Air Suspension Problems
Norman Taylor & Associates
August 24, 2010
When the air suspension fails the effects can be startling beyond what happens with an ordinary coil spring suspension system. Because these systems can adjust the suspension to three different ride heights another computer control system is required. This complex suspension control system is added to vehicles that are already over-burdened with software and computer modules.
Air suspension failures may range from delays while the system tries to figure out if the car is level to truly life-threatening defects. At Norman Taylor & Associates we interview consumers every day who are trying to cope with cars and trucks that just can’t be repaired who may have recourse under the California Lemon Law. An example on the scary side occurred to one of our clients recently. While driving on the freeway in the fast lane both right side elements of the air suspension sagged to the lowest ride height. Without warning the consumer was trying to drive a car that was leaning to the right. Just getting it over to the side of the freeway safely was more excitement than any one needs.
You might be surprised at how many models have an air suspension system installed. The following is a partial list. Not all manufacturers have air suspension systems on some of their models. As you can see, it is more often in use on higher end vehicles.
- Rolls Royce
- Mercedes Benz
- Land Rover
The types of failure that can be experienced are actually quite predictable. Air bag or air strut failure takes place when one of the following conditions exist:
- Old age
- Wet rod
- Moisture within the air system
Air ride suspension parts can fail when the rubber gets too dry. Punctures often occur when there is debris on the road.
Air line failure occurs when the tubing that connects the air bags experiences an error. This failure typically takes place when they rub up against a sharp edge and a hole is formed.
The most common type of failure is to the compressor. Compressor failure is caused with a leaking air spring or air strut. Compressor burnout is also an issue and this is caused by moisture from the air system contacting electronic parts.
We see it over and over, technology for the sake of technology, because it is a cool thing to do and gives the maker and opportunity to one-up the competition gets out of hand. It is too early to know whether this is a technology that is here to stay or just one of the technological flavors of the model year.