How Air Suspension Systems Work:
Instead of steel or leaf springs, an air suspension system typically consists of air springs, also known as plastic/airbags, sturdy rubber, and an air-line system, connected to an onboard air compressor, valves, solenoids, all under electronic controls. The built-in compressor is an electric pump, used to feed air to the air bags via multiple lines. Valves play a vital role in air path control, letting air enter different sections of the system. In electronic systems, when the system accommodates for different driving conditions, solenoids inflate and vent the airbags by opening and closing to adjust the quantity of air entering each airbag. An electronic control module regulates the on/off switches, monitors pressure and manages ride height. Air springs are flexible and have a certain amount of elasticity. The more they are compressed, the stiffer they are.
The principal difference between a traditional shock or strut is that they have a dampening mechanism set to a specific ride feel while an air suspension system uses an air compressor in combination with air struts and suspension air bags to manage the feeling of the drive.
Air suspension has numerous benefits over traditional shocks and struts. The first is that the ride quality is often controlled by the driver of the vehicle. Therefore, if you want a smoother ride, you can set your air suspension system to produce that and vice versa if you are attempting to achieve a stiffer, rougher ride. The secondary advantage is that you can control ride height. Some vehicles are so advanced that they automatically execute this for you. The final benefit of an air suspension system is load control. If you pack the back of your vehicle with a significant amount of groceries from the market, the air suspension system either automatically adjusts to handle it, or you can manually change it. For traditional shocks and struts, the amount of rebound is set. Therefore regardless of what the weight of your load is, there is no changing it. Traditional shocks and struts often create a sagging rear end when carrying a heavy burden.
While an air suspension system is more elaborate than a traditional suspension system, the advantages are apparent. The system is made up of a central air suspension compressor as well as air struts within an airbag at each wheel. The air compressor pressurizes the air struts as needed to control the feel.
What are some common problems with Air Suspension?
The most prevalent problem with air suspension parts is air leaking. Since an air suspension system uses air throughout the system to maintain the ride height and quality, if there is an air loss in the air spring or air suspension compressor then your vehicle will droop. Typical symptoms of an air leak include excessive wheel play and swaying of the body.
For all of your European and Import repair and service needs, contact the professionals at DJ Foreign Auto Care. We can diagnose and repair steering and suspension problems including vehicles with air suspension! We are located at: 2626 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418. Call today to get on the schedule: 612-567-5908.