How to Fix Failing Air Suspension

An air suspension system was a perfectly good idea when it was one of the selling points on a brand new luxury automobile. A small army of electronic sensors works in harmony with a control module, onboard air compressor, and rubber air springs to soften the meanest of city streets and deliver an amazingly comfortable ride. But that great ride quality comes with a price, some of which is paid long after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

In many cases, the vehicle’s unsuspecting second or third owners are left to discover the real pain of dealing with a worn-out factory air suspension system. Computerized air suspension systems on modern luxury vehicles are complicated. That’s to be expected from something able to make hundreds of decisions within a fraction of a second.

These systems are expensive to repair. Replacement of all of the necessary components at the dealer starts in the $2,500 area on the simple two-wheel systems and soars to over $10,000 on some vehicles with active suspension on all four wheels. Statistically speaking, all of these systems have a 100% failure rate, no matter the manufacturer or brand.

If you own a vehicle equipped with this type of system, it’s not IF it will cost you money but WHEN and HOW much. You’ll know when it happens. Some vehicles drop a few inches, while others are rendered practically undrivable.

What Causes Air Suspension Systems to Fail?

Suspension Replacement OptionsAge, extreme heat or cold, and normal wear and tear cause tiny, sometimes microscopic holes in the rubber air springs. They slowly seep or leak air from the system. Eventually, your onboard air compressor can’t keep up.

Imagine opening all of your refrigerator doors right before you walk out the front door and leave for a week’s vacation. Eventually, that refrigerator compressor gets overworked and overheated and gives up the ghost. That’s exactly what happens to your vehicle’s air suspension compressor. It can no longer make enough air to keep the system pumped up.

Even though you may still hear the little compressor running, it can no longer keep the vehicle at its proper ride height. The compressor is dead, and if you’re not careful, your wallet will be, too. This tiny compressor is just one of many parts and electronic components destined to fail.

So What Are Your Choices?

Option 1: You can get rid of the vehicle. Don’t expect to get nearly as much now that your dream ride has turned itself into a low-rider. Check your budget carefully to determine if you can really afford to take on another monthly vehicle payment. Unless the vehicle needs other major repairs, this may not be your best option.

Option 2: You can attempt to repair the air suspension system. Be wary of any technician who promises a quick and easy fix. The repair shop is the only winner if you have to systematically work your way around the vehicle, replacing parts and gadgets at an average of several hundred dollars per visit. Keep in mind that the cheaper aftermarket parts aren’t as good as the original equipment. How valuable is your time? Do you want to deal with multiple trips to the repair shop?

Option 3: You can install a suspension conversion system, which replaces the failing rubber and plastic air springs with durable steel coil springs. This is a permanent solution that costs about 20% of the price of a complete repair or replacement with original equipment at the dealer. Since the conversion kit is a slight step back in ride quality, it’s important to use the best possible product.

Strutmasters was the first to market with a complete conversion kit in 1999, and they offer a solution to the suspension warning light on the majority of their products.

As the cost of new luxury vehicles continues to soar, it’s more important than ever to consider all of your options carefully when a major repair lurks around the corner. When it comes to an air suspension system, an unpleasant surprise is sure to come eventually.

Have a question? Contact our expert suspension team online today!

The Top 5 Auto Blogs in the Industry

The automotive industry can be tough to understand, but there’s a lot you can learn from industry blogs. Whether you’re looking for the latest in vehicle releases or air suspension maintenance tips, these top five auto blogs are excellent resources for helping you to navigate and learn more about the industry.

Auto Blog

Auto Blog is the industry blog for all things automotive. They publish vehicle reviews, articles on the latest industry news, and car buying guides. On top of that, they have an entire section dedicated to vehicle owners. This includes maintenance and repair guides that discuss everything from how to keep your vehicle clean to car care tips.

They also publish news regarding recalls and safety issues affecting any vehicles on the road today.

Automoblog.net

If you’re looking for industry news, trends, and the latest in automotive culture, check out Automoblog.net. This blog is known for its pieces showcasing the latest automotive technology trends as well as new vehicle reviews. On top of that, they’re a go-to source for any and all car buying advice you need.

Automoblog.net also features three recurring series. “Memory Lane” discusses classic and vintage cars. “Letter from the UK” gives us a look of the auto industry across the pond. Finally, “Book Garage” highlights of some of today’s most inspiring automotive books.

Hemmings Blog

Known as the world’s leading classic car news source, Hemmings Blog publishes everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the vehicles of yesteryear. Their blog features details on a variety of vintage cars such as their classic car “Find of the Day.” These posts are a complete rundown of classic and vintage listed for sale on the Hemmings Daily News website.

On top of that, Hemmings Blog posts the latest news in sports cars, exotic cars, motorcycles, classic car events, and much more.

Motorlogy

Motorlogy is a great auto blog for anyone looking to learn more about the latest models, vehicle upgrades, and automotive technologies on the market. Their posts mainly focus on reviews of new models and technology advancements.

However, Motorlogy is also great resource for beginner car buyers. They feature guides to finding the right car loan, how to buy the right auto insurance, and how to find the right used car for your needs. Best of all, this automotive blog specializes in safety tips to ensure peace of mind for the road ahead.

The Truth About Cars

For an honest information about vehicles, read The Truth About Cars. They’re known for their informative blogs, vehicle reviews, and editorials. They also provide in-depth vehicle details in their First Drive Reviews to help you make any necessary car buying decisions.

In addition, The Truth About Cars offers a full section of blogs related to tips and advice. Designed to help make the car shopping process and your life as a new car owner easier, they feature helpful blogs to know what to look for during a test drive, choose between OEM or aftermarket parts, and much more.

The top five auto industry blogs are some of the best resources that can help you learn more and stay updated on the latest automotive news and trends. So if you’re looking for industry information, check them out today.

For more industry news and tips from automotive experts, check out Strutmasters’ blog.

Tips for Buying Air Suspension Kits

When air suspension began making a comeback on luxury vehicles in the early 1990s, consumers were inevitably forced to pony up big bucks at the dealer when the systems failed. Fixing it with original equipment parts or trading the vehicle were their only two choices. But the power of the internet eventually swung things in favor of the consumer.

Tips for Buying a Conversion KitMany air suspension and other active suspension repairs that used to be dealer exclusives are now being solved by smaller shops and even the vehicle owners themselves. One pioneer of such ingenuity was a North Carolina goat dairy farmer named Chip Lofton, who replaced air struts on his 1989 Lincoln Continental with passive coil-over-strut assemblies. Lofton figured out how to bypass the suspension warning light and the world’s first conversion kit was born.

Lofton founded Strutmasters in 1999 to help others find a way to escape the firm stranglehold that the dealers had on air suspension repairs at the time. The idea caught on and his company has helped 250,000 vehicles owners and counting hang on to their vehicles up to seven more years.

The idea is simple: Replace complicated and expensive active suspensions with a passive suspension engineered to deliver a great ride at a fraction of the price.

There are lots of choices these days when shopping for an air suspension kit.

  • How can you tell one from another?
  • Why are some more expensive?
  • Which ones will do the best job fixing my vehicle?

Getting the best product from the best company is important because switching from the original equipment to a suspension kit is normally a slight step backwards in ride quality.

Here are a few things to look for:

  1. Better Coil Springs: Shop for suspension kits that feature steel coil springs manufactured with the cold-winding process. They’re stronger and ride better than hot-wound steel coil springs, which tend to be more brittle and break easier because of being heated. The cold-wound springs last longer and retain more of their intended spring rate. They’re pre-set from the factory, meaning the ride height of the vehicle will stay the same. Cheaper hot-wound coil springs tend to settle and sag over time.
  2. The Right Shocks and Struts: Look for a company that uses shocks and struts designed and valved for that particular vehicle. Shocks and struts that work along with air springs don’t necessarily work well with a conventional steel coil spring. The best companies use actual vehicles to test different spring and shock/strut combinations.
  3. Great Instructions: Does the company you’ re considering offer detailed instructions with photos and diagrams? Do they have installation videos to watch? This is vital if you’re trying to tackle this yourself and even helpful for professional installers.
  4. Customer Service and Tech Support: Choose a company that offers professional service and technical support after the sale. If something goes wrong, who are you going to call? Will they actually answer the phone? Has someone at that company actually worked on a vehicle like yours?
  5. Cheaper Is as Cheaper Does: Do you really want to put the cheapest parts available on your baby? Remember, an air suspension kit is already a small step back in ride quality. Putting on the cheapest parts you can find is like taking a giant leap backwards. Since this is a permanent fix, it’s worth paying more for a quality product that delivers a great ride.

Common Air Suspension Problems

AirSuspensionReplacementPartsCommon air suspension problems may seem miniscule, but they’re actually one of the leading causes of suspension failure. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these issues. The best way is to keep an eye out for the warning signs discussed below so you know when it’s time to repair the system.

Air Spring Leaks

One of the most common air suspension problems is a leaking air spring. With time, the rubber components of these parts will deteriorate, creating holes and tears and causing an air leak.

There are various warning signs that your air suspension is suffering from an air leak. For example, you may experience a bumpier ride because a damaged air spring can’t absorb the shock from bumps in the road. So all of that movement flows through the suspension system without any cushion.

You may also notice that the air compressor is constantly running. The air compressor works to keeps the bags and springs properly inflated. When there’s a leak, the compressor will keep running.

On top of that, if there’s a leak in the air springs, the height of the vehicle will drop or it will sag on the side where the damaged air spring is.

Faulty Air Compressor

A faulty compressor is also a common air suspension problem. As stated previously, the compressor works to keep the air springs inflated. Oftentimes, a compressor malfunctions because it’s overworked, meaning that it runs more often than usual. This wears it out and causes the part to fail faster.

One way to determine if your air compressor is faulty is to check the vehicle height. If it’s riding lower than usual, the compressor may not be working properly or at all.

Hearing noises coming from the part also means compressor issues. Clinking, grinding, or whining indicates a problem with the motor or fan.

Excessive Moisture in the System

The compressed air within an air suspension system contains moisture that can accumulate and lead to severe damage. This issue is caused by a malfunctioning air dryer assembly, a part designed to remove moisture from the compressed air. Excessive moisture in the suspension system could result in rust and corrosion.

Checking the suspension system for physical damage like rust is the easiest way to determine if there’s too much moisture in the compressed air. This problem can also affect leveling capabilities, the compressor, or overall suspension performance, so you want to check the stance and performance of your vehicle as well. If it’s riding lower or sagging or if you’re experiencing a bumpier ride, it could be because there’s too much moisture in the system.

How to Fix Air Suspension Issues

The quickest and easiest way to fix these common air suspension problems is to have the system repaired or parts replaced as soon as you notice any of the issues above. This helps to prevent complete system failure.

You may also want to consider converting your air suspension to a coil spring suspension. These are designed to produce an equally smooth performance without having to deal with the problems listed above.

Understanding common air suspension problems is the first step to preventing system failure, so take the time to get to know the issues and schedule a suspension repair as soon as they start happening.

For more information, call Strutmasters at 866-597-2397 or contact us online!

Why Choose Strutmasters for Air Suspension Kits

A ton of places sell air suspension kits and parts, so why should you choose Strutmasters? Read below to find out.

Diverse Product Selection

At Strutmasters, we know that not all vehicles are made the same. Every model of every year needs a specific air suspension kit to deliver the best performance. That’s why we offer a kit for almost every car. No matter if you drive a Ford truck or a Lincoln sedan, there’s an air suspension kit at Strutmasters for you. And we have air suspension kits for motorcycles as well. These cater to many brands, including Suzuki, Honda, and Harley Davidson.

We also offer a diverse product selection so you can find the right air suspension kit for your exact needs. There are kits to enhance the load capacity of your truck, and there are kits that allow you to slam your car down to achieve a sleeker stance and improved performance.

On top of that, we offer various air suspension parts from brands like Air Lift and Monroe for all of your customization, maintenance, and repair tasks.

Air Suspension Conversion Kits

Brochure Side 2Strutmasters offers air suspension conversion kits as well for those looking to switch their vehicle to a coil spring suspension. Our conversion kits are designed to deliver an exceptional performance. Plus they’re engineered and assembled in the United States and easy to install.

Above all, these kits are made with high-quality parts and materials so they’ll last longer than air suspension parts. In fact, we offer a lifetime limited warranty for all of our conversion kits.

Affordable High-Quality Parts and Kits

We know how expensive buying air suspension kits and parts are at the dealership, so we’ve made it a goal to help you get the parts you need and save money at the same time. Our air suspension kits and air suspension conversion kits are affordable so you can get the kit you want without breaking the bank.

On top of that, everything we offer is made with high-quality materials and designed to last for many years. With that said, getting a kit from Strutmasters can also help you save on repairs and maintenance in the long run.

Installation Services at Any Location

Anyone who knows how to do a brake job can install our suspension kits. However, if you need a little help, our onsite full-service repair and maintenance shop as well as the thousands of authorized repair shops in the area can install them for you.

Plus our ASE-certified technicians can provide the routine services your vehicle needs to uphold its performance and keep your suspension running smoothly for as long as possible.

We Are the Suspension Experts

Most importantly, here at Strutmasters, we’re THE suspension experts. With over 17 years of experience, we’re an industry leader dedicated to providing customers with the best products for the best value.

We work to ensure your complete satisfaction with not just our products but our services as well. So if you have any questions or need help with installing a product, just give us a call and we’ll assist you.

Learn more about the suspension kits we offer by calling Strutmasters at 866-597-2397 or contacting us online today!

How to Fix Mercedes Suspension Issues with Air Suspension Kits

Mercedes vehicles are great luxury cars, but they’re susceptible to problems, particularly with their air suspension. However, Mercedes air suspension issues can be easy to avoid and repair.

To help you learn how, here are a few Mercedes suspension issues and some tips on how you can fix each one.

Leaking Air Struts

Mercedes owners may experience leaking air struts caused by cracks, holes, or severe damage to the rubber material of the part. Oftentimes, drivers will hear a hissing sound coming from the wheels when a leak occurs. The vehicle may also begin to sag on the side of the failing air strut.

Many claim that epoxy can seal the leak. However, this is only a temporary solution. For a long-term fix, it’s recommended that you replace the struts.

Failing Air Compressor

With time, the air compressor will lose the power to produce the pressure needed to fill the air springs. In this situation, the compressor may run continuously to ensure that the springs are properly inflated. Unfortunately, this will cause the part to fail.

Once the system notices that the air compressor is running for too long, the system will display a warning and go into safe mode to limit runtime.

As soon as the warning pops up, check the springs for damage and leaks. If there are no leaks, you’ll need to have the compressor replaced.

Blown Fuses and Bad Relays

Blown fuses and bad relays are one of the most common suspension issues for Mercedes vehicles. If the air compressor relays are malfunctioning, they won’t be able to activate the compressor system, resulting in deflated struts and a non-functioning suspension system.

Bad relays can also trigger the compressor to stay on longer than necessary. This can overinflate the struts and wear out the compressor and cause it to fail.

When the fuse in the air compressor pump blows, the compressor won’t work. To fix this, you can simply replace it. However, keep in mind that this should be a long-term solution. So if the fuse keeps blowing, take a closer look at the suspension system because this can indicate another more serious issue.

Faulty Level Sensor

The air suspension in Mercedes vehicles is equipped with level sensors that monitor the height of the car. If one of the sensors begins to malfunction, the vehicle will adjust its height to match it. This can result in raising the car too high or too low.

When these sensors become faulty, Mercedes vehicles will display a warning code. Once you see this, you’ll want to check the linkage for any issues. The electrical component of the system can also cause the problems with the level sensors, so you should take a look at that or take it to an auto shop for an inspection as well.

Suspension problems happen often in Mercedes vehicles. While some issues only require easy fixes, others will need more extensive and costly repairs. To avoid this, you’ll want to monitor the vehicle’s performance as well as the condition of the system parts to ensure that the car gets the proper maintenance to prevent problems.

You can also consider installing an air suspension conversion kit to convert the air suspension in the Mercedes to a traditional coil spring suspension. Doing this will help you to avoid all of the problems mentioned above. Plus, since coil spring suspensions are made with more durable materials, it’ll last longer and require less maintenance and repairs.

For more information about air suspension parts and air suspension conversion kits for Mercedes vehicles, call Strutmasters at 866-597-2397 or contact us online.

How Long Do Air Suspension Parts Last?

Like all automotive parts, the parts in your air suspension system won’t last forever. With time, normal wear and tear and unexpected damage will cause them to deteriorate or even fail. So how long do air suspension parts typically last?

How Long Does Each Part Last?

Each part in your air suspension system will eventually wear down, causing decreased performance and capabilities. Many believe that certain parts, like air springs, can last until about 80,000 to 100,000 miles. However, that’s not always the case. Knowing how long these parts can last will depend on your personal driving habits.

For example, if how you drive requires more effort from your air suspension (e.g., regular towing and hauling), the parts will wear down faster than a commuter just driving to work every day.

Air Suspension Parts Warning Signs

Brochure Side 2Internal damage can also affect the life span of air suspension parts. It’s best to have these parts repaired as soon as you notice the following common air suspension warning signs.

  • Active suspension warning light: Each vehicle has a different air suspension dashboard warning light, so check your owner’s manual to see what the suspension symbol for your car is. An active air suspension light is the general warning that alerts of internal damage. 
  • Loud compressor: When the system’s air compressor is having issues, the part will start to produce a loud humming noise. You’ll most likely hear this around your wheels. 
  • Air compressor is always on: When the air compressor is always on, one of two things could be happening: The compressor is malfunctioning or there’s a leak in the system. 
  • Lowered vehicle stance: A drop in height is a clear-cut sign that there’s an air leak in the system or that the air spring has blown completely.

Again, you’ll want to have these issues inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent additional damage.

A Long-Term Solution to Air Suspension Issues

Repairing your vehicle’s air suspension can help to restore the system’s parts to their pristine condition. But repairs only serve as a temporary solution as these parts will wear down and need additional services again.

However, there’s a long-term solution to these air suspension issues: installing an air suspension conversion kit. Air suspension conversion kits convert an air suspension to a traditional coil suspension.

Coil suspensions are made with more durable materials and last much longer than air suspensions. And because of that, they can help you to save on maintenance and repair costs.

To learn more about air suspension conversion kits, contact Strutmasters at 866-597-2397 or reach out to us online.

While there’s no definitive time frame as to how long air suspension parts will last, understanding your driving patterns as well as the common air suspension warning signs listed above will help you to know when it’s time to have them repaired or replaced.

And if you’re looking for a more long-term solution, consider an air suspension conversion kit from Strutmasters.

What Are Air Suspension Kits?

Air suspension kits have become popular items for gear heads looking to configure their car to their exact performance preferences.

But what exactly is an air suspension kit? Read on to find out!

Air Suspension Kit Basics

AirSuspensionReplacementPartsIn the simplest terms, air suspension kits convert non-air suspension systems in older vehicles into air suspension systems. These kits contain air springs, air lines, fittings, brackets, and mounting hardware.

These kits are easy to install and only require about two hours to get everything bolted onto your vehicle. While these are considered DIY solutions, drivers can have the parts in the kit installed at professional auto shops like the one at Strutmasters.

Air Suspension Kit Applications

Air suspension kits have many applications. Two of the most common are to enhance towing and improve performance stance.

Towing and Hauling Applications

The suspension systems in most trucks can withstand heavy loads of cargo but at a cost. When towing and hauling, the back end of a vehicle will sag, causing decreased performance, poor handling, and other performance issues.

Installing an air suspension kit can help to resolve this problem. The air springs can lift the back of the vehicle to compensate for the extra weight. This ensures that the vehicle stays level so you can experience a smooth ride while towing and hauling.

On top of that, some air suspension kits for towing and hauling come with adjustable air springs to cater to various cargo weights. Once installed, you can lift the body when towing and hauling cargo and lower it when you’re not with a simple push of a button. This way you can experience a smooth and seamless performance in any driving conditions.

Best of all, installing an air suspension kit to your truck can add additional towing capacity.

Performance Applications

Air suspension kits are available for smaller vehicles as well to enhance performance and adjust stance. Most air suspension kits lower cars to improve overall appearance as well as handling and stability.

Other kits include adjustable springs. These allow you to set the stance of the vehicle to your exact preference by inflating and deflating the springs as needed. Deflating the springs will lower the car and enhance the overall performance and style. Inflating the springs lifts the car to help you avoid obstructions on the road and prevent bottoming out.

On top of that, these performance kits are available for trucks. These can bring the body down to help eliminate bottoming out when handling cargo and improve handling and stability.

Get Your Air Suspension Kit Today

Air suspension kits are giving automotive enthusiasts an easier and more convenient way to help them experience all of the benefits of an air suspension system.

Air suspension kits are available at Strutmasters. If you’d like to learn more about how air suspension kits can enhance towing and overall performance in your vehicle, call Strutmasters at 866-998-8737 today or feel free to reach out to us online!

Hydraulic Suspension vs. Air Suspension Kits

The debate between hydraulic suspension vs. air suspensions kits has been a main talking point for automotive experts for years. Both offer a ton of advantages in vehicle performance, but which is better?

To help you decide, check out our hydraulic suspension vs. air suspension kit comparison below.

Hydraulic Suspension Kits

Hydraulic suspension kits transform your vehicle’s current suspension into a hydraulic suspension system.

A hydraulic suspension system uses four independent dampers with hydraulic fluid. During vehicle operation, each damper can be pressurized and de-pressurized simply with a few controls so you can move up or down as much as you’d like.

One of the biggest advantages of a hydraulic suspension for your vehicle is that it can produce a firmer ride. Hydraulics are also very responsive and can react quicker than most other suspension systems. Best of all, these types of systems are completely customizable. Since each shock is independent, you can adjust specific ones to certain heights.

However, there are some drawbacks to hydraulic suspension kits. For example, hydraulic suspension kits tend to be much costlier than many other suspension kits. In addition, hydraulic systems are more susceptible to fluid leaks, which could lead to vehicle damage and expensive repairs. Most importantly, they tend to produce a bumpier ride.

Air Suspension Kits

Brochure Side 2Air suspension kits convert a vehicle’s original suspension into an air suspension. These kits include the air springs, mounts, and fittings.

An air suspension system works similarly to hydraulics. However, air suspension systems use air springs and air to operate. When air springs, or air bags, are installed on your vehicle, you can inflate and deflate them based on your specific needs. Inflating the springs will raise the vehicle and deflating them will lower it.

Using an air suspension kit yields a number of great benefits. For instance, an air suspension system offers a smoother ride than hydraulics and delivers better handling. On top of that, the system can be adjusted to deliver a soft or firm ride when needed. Air suspensions are also known for their convenient tuning.

Air suspensions can improve towing and hauling performance too. Some kits contain parts that can increase the load capacity of a vehicle so you’ll be able to carry more. Plus these parts work to compensate for the extra weight so your car stays level and drives smoothly.

Most importantly, air suspension kits are more affordable than hydraulic suspension kits.

But, like hydraulics, air suspension kits have a few disadvantages. The most prominent is that an air suspension will require maintenance and repairs with time. However, these services won’t be as costly or extensive as the services needed to fix a hydraulic system.

Which Is Better?

Air suspension and hydraulics help vehicles to deliver great performance, handling, and capabilities, but which is better?

The answer depends entirely on your needs and the performance you want to experience. If you’re looking for something that’s more customizable, consider installing a hydraulic suspension kit. If you’re looking to enhance towing performance and make your drives smoother and more enjoyable, install an air suspension kit.

And if you need more help making your decision, call Strutmasters at 866-597-2397 or reach out to us online to learn more about air suspension kits today.