance be adjustable at the touch of a button makes it easy to have your vehicle as low as you want. There are many questions revolving around air suspension as there are a lot of components involved in each kit. Today, we are going to look at exactly what an air suspension system is, what it is used for, and what the pros and cons are of air suspension.
What Is An Air Suspension System?
An air suspension system is a suspension system that replaces your factory shocks and struts with air shocks that allow for adjustable ride height. Air suspension is available from the factory on some vehicles, but we can discuss that in a later post. For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on aftermarket air suspension systems.
Air suspension systems are made up of an air compressor, an air tank, a manifold, air lines, and air struts. There are some little miscellaneous pieces as well, but these will be the main components. These components work together to draw in air, pressurize it, and send it to each air strut. The air strut is a strut that is outfitted with a bladder which inflates with air to raise your vehicle and deflates to lower your vehicle. These air suspension systems can be controlled by a smartphone app or by a wired/wireless controller, depending on your specific setup.
What Is Air Suspension Used For?
Air suspension is used for many different purposes, depending on what the end user is wanting to accomplish. With its great versatility, an air suspension system can be used in many different ways.
Adjustable Ride Height For Show Purposes - One of the most common uses for air suspension is to air out your vehicle. What this means is that the vehicle owner simply wants their vehicle to get to a certain stance, but does not want to drive at this height at all times. Air suspension makes this very easy due to its on-the-fly adjustability.
Keeping Truck From Squating When Towing/Hauling - Another popular use for air suspension is to keep the rear of your truck from squating while towing or hauling. Trucks can be outfitted with air shocks in the rear to inflate when the truck has a heavy load. This helps to keep your truck level, reducing stress on components such as your driveshaft.
Raise/Lower Vehicle For Specific Purposes - Last but not least is the use of air suspension for specific purposes. If you are needing adjustable suspension to clear obstacles or to allow for something to be loaded into your vehicle, an air suspension system could be a great addition to make life easy.
Is Air Suspension Good For Daily Driving?
A common question we receive here at AccuAir is: “will air suspension be good for daily driving?” The simple answer is yes. Air suspension has been proven to be a great addition to vehicles for daily driving if installed and maintained correctly. If you do not maintain your air suspension system or did not install it correctly, you could have issues that may make air suspension seem like a pain to operate. A professionally installed system will be perfectly fine for daily driving.
With that being said, there are a few things to take into consideration. In the winter months, you will want to ensure there is no water or condensation in your air tank. A water trap for your tank can fix this issue and ensure nothing freezes. You will also need to routinely check all of your components and air lines to ensure they are free of any defects. This is really important for exterior mounted items such as air lines and air shocks.
What Are The Pros Of Air Suspension Systems?
There are many advantages to installing an air suspension system. This is why you see these kits being installed more and more often. Let’s take a look at some of the pros of air suspension systems.
Suspension Adjustability - The most obvious advantage of air suspension systems is the ability to quickly adjust the height of your vehicle at the press of a button. This is the main reason people add air suspension to their vehicles. This allows you to get the perfect look for your vehicle that can't be achieved with traditional suspension.
Ride Quality - Converting your shocks, struts, and coil springs to an air suspension setup allows for a better ride quality due to the design of the air shock. Air shocks make for a comfortable and softer ride quality that is leagues ahead of your factory suspension setup.
Less Wear & Tear On Other Components - Using air suspension for your truck or trailer can help save some wear and tear on other components. When a truck is loaded down from hauling or towing, there can be stress on the u-joints and driveshaft due to the pinion angle shifting. With air shocks, you can load up your shocks with air and bring your truck back into a level position.
What Are The Cons Of Air Suspension Systems?
While there are some great advantages to air suspension systems, they do come with their disadvantages as well. Let’s take a look at some of the cons of air suspension systems.
Cost - The biggest disadvantage to air suspension is the initial cost of the kit and the installation costs. This is going to be a big deciding factor for many who are on the fence about air suspension, but the investment is definitely worth it!
Durability - The durability of air suspension is going to be another downfall when compared to a spring and shock setup. Factory springs rarely fail and are built to take on a wide range of climates. With more components involved and some being installed under your vehicle, such as air lines, your chance of having a problem become damaged increases.
Malfunctions Can Cause Vehicle To Be Inoperable - Since your suspension will now rely on air to be able to get to driving height, one small leak can prevent your vehicle from airing up correctly. A worst case scenario would be that your compressor fails or you have an air line with a hole in it, rendering your vehicle inoperable. For these reasons, a proper installation is paramount to any air suspension setup.