What is an Air Suspension Strut and what does it do?
The main difference between a standard shock or strut is that they have a dampening mechanism set to a specific ride control feel while an air suspension system uses an air compressor in combination with air struts and suspension airbags to control the feel of the ride.
Most cars use McPherson struts. Most struts are a combination of shock and spring coil. Air struts are the same except that the spring of the coil has been replaced with an airbag. This allows the McPherson strut equipped car to have an airbag suspension capability.
While it is true that first strut bag systems were not very good, today's air struts are much better. With the strut assembly, the new air strut systems will turn and not tie-up.
Air suspension has several advantages over traditional shocks and struts. The first is that the quality of the ride is often controlled by the driver of the vehicle. Therefore, if you want a softer ride, you can set up your air suspension system to deliver it, and vice versa if you're looking for a stiffer, rougher ride. The second advantage is that you can control the height of the ride, some systems are advanced in that they automatically control it for you. The ultimate advantage of the air suspension system is weight management. If you load a large number of grocery stores on the back of your SUV, the air suspension system either adjusts to handle it automatically or you can adjust it manually. For traditional shocks and struts, the rebound level is set, so whatever the weight of your load is, you have to stick with it. This often results in a sagging rear end when carrying a heavy load.
Air suspension increases the transport capacity of trucks and trailers by providing better grip to the entire suspension. The air suspension system can also be adjusted for the feel, so that drivers can choose between a softer feel for highway cruising or a tougher ride for improved handling on more demanding roads.
In the case of heavy loads, air suspension offers more consistency and keeps all wheels even. The air suspension system keeps the trucks level from side to side, especially in cases where it is difficult to level the cargo. This results in a reduced body roll when corners and curves are turned.
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