Americans first developed the air suspension system during the Second World War, specifically for large aircraft. The fundamental goal behind air suspension was to save weight by a large margin within a compact structure. In the past, air suspensions were also utilised in heavy vehicles with self-levelling suspensions, resulting in an axle independent of the mass of the vehicle’s cargo. With time, the technology dripped down to the conventional automobiles and numerous cars now equipped with.
Watch: Airmatic Suspension Of Mercedes-Benz ML 350 Being Converted To Coilovers
When we talk about OEM’s and their suspension configurations, we favour letting them decide on their own. But, in the end, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent in formulating suspension settings to provide the broadest range of setups for the customer. For cars that are generally performance-oriented or come within an economical budget, coil springs are frequently the most suitable option, designed to provide specific levels of body roll. However, comfort-biased or, say, luxury cars are usually equipped with an air suspension system that smooths out bumps like they weren’t even there.
What is An Air Suspension?
The most obvious distinction between these two designs is those twisted coils, as well as the rubber bladders. While air and Coilover springs are not like each other, they serve the same purpose, expanding and contracting to absorb bumps and create an optimum riding height.
Onboard sensors send information about the ride height to the vehicle’s computer, which uses that information to tell a pneumatic compressor the amount of pressurised air to generate. This air is pushed through air hoses and into air springs that use the pressure to regulate the vehicle’s ride height, creating a smooth(cloud-like), pleasant riding experience–as long as they’re working correctly.
There’s a lot of dispute over the two types of setups that are most effective – with traditionalists insisting that coil springs are the best. Still, a new generation of enthusiasts will say that air suspension provides the performance benefits of coil springs and much more and the ability to adjust the height and lower at any time.
Merits And Demerits Of An Air Suspension
When opposed to conventional Coilover systems, air suspension has pros and cons. The advantages of air suspension are that it provides tuning almost instantaneously, can adapt its handling for the given situations, and makes towing easier. On the other hand, some drawbacks include the vulnerable air leaks, causing the vehicle to go flat. The cost of buying and maintaining is higher than a traditional system, and it takes a considerable amount of money to fix one of those. So, there are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of suspension system.
A More Classical Solution: Coilover Suspension
The main problem with an air suspension is the vast number of components involved, which eventually wears out. Given how complex they are, it means a guaranteed huge expense at some point in a vehicle’s life. However, more and more vehicle owners are growing weary of these repairs. As a result, they convert their cars from air suspensions to a more classical and mechanical solution–traditional Coilovers.
Why Is Coilover Suspension Better?
-All Air-Suspensions Fail Eventually
While that doesn’t mean they should discard their air suspensions right away, owners should acknowledge whether it’s worth substituting or repairing components once they start to fail. This is because once one part fails, the rest of them will follow soon. Sadly, this means that more expense and trouble will always be right around the corner.
-Coil Suspensions Are a Fraction Of The Price
With everything interconnected from computers to electronic sensors to several mechanical components, air suspension needs costly parts and speciality tools to service them. This means a massive sum of your hard-earned money when something needs to be repaired or replaced.
When owners contemplate that air suspension-related expenses are likely to be continuing for the rest of the car’s existence, substituting an old one with a new one makes a great deal of sense in the long run. This is particularly true when a whole coil spring kit usually costs about the same for the entire car as for just one air spring.
-Coil Springs Are Reliable And Easy To Maintain
As opposed to the intricate network of electronics and plastic and rubber elements, the simple, sturdy structure of Coilover often makes people feel more assured in their journey. Nevertheless, once a car gets to the point where everything starts to break, that air suspension becomes a ticking time bomb that could ruin your next road trip. The mismatch of air pressure can also affect the wheel alignment and cause damage to the rims.