Air Suspension Systems: How They Work and Why You Should Get Them
Air Suspension is a type of high-performance car suspension system that utilizes an air compressor or pump to operate. As opposed to traditional suspension systems, which use coils or steel springs, air suspension systems work by using a pump to create pressurized air that creates the suspension mechanism. While air suspension systems were originally introduced in order to help improve ride quality, they have since become popular among custom car enthusiasts who often use them to provide adjustable suspensions for hot rods, cars, trucks and even some motorcycles. Browse through this category for more information on air suspension systems. The key feature of this type of system is that the height of the vehicle is easily adjusted.
Today, air suspension systems are primarily used in high-end, luxury models such as Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and Audi. Some of these luxury vehicles may even feature height adjustable suspensions that allow the driver to control the vehicle's height when encountering large obstacles. Other custom air suspension systems offer the ability for the drive to determine whether they wanted a comfortable or sport-tuned ride. Besides passenger cars, air suspension systems are also commonly used in buses, semi-trailers and large trucks.
These days, air suspension systems are increasingly being used by custom car enthusiasts who want a way to be able to raise and lower the height of their vehicles. Air suspension systems allow them to make their vehicles sit extremely low to the ground, as well as rise up if necessary in order to maneuver over large obstacles. More advanced air suspension systems can even allow the driver to tilt their vehicle to one side or even bounce up and down.
The main component in any air suspension system is the air suspension bag. Most air suspension bags will come with a switch mounted in the dashboard that allows the driver to manually adjust the suspension. Most of them are comprised of three components—a short cylindrical cap, a cylindrical/bellow shaped air bladder and a cylindrical piston.
The cap is made of aluminum or plastic, which serves as the upper mount. This cap usually contains a threaded hole for the air-line fitting. The air bladder is made of fiber reinforced rubber or other durable plastic material.
Lastly, the cylindrical piston is designed to help the airbag maintain shape as it is compressed. Usually made of aluminum or plastic, the piston also serves as the lower mounting area.
Although suspension air bags can be filled using a service station air hose, most air suspension kits include at least a small on-board compressor, pressure gauge, and dashboard mounted switch so the user can adjust the suspension from the driver's seat.
Kits available from companies like Air-Lift and Air Ride Technologies are useful in compensating for heavy-load conditions in your truck or SUV. The ability to level your vehicle when it is filled with cargo, people or a combination of the two is a big safety benefit; it will improve the handling and braking of your vehicle. Vehicles carrying heavy loads wind up with headlights pointing up in the air instead of down the road. Add-on kits correct this problem as well as the issue of a "nose down" issue for vehicles that carry snow plows or winches. In these instances, an add-on kit to augment your stock suspension is a sound choice.
There are also kits to replace most of your vehicle's suspension, providing an even wider range of adjustability and suspension options. Air suspension kits are tailored to your car according to usage. Whether you’re drag racing, road racing, competing in show or someplace in between, air suspension kits cover a lot of automotive ground. These complete kits are manifesting in 4X4 and off-road trucks because of their ability to go from a lowered ride height for better stability to a raised one for more ground clearance at the flip of a switch. If you are looking to customize your vehicle in this way, a complete air suspension kit made specifically for your intended purpose will be the way to go.
Whether you are looking to experience the smoothest ride possible, or simply want to be able to lower and raise your car at will, it helps to get as much information as possible on all the issues surrounding air suspension performance parts.