Astoria Mechanic | Collision Repair | Tolimas Auto Center

air strut vs traditional strut Tolima's Auto Center

Air Suspension Leak Repair

Luxury car manufacturers try to balance great handling dynamics along with a smooth comfortable ride and they accomplish this with air suspensions. They are amazing as they are adjustable. They can be made stiff for handling or soft for highway cruising. On high end car manufacturers like Land Rover, they can even raise or lower the car for off-roading or to make the car easier to get in or out of. Air suspensions offer amazing versatility on high end cars. The issues start when the cars go out of warranty and the cars get older. They finally become affordable for people looking to spend $6,000 or less for a used luxury vehicle.

What Breaks on an Air Suspension

As the air suspension ages the rubber air bladders that hold the pressurized start to dry rot and crack. The bladders are under immense pressure as they hold the weight of the car and are strained with every bump and pot hole you hit. As the rubber fails so will the seals and start to leak air. It is easy to identify a leak because over night the car will drop as the suspension collapses. We have also come across problems with the air compressors themselves. As their name suggests they compress air and pressurize the air bladders in the struts. They can fail with age or if someone ignores leaky air struts and just keeps driving their car the air compressors can burn themselves out from constantly running while trying to keep the bladders pumped up with air. The final most common problem we have encountered is with the level control system. It is a complex system that uses sensors to detect the ride height and makes sure your car is level as it drives down the road. If the system malfunctions the car will not be evenly leveled on the road and can damage suspension components as the weight of the car is not evenly distributed.

The problem with Air Suspensions

The main problem with air suspensions is that when anything breaks the parts cost and labor can easily go over half the value of the car or surpass the value of the car if it is old enough. Even for people who work on their own cars the parts cost can still get into the thousands. As some popular cars with air suspensions like the Mercedes Benz W211 E500 and the BMW E53 X5 many people will drive the cars with broken air suspensions causing even more damage to the cars. One solution to the air suspension problem on these older cars is to delete the air suspensions and install a coilover kit. This is also pricey as these coilover kits tend to cost nearly $1,000 and then you have to pay for labor and alignment. But the advantage is that you never have to worry about a broken air suspension component again. For quotes or any issues with any vehicle equipped with an air suspension contact us at Tolima’s Auto Center.

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