How is Air Suspension used? Air ride, or air bag suspension has many uses. Some of the more common uses for air ride suspension are found in custom show cars and custom trucks, trucks used for hauling/towing, and for drag-racing cars/trucks. Air ride is used on show cars/trucks to allow the user to “lay out” their ride, or completely lower their rides. At car shows or while cruising, air ride users can lower their ride to tuck the wheels into the body of their custom car or custom truck for a great look or even to compete in dragging competitions.
A dragging competition is when drivers
lower their rides to the ground and drive at moderate speed to produce
sparks from scraping their frame or rocker panels on the pavement.
Air suspension is also used on custom show cars and custom show trucks to allow the owner to install larger wheels and tires that would normally be too large to fit under the vehicle. By lifting their air suspension, the user can increase fender well clearance to allow the bigger wheels/tires to fit without rubbing in most cases. This type of vehicle with the giant wheels is sometimes called a “Donk.”
Air suspension is also found on large trucks that are used to do heavy towing and hauling of large, heavy items. On everyday work'/hauling trucks, like the Ford F-150 or a Chevy 1500, etc, air ride is only installed of the rear of the truck. This is because when the truck is loaded with lumber, or other heavy materials, the rear of the truck will tend to sag and be lower than the front. When a truck is full and the rear is low, the handling of the truck can be greatly affected and make the truck difficult to drive. The addition of air bags in the rear of the truck will allow the driver to inflate the “load-supporting” bags which will lift the rear of the truck to counter-act the effects of the heavy load. If you’ve ever been beside an 18-wheeler at stoplight and wondered what the big black balloons in the suspension under the trailer are; those are massive air bags to help handle the extreme load that the truck is pulling.
Even another use for Air Bag Suspension can be found in the drag-racing industry. When a dragster launches off the starting line, the frame or chassis of the vehicle tends to flex or twist, due to the tremendous torque put out by the racing engine. Too much of this twisting can actually warp the frame and make it nearly impossible to ever align the vehicle correctly to go down the track in a straight line. Adding air suspension to a dragster can make it possible for the driver/crew to lift or lower any of the corners of the vehicle to counteract the twisting effect which will allow the vehicle to achieve maximum traction, without wasting energy on the twisting of the frame for much faster launches!
Many vehicles today come with factory installed Air Bag Suspension. This is also true for several cars produced in the past. Factory installed air ride is not user adjustable, but is still very beneficial to the driver. Whether your car came with air ride suspension, or you have had it installed, most will find that vehicles equipped with air “ride like a dream.” Since you are literally riding on pillows of air, those irritating bumps in the road become a thing of the past!
Click below to learn more about the uses of
automotive air suspension and the components that are used: Air
Air Bag Compressors
Air Ride Tanks
Air Ride controllers, Switch Boxes
Air Ride Accessories
Air Ride FAQs
Air Bag Suspension Main Page