In the modern automotive market, air suspension serves as a dynamic technology that enhances the comfort, versatility, and performance of vehicles. This innovative system allows for an adjustable ride height, improved ride quality, and adaptability to various driving conditions, making it a sought-after feature for both luxury and practical vehicles.
Additionally, it also serves as a popular modification in the aftermarket car industry, replacing factory shocks, struts, springs, and leaf springs with air struts that offer adjustable ride height. This feature allows users to modify their vehicle’s height according to their preferences, whether for achieving the ideal ride height or achieving a low, ground-hugging profile.
As a result, air suspension has become a key player in delivering a more comfortable and customized driving experience in today’s automobiles.
In this discussion, we will explore the fundamental aspects of air suspension, addressing questions such as:
- What is air suspension?
- How does air suspension work?
WHAT IS AIR SUSPENSION?
Air suspension is a popular feature in modern luxury cars. Many people desire it in their vehicles, but not everyone fully understands what it entails. It is a type of automotive suspension system that employs air-filled bags, rather than traditional metal springs, to support the vehicle’s weight.
It utilizes an electric compressor to distribute air throughout various parts of the system. Its primary function is to regulate the vehicle’s ride height, adapting it based on speed and terrain conditions. Cars wouldn’t require numerous springs and shock absorbers if all roads were flawlessly smooth.
However, in the real world of potholes and speed bumps, cars must have a flexible suspension system to absorb these imperfections. Air suspension replaces (or supplements) a car’s springs with air-filled bladders that allow the ride height and firmness to be adjusted to suit the driving circumstances.
HOW DOES AIR SUSPENSION WORK?
An air suspension system operates by replacing traditional coil or leaf springs with flexible airbags filled with compressed air. The operation relies on managing air pressure and ride height. The onboard airbags, compressor, drier, and valves control the complete operation of air-bagged suspension systems.
These airbags are pressurized by an onboard air compressor, and air lines with valves direct the air to the individual air springs located at each wheel or axle. The compressor draws in air from the surrounding environment. The dryer employs a moisture absorbent called a desiccant to dry the air before it is fed into the airbags via airlines. Ride height sensors at each corner of the vehicle continuously monitor the distance between the chassis and the ground, sending real-time data to the air suspension controller, often an electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU then adjusts the air pressure within the airbags as needed to maintain a consistent ride height, regardless of changes in vehicle load or road conditions.
This technology not only ensures a comfortable ride but also allows for adjustable ride height, making it adaptable for various driving situations and preferences, from off-road terrain to highway cruising.
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