In the past, air suspension systems were almost entirely reserved for big rigs, performance cars, motorcycles, and ATVs. Today, they’re appearing on some of the most popular commuter cars on the road. An alternative to traditional metal coils, air suspension systems are redefining the idea of a smooth ride, while also giving drivers a higher level of handling and safety. So, just how do these systems work? Here’s a guide to all the ins and outs of air suspension systems.
An Improvement on the Conventional
Up until about 10 years ago, nearly all vehicles had the conventional metal coil spring system, which had been the industry standard for several decades. However, air suspension systems replace these springs with plastic and rubber bags of air, which are easily customized to fit a driver’s habits. To mimic the traditional system, these air bags simply inflate to the correct pressure and height, and act much like springs. However, that’s where most of the similarities stop. When coupled with the car’s on-board computer, air compressor, and sensors, air suspension is not only more efficient, but it also creates a more precise driving experience that metal coil systems can’t touch.
Some drivers opt for an air suspension system for the cool factor. It becomes far easier to lower your car to the ground with an air suspension system, as it just requires changing the pressure inside the air bag. Even though this is only a small percentage of drivers, this is a crucial difference in the system. By lowering your car, you can make it more accessible without compromising the handling or durability of the suspension. Air suspension systems also allow you customize your driving experience, making handling stiffer or looser to suit your tastes.
Before the advent of air suspension systems, fine tuning a suspension system was a delicate process. Older suspension systems required weeks of tweaking the springs and shocks, and even then, you might not achieve the actual driving experience you want. With air suspension systems, these week-long adjustments are easily condensed into a few minutes. The air bags are filled or deflated, meaning you can drive your car for an hour, and if you don’t like the handling, you can adjust it accordingly and quickly.
Another benefit of an air suspension system is handling heavy loads. In actuality, this was the system’s intended use, as it was almost exclusively used on 18-wheelers in the past. However, the same principle works for drivers that carry huge payloads. Air suspension allows you to carry weights that were previously out of the question.
Because older suspensions had metal components, they were susceptible to the elements, causing rust and decay. With air suspension systems, you don’t have to worry about this. The bags are made from a rubber and polyurethane composite, meaning they’ll last longer.
With air suspension systems, you get a plethora of benefits over the old, metal technology. Plus, if you’re thinking of upgrading, installation is a straightforward process. Don’t delay transitioning to an air suspension system. You’ll never experience a better drive in your life.