Whether you’re an automotive enthusiast, or you’re just in the market for a smooth ride, you’ve probably heard of air ride suspension.
This new suspension system is taking the automotive world by storm because it gives one of the most smooth and stable driving experiences available today.
It’s become one of the most popular choices for luxury cars, SUV’s, hotrods, lowriders, mini trucks, and just about any show-stopping, smooth-riding beauty on four wheels.
How Does it Work?
An air ride suspension simply replaces coil springs with flexible, rubber, pressure-filled bags of air. These bags are inflated or deflated through a series of electrical controls as necessary, giving it a signature smooth ride. Through this series of compressors and air bags, a cushion is created which allows a vehicle to glide over potholes, sail across rough road, and float over bumps while leaving the driver feeling steady, safe, and in control.
Benefits Of Air Ride Suspensions
Air bag suspension kits are gaining in popularity across the entire automotive market, and it’s easy to see why. They deliver both performance and convenience. In addition to a smooth ride, an airbag suspension system delivers additional benefits:
- No springs: The rubber bags are significantly more durable, and less susceptible to leaking, which is a common problem with hydraulics.
- Adjustable: Air bag suspension is completely customizable for every single ride. You have complete control over air suspension system to adjustable for the driver’s preferences. You can have a cushy ride over a rough road, then change to a harder ride for improved handling, all with a simple switch based on driving conditions.
- Towing capabilities: Air suspension systems increase towing capabilities in trucks and SUVs. Typically, large loads can weigh down vehicles, making it harder to handle. In an air suspension, that additional weight just creates more pressure, which actually increases handling abilities.
How Does Airbag Suspension Compare To Hydraulics?
We are so glad you asked.
Air suspension is intriguing, sexy, and tempting, and may seem too good to be true, right?
It’s always worth comparing apples to apples to ensure you’re making the best decision for your ride. Both airbags and lowrider hydraulics have their pros and cons, and we are here to make sure you get what’s best for you.
- Air bag systems use a bag enclosed in a heavy rubber case with a series of valves connected to a compressor to control the air pumped into each bag, which adjusts ride quality and height of the vehicle.
- Hydraulic suspensions have a similar setup, but instead of compressed air, they use hydraulic fluid and a series of coils that are compressed or expanded to create pressure and adjust quality and height.
- Air bag systems are known for their smooth ride. This is the primary benefit to the other system, as well as the face that the quality of ride wins over hydraulics hands down every time. This is why they often come standard in luxury vehicles — they simply create a smoother ride overall.
- Hydraulic suspensions are a stiff ride because the fluid doesn’t compress the same way air does. They can be made smooth with additional parts and upgraded pieces, but it takes more effort and cost.
- Air bag systems have a slightly longer response time when you’re talking about raising, lowering, or “hopping” a vehicle. If you want to put on a show, air bags might not be the best option. However, airbags have a superior collapsed-to-list ratio of four times.
- Hydraulic suspensions raise and lower much quicker than air bag suspension because hydraulic fluid doesn’t take as long to compress. If you’re looking for a vehicle that put on a show, this might be the way to go.
- Air bag systems require a similar maintenance to hydraulics. They can leak, but they are typically easier to repair and a lot less messy, assuming you can find the leaks. Sometimes air leaks are harder to find than fluid leaks.
- Hydraulic suspension are more susceptible to leaks and they can be a mess. They also require replacement of seals, pumps, batteries, and fluid on an occasional basis.
- Airbag systems are significantly less expensive than hydraulics because you can start with a simple setup and enjoy the basic functions at a low cost. You can upgrade specific parts in phases, making it a more affordable system overall.
- Hydraulics suspensions are more expensive upfront when compared to the air bag system options in comparable vehicles.
Air Suspension FAQ
Will the bags pop?
Only if they are installed wrong. As long as the bags are free of moisture and aren’t rubbing up against anything, you’re going to be fine.
Randomly popped balloons underneath your car is one of the biggest myths of air bag suspensions.
Do I need to buy new shocks with an air ride kit?
Not necessarily, but it is recommended.
Shocks can make a big difference between a car that’s just for show and one that’s for riding. If you’re lowering your vehicle significantly, the whole system will ride better with a shorter shock.
The Cool Cars Engineering Difference
Still not sure? That’s where we come in.
We understand you’ve got a lot of options in the world of adjustable suspensions, and we’re here to help. We have the industry knowledge and experience to give you the information you need to make the best decision for your ride.
We offer several types of kits to improve your ride and every part you need to deliver top performance. Some of our preferred brands include Viair, Airlift, Accuair, Ride Tech, and Slam Specialties.
From a basic air suspension fitting to the most complete air ride suspension setup on the market, we’ve got it all. Shop with us today to get started!