Guide to understanding air ride systems

People generally believe that air bag suspensions do not work in performance applications, but this is not true. Air ride systems can offer more adjustments than  that a static suspension. You are able to adjust for load, road conditions, ride quality and, last but not least, handling performance. Although compressors have long been used in the trucking world, they have moved into the commercial world as well. Motorcycles, custom, daily commuter cars use air bag suspension kits  nowadays. From a comfort and safety point of view, the springs are an integral part to the way your car performs.

What air ride systems are

Air suspension systems typically replace conventional springs with springs like those you typically find in 18-wheel trucks. Conventional coil-spring compressors are fairly easy to upgrade. The compressors slip right in place of the coil springs and frequently fasten securely to proprietary bolt-in brackets supplied by the aftermarket manufacturer. Owing to changes in technology, systems are no longer slow and imprecise. On the contrary, they rely on fast, precision-based technology with advanced electronics that command bag pressure and thus ensure a smooth, controlled drive.

What air ride systems can do for your vehicle

Handling performance: The vast majority of springs are progressive, which means that if they compress repeatedly, they become very stiff. If you combine this progressive rate with an in-car adjustment, you will increase the performance potential. You are even able to adjust the spring rate of the car while moving. In a sophisticated handling application, the air spring should be coupled with shock adjustable for rebound and compression, but also with anti-sway bars.

Tuning: The more air is displaced inside the spring, the higher the spring rate will be. If the suspension is set up properly, then you can make small adjustments from the ride height pressure without aesthetically affecting the height of the vehicle. You will only see changes in altitude with large changes in pressure. The majority of engineered systems are actually designed to lower the ride height, which means a lower centre of gravity and better handling.

Load carrying: This represents the original commercial application for air ride suspensions, namely helping 18-wheelers carry heavy load without sacrificing driver comfort. Although this is not the first reason why anyone would switch to these compressors, it is decidedly a good solution for making your ride more smooth under varying load conditions.

Selecting the right suspension system

Adjustability is the determining factor in which product you will choose. Air bags can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing pressure, which makes the task of levelling your load simpler. You can also find systems that engage your compressor system automatically and keep your vehicle at a level ride height. You should also take into account durability. The kit that you purchase should be backed by warranty since the rubber tends to wear in time. Affordability is as well as determining factor. You can find kits around $80, but a more performing kit will cost you even more.

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