Air Suspension 101
This article is designed to help explain air suspensions in as much detail as possible. It is broken into several categories. We hope the this will provide you with valuable information to make an informed descision.
What Is An Air Suspension System?
An air suspension is a suspension that rides on air. The air is contained in an air spring (or air bag as it is sometimes called) or an air cylinder. Air suspensions have been around for a long time. Several auto makers started putting air suspension systems on cars in the 50's. Air suspension has been used on semi-tractors and trailers for decades. Many high-end luxury vehicles today use air suspension to give better ride and level control.
One of the most popular trends today for air suspensions is in the custom car and truck market. Air suspension systems allow a vehicle to get extremely low when parked and then raise back up to drive away. These air systems allow a vehicle customizer to get the lowest possible drop. Other lowering options have limits on how low you can go, but not with an air suspension system.
The adjustability of an air suspension system is its greatest advantage over other lowering options. When a vehicle is lowered, the need arises for additional ground clearance. This additional ground clearance can be achieved with an air suspension system. When a lowered vehicle encounters a speed bump or steep driveway, a flip of the switch raises the vehicle to clear the obstacle. This can save the undercarriage of a lowered vehicle or an expensive body kit.
The other advantage of an air suspension system is the ride. You will not get a better ride with any other lowering option than with air. This is why many auto makers put air suspension systems on their luxury vehicles. This only pertains to vehicles with air springs/bags or air struts. Air cylinders ride the roughest, and this will be discussed later.
There are several components to an air suspension system. The components depend on how complex your system is. The system can consist of compressors, air controllers, valves, air line, etc. These components will be discussed in detail later.
Air Bags, Air Springs, Air Struts, and Air Cylinders
Getting the Air In An Air Suspension System