Hydraulic Suspension vs. Car Air Bag Suspension Kits

Hydraulic suspension and car air bag suspension kits are two of the most popular suspension systems around. Both can improve performance for many vehicles, but which is best?

To discover the right suspension kit for you, check out our in-depth hydraulic suspension vs. car air bag suspension kits comparison below.

About Hydraulic Suspension Kits

This type of suspension features four independent dampers that contain hydraulic fluid. As you travel, a hydraulic pump pressurizes each damper to regulate your vehicle’s up and down movements. This helps to keep your car stable and riding smoothly when traveling across rough terrain and weather conditions.

Hydraulic suspension kits have the advantage of being completely customizable. Because every damper included in the kit is independent, drivers can adjust each one separately. Simply put, you’ll be able to control how high or low each one can go.

On top of that, some hydraulic suspension can modify each damper automatically. Using advanced sensors, these systems monitor the road conditions and relay that information back to an onboard computer. If the stiffness of the dampers or the ride height needs to be adjusted, the system will turn on a hydraulic pump to pressurize the fluid the dampers to cater to the terrain. This ensures a smooth ride and great handling.

Hydraulic suspension kits aren’t perfect though. Those considering installing one for their vehicle must understand that there are a few disadvantages to this particular suspension kit. For instance, replacing parts and maintaining hydraulic suspension can be quite expensive. On top of that, they can be less responsive than other suspension kits.

About Car Air Bag Suspension Kits

Like a hydraulic system, a car air bag suspension helps to promote a smooth ride. However, they do it in a different way. Instead of using fluid and dampers, car air bag suspension kits use durable rubber air bags to enhance performance. These bags are installed at each wheel and inflated by a compressor.

In addition, car air bag suspension kits aren’t fully automatic. This means that many kits can’t instantly adjust the air bags to adapt to changing road conditions. However, car air bag suspension kits offer something hydraulic kits don’t: enhanced load capabilities.

Most car air bag suspension kits are designed to adjust the ride height to improve performance when towing and hauling heavy objects or additional passengers. When installed, drivers can push a button to raise or lower the vehicle. Raising the vehicle when carrying cargo will accommodate the extra weight and keep the car level when traveling. This will also prevent bottoming out and rear end sagging. Lowering the car will enhance aerodynamic and performance.

Choosing the Right Suspension Kit

Both a hydraulic suspension and a car bag suspension kit provide great performance benefits. With that said, the best suspension kit will depend your specific needs. Those who regularly tow heavy items can choose a car air bag suspension kit for stability. Drivers looking to ensure a great performance in any condition can install a hydraulic suspension kit for improved handling.

For more information about hydraulic suspension and car air bag suspension kits, contact Strutmasters online now.

Tips for Buying Replacement Suspension Parts

Suspension Replacement OptionsBuying replacement suspension parts for repairs or upgrades isn’t easy. There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind to ensure that you choose the right parts for your car. Fortunately, we’ve provided tips for buying replacement suspension parts to make your shopping experience easier and more convenient.

Choose Parts for Your Specific Cars

While all replacement suspension parts help your car to produce a smooth ride, they’re not a one-size-fits-all type of part. Every vehicle type needs specific parts to perform properly. So do some research and check your owner’s manual or talk to a suspension expert to understand which parts work best for your vehicle.

The same tip goes for those looking to upgrade their suspension system. Each part must be compatible with your particular vehicle whether you’re upgrading to an air suspension kit or coilover.

Keep Your Driving Needs in Mind

Replacement suspension parts are also designed for specific driving needs. For example, some struts and shocks are meant just for off-roading and others are meant for improving handling and aerodynamics. So before you buy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you be traveling on rough terrain often?
  • Will you need to tow heavy loads on a regular basis?
  • Are you looking to simply improve handling and cornering performance?

These questions will help you determine the right replacement suspension part for your driving patterns so you can experience the best performance.

Consider OEM vs. Aftermarket

The debate between OEM and aftermarket parts is common when choosing replacement suspension parts. However, there’s really no right or wrong choice, as the best option for any driver will depend on your preferences and budget.

OEM parts are made by the manufacturer of your vehicle and specifically designed to fit your vehicle, so you can trust that they’ll work perfectly. However, OEM parts can be costly.

Aftermarket replacement suspension parts are less expensive, but using them can be like a lottery. Since these parts are more affordable, they can also be lower in quality. This means they’re more likely to break down and deteriorate than high-quality OEM parts. But a few companies do offer dependable aftermarket suspension parts at good price points.

Always Choose Quality Over Quantity

You want to make sure that the replacement suspension parts you install for your vehicle will maintain its performance and last for years to come, so always choose quality over quantity.

The best way to make sure that you get a high-quality part is to buy from company that has a reliable reputation for creating great parts. For example, buying from your vehicle’s manufacturer is a good way to ensure quality. However, aftermarket companies can provide great parts as well.

Aftermarket parts can be unreliable, but companies like Strutmasters understand the importance of quality and affordability. These brands provide the high-quality replacement suspension parts at lower costs to ensure that you get the long-lasting performance you need without breaking the bank.

Contact Strutmasters for more tips on buying replacement suspension parts.

Air Suspension Kits vs. Coilover Suspension

Air suspension kits and coilovers are two of the most popular suspension kits available. They’re both designed to help your car drive smoothly and efficiently, but which is right for you?

Both air suspension kits and coilovers have their own pros and cons. So to help you choose the right suspension kit, check out the guide below.

Air Suspension Kits

brochure-sideAir suspension systems are made up of air springs or air bags located at each wheel of the vehicle. An onboard electric air compressor inflates each bag until they lift your vehicle to your desired ride height.

Installing an air suspension kit for your vehicle will present a number of great benefits. For example, air suspension kits are known to deliver a smoother performance that other suspensions. This is because the air springs can absorb road energy more effectively.

Air suspension kits are also adjustable. This means you’ll be able to adjust the height and the stiffness of the system to your exact preferences. With the simple push of a button, the compressor can inflate or deflate each air spring as needed to help your car produce the exact performance you want.

Best of all, air suspension kits can improve carrying capabilities. When your vehicle is lifted, the air springs can support any extra weight in the cargo area and passenger area. So as you travel, your car stays level, which reduces the risk of bottoming out, rear end sag, and excessive tire wear and tear.

While air suspension kits help your car achieve a great performance, there are a few drawbacks you should consider. For example, air suspension parts deteriorate and break down faster than others.

Coilover Suspension Kits

Coilover suspension kits use traditional coil springs to adjust the height of your vehicle. Some kits will raise your car while others can lower its stance for improved performance. They’ll also work to support your vehicle to enhances its load and towing capacities.

However, unlike air suspension kits, coilover kits only use springs to help your car achieve a smooth performance. With that said, coilovers aren’t as versatile as air suspension kits. You can switch out the coils to experience a softer or firmer performance or a different ride height, but it won’t be as easy as pushing a button.

Fortunately, coilover suspension kits do have some exclusive benefits. For example, they’re known to be more durable than air suspension kits. This means they’ll be able to withstand wear and tear more and last longer than air suspension parts.

Choosing Your Suspension Kit

Both an air suspension kit and a coilover suspension kit deliver a great performance for most cars. With that said, choosing one for your vehicle will depend on your specific needs.

So if you’re looking for a convenient way to adjust the stiffness and ride height of your car, consider an air suspension kit. If you want something that’s durable and dependable, install a coilover suspension kit.

Contact Strutmasters online for more information about air suspension kits vs. coilover suspension kits.

Top 5 Cars for Teen Drivers

Finding a safe, dependable, and fuel-efficient car for teen drivers used to be a difficult task, but not anymore. With new environment regulations and advanced technologies, there’s no car on the market today that’s not safe, dependable, or efficient.

So which is the best for your teen? To help you find out, here’s a list of the top five cars for new teen drivers.

Subaru Impreza

2016-subaru-imprezaThe Subaru Impreza has always been a top choice for new teen drivers. Coming from a brand that’s known for dependability, the Impreza is one of the most reliable cars any teen could have. In fact, the latest model year received top honors from several safety organizations. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick+, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating.

On top of that, it’s one of the only teen-friendly vehicles that comes standard with all-wheel drive to ensure safety, stability, and control should they need to travel in adverse road conditions.

And for added safety, the Impreza offers the available EyeSight safety system, a suite of driver assist technologies that display warnings and automatically apply the brakes to help them avoid a collision.

Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevy Malibu also received top honors from both the IIHS and the NHTSA and comes equipped with advanced optional safety technologies. However, safety features and awards aren’t the only things that make the Malibu a top car for new teen drivers.

With the Malibu’s available Teen Driver feature, parents can monitor their teen’s driving habits. This silences the radio when seat belts aren’t fastened and automatically enables the safety features when teens are behind the wheel. It can also let parents set volume limits, speed limits, and speeding alerts.

Best of all, Teen Driver relays how their teens drove in the form of a digital report card. It’ll show parents how many times certain safety features were used.

Hyundai Sonata

2016-hyundai-sonataThe Hyundai Sonata may not be as flashy as many of its competitors, but that’s exactly why it’s a great car for new teen drivers. It only comes standard with the necessary safety features and technologies, so there are fewer distractions for teens on the wheel. Of course, more innovative amenities are available for certain trims if you want more technologies.

Plus it’s an affordable first-time car. Starting at just over $22,000, the Hyundai Sonata is a great option for parents looking to buy a dependable new car for their teens without breaking the bank.

And the Sonata was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and received a 5-Star Crash Safety Rating from the NHTSA.

Toyota Prius

If fuel efficiency is a must for your teen’s first car, then consider the Toyota Prius. Known to be the country’s best selling hybrid, this vehicle provides a stable performance and more miles to the gallon than most vehicles on the market. It comes with advanced performance features that help it achieve up to an EPA-estimated 54 mpg highway.

And to keep your mind at ease, the Prius offers a slew of safety technologies, including the Toyota Safety Sense P. This active safety package adds advanced amenities like the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection to help teen drivers pay more attention to their surroundings and avoid accidents.

Nissan Rogue

Like the vehicles listed above, the Nissan Rogue will appeal to both new teen drivers and their parents. Teens will love the Rogue for its selection of advanced convenience and entertainment technologies. They’ll also love it because of its spacious interior perfect for carpooling and hauling around their college gear on move in day.

Parents of new teen drivers will like the Rogue for its capabilities and dependability. It features the available Intuitive All-Wheel Drive system as well as standard performance stability features to ensure teens maintain control and safety when traveling through adverse road conditions. Parents will also love the fact that it’s fuel efficient and includes safety technologies like Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, and Moving Object Detection.

Check out the Strutmasters blog for more industry tips and information.

How Does Electronic Suspension Work?

Electronic suspensions are the most advanced suspension systems available. In the simplest terms, electronic suspensions adjust the feel of the suspension and your vehicle’s ride height to cater to changing road conditions with ease. But how exactly do they work?

Read on to find out.

Basics of Electronic Suspensions

Electronic suspension is essentially a computer-controlled system that can adjust the ride characteristics and performance of your vehicle. Unlike air suspensions, an electronic suspension modifies the shocks and/or struts electronically to ensure a smooth ride. Some electronic suspensions are also designed to automatically adapt to changing road conditions for improved handling in all sorts of terrain.

How Do Electronic Suspensions Work?

There are two types of electronic suspensions: adaptive and active. Each one works in a different way to improve performance.

Adaptive Electronic Suspensions

An adaptive electronic suspension is responsible for controlling the shock absorbers and their dampening performance. Simply put, they adjust the shocks as needed to deliver a smooth driving experience.

Adaptive suspensions can adjust the shocks using a solenoid and valve that’s placed on the strut. The solenoid connects to a computer in the system and monitors the road conditions. When stiffness and overall suspension performance need to be adjusted, the solenoid communicates this information to the system. Then it will activate the valves to open and close as needed to regulate the amount of hydraulic fluid going into the shocks.

An adaptive suspension may also use a magneto damper, or a damper filled with fluid that contains metal particles. An electromagnet controls these little pieces of metal to adjust the pressure and stiffness in each damper.

Active Electronic Suspensions

An active electronic suspension changes the ride height for your vehicle to improve performance and towing capabilities. This type of electronic suspension uses hydraulics or electromagnets to operate.

Active suspensions that adjust hydraulically use sensors to monitor the vehicle’s movement and ride height. When performance or ride height needs to be regulated, the system activates a hydraulic pump that pressurizes the liquid in the shocks. This will configure the stiffness of the suspension as well as the height of the vehicle to your specific preferences.

Electromagnetically controlled active suspensions work similarly to hydraulically controlled systems. The only difference is that these systems use electromagnet motors instead of pumps to adjust a car’s ride height. This type of active electronic suspension is known to respond faster and use less power than hydraulics.

Which Type of Electronic Suspension is Right for You?

Both types of electronic suspensions can improve performance but in different ways. If you’re looking for something to enhance your driving experience during your commutes, consider an adaptive electronic suspension. Its ability to monitor the road and automatically adjust the stiffness of the shocks will allow you to experience a smooth ride in most road conditions.

Those looking to adjust vehicle height for towing or performance purposes should consider installing an active electronic suspension kit. These allow you to raise or lower your vehicle will help you tow more and ensure a smooth ride.

But regardless of which type of electronic suspension you choose, you’re sure to get a great performance.

To learn more about electronic suspensions for your vehicle, contact Strutmasters online now.

How Do Air Suspension Kits Work

Air suspension kits have become a go-to product for many gear heads and automotive enthusiasts, and it’s easy to see why. These kits are designed to improve capabilities and ensure a smoother, more enjoyable performance for all types of vehicles.

But how exactly do air suspension kits work?

brochure-sideWhat are Air Suspension Kits?

Air suspension kits include all of the items needed to convert coil suspensions into air suspensions. There’s a different kit for every application. For instance, there are kits with air suspension parts specifically designed just to configure the ride height for performance. There are also kits with parts designed just to enhance towing and hauling capabilities.

When properly installed, air suspension kits will help a vehicle to tow and carry more cargo and drive more smoothly.

How Air Suspension Kits Work

Air suspension kits let the driver adjust the height of their vehicle to their exact specifications to improve performance or capabilities. Each kit comes with a variety of air suspension parts, like air springs and an air compressor.

Air springs are essentially air bags made of durable textile rubber. They’re installed at each corner of the car and designed to support the vehicle and cushion shock to ensure a smooth ride. The air springs are connected to the air compressor through air lines. The air compressor uses pressurized air to inflate each bag until your car is at the height you want.

Air suspension kits may also come with advanced sensors. These monitor the ride height and send the information to the onboard compressor system. If the sensors see the car is riding too low or too high, the system will inflate or deflate the bags automatically. Other air suspension kits also allow you to adjust the height manually with a push of a button.

Performance Capabilities with Air Suspension Kits

In addition to improved overall performance, air suspension kits are often used to increase load capacities for trucks.

Air suspension kits designed for towing work the same way as other kits. The air compressor inflates air springs to get your vehicle to the desired height. However, the rear air bags may inflate more than the others. This causes the back end of the car to be raised higher.

The air bags will provide better support for your truck when hauling heavy cargo. Plus the additional height will compensate for the extra weight added to the back of your car. This will ensure that your truck stays level while traveling to avoid bottoming out and rear end sag.

Air suspension kits are designed to provide a number of performance benefits for many types of vehicles. So if you’re interested in learning how air suspension kits work for your car, call Strutmasters at 888-218-9344 or contact us online today.

Top 5 Ways to Save Gas

We all know that air suspension kits can help to boost a vehicle’s fuel economy. But with efficiency becoming more of a concern for many drivers, simply installing air suspension parts to your vehicle won’t be enough to ensure an eco-friendly performance.

Fortunately, these five tips can help you save gas during your travels.

Drive with Care

Speeding, sudden braking, and sudden acceleration can all lead to decreased fuel economy. In fact, the US Department of Energy reports that aggressive driving reduces gas mileage by about 5% when driving in towns and by 33% at highway speeds.

To uphold an efficient performance, drive with care. This means maintaining a steady speed and laying off the gas and brake pedals. Instead of speeding from a stop or slamming the brakes, let your car coast for a second before stepping on the pedals.

Keep Your Windows Up

There’s been some debate about whether using your car’s air conditioning saves more fuel than keeping the windows down. However, it has been proven that using the AC does help to increase efficiency. That’s because keeping your windows up when driving reduces drag and the car’s wind resistance, which promotes a more aerodynamic performance.

However, the speed at which drag negatively affects a car can differ from vehicle to vehicle. So a good rule of thumb to follow is to keep your windows down when driving at slower speeds and turn your AC on when traveling on the highway.

Get the Junk Out of Your Trunk

The US Department of Energy states that carrying excessive amounts of cargo results in lower fuel economy. Those traveling with cargo on the roof can experience as much as 17% less fuel efficiency on the highway. Those carrying cargo in their trunk can bring down your fuel economy by 1%.

Installing an air suspension kit when you need to haul heavy items can help solve this issue. However, if you don’t need to tow or haul anything, clean out your car and get rid of the junk in your trunk. Removing the excess weight with help your vehicle to drive smoothly and more efficiently.

Ensure Proper Tire Inflation

Tire pressure plays a big role in fuel economy. Over- or underinflating your tires can significantly reduce gas mileage. On top of that, improperly inflated tires can lead to decreased traction, stability, and overall performance.

So make sure that your tires are always at the right air pressure. This will not only improve fuel economy by up to 3% but will also help to maintain the condition of your tires and extend their longevity.

Schedule Routine Service Appointments

Most importantly, you want to make sure that you schedule routine service appointments. All services, including oil changes, engine tune-ups, and air filter replacements, can help you to get better gas mileage.

Performance issues like sludge and blocked airways can cause your engine to work harder and burn more fuel in an effort to ensure proper performance. But with routine services, you avoid these issues so your car runs smoothly and more efficiently.

Air suspension kits may help with fuel economy and performance, but if you’re really looking to save gas, you’ll need to follow this helpful tips as well.

For more automotive tips, check out Strutmasters’ blog.

How Electronic Suspensions Work and Why They Fail

Car enthusiasts in the United States got their first taste of electronically controlled shocks and struts in the early 1980s when Japanese automakers used the technology on select vehicles to deliver a sportier ride. Since then, just about every major vehicle manufacturer has dabbled at some point in the business of offering vehicles with a form of electronic suspension.

AirSuspensionReplacementPartsThese electronic suspension systems have evolved to the point where computers in today’s vehicles are capable of making dozens of changes to suspension dampening and handling characteristics in a fraction of a second. The latest technology delivers an amazing driving experience, but it comes with a price.

Vehicles equipped with electronically controlled suspensions cost thousands more. And there’s the high cost of maintenance to deal with down the road. In many cases, the vehicle’s unsuspecting second or third owners are left to clean up an expensive mess when these systems wear out and need to be replaced. Repairs or the replacement of higher-end electronic suspension systems can reach $8,000 with original equipment parts and labor costs.

Despite a wide variety of names and marketing campaigns, all of these systems can be separated into two major categories: adaptive and fully active.

Adaptive or semi-active systems are the most basic and economical type of electronic suspension. An electronic connection to the strut or shock tells a solenoid valve inside the unit to open or close, altering the flow of its hydraulic fluid. This operation controls the rebound and compression rate of the shock or strut, delivering a softer or firmer ride on demand.

Fully active systems are vastly more complicated and more expensive to replace. These systems use more advanced computers and vehicle sensors, incorporating the use of magnetically charged metal particles inside the struts or shocks. When an electric current controlled by the computer system is sent through the strut at a higher rate, it causes the metal particles to increase the viscosity of the hydraulic fluid inside the strut or shock, thus producing a firmer or stiffer ride. When the electric current subsides, the metal particles dissipate inside the shock or strut, thus making the fluid flow easier and ride softer.

What Causes These Systems to Fail?

Normal wear and tear: The rubber seals on the struts or shocks eventually wear out, allowing the hydraulic fluid to leak out. Little to no fluid renders the shocks or struts with no ability to dampen or control the bumps in the road. Your bouncy ride slowly gets worse as you are essentially riding on the 1-inch rubber bump stop inside the shocks or struts.

Electronics fail: Heat from the engine compartment and exposure to the elements eventually kill the electronic devices that manipulate the solenoid valves or magnetic particles inside the struts and shocks. Often, the shocks or struts lock into the firmest settings. Drivers slowly get used to the harsh ride quality, and the only sure sign of failure in this case may be a suspension warning light.

So What Are Your Choices?

Suspension Replacement OptionsOption 1: You can get rid of the vehicle. But with a harsh ride quality and a suspension warning light, don’t expect to get what the vehicle is truly worth. Check your budget carefully to determine if you can really afford to take on another monthly vehicle payment. Unless the vehicle has other major repairs needed, this may not be your best option.

Option 2: You can attempt to repair the electronic 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 electronically controlled shocks or struts with a passive suspension that most vehicles have anyway. A passive suspension relies solely on conventional shocks and struts and doesn’t use complicated and expensive electronics. This is a permanent solution that costs about 20% of the price of a complete repair or replacement with original equipment from 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 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.

In summary: Electronic suspension systems are becoming more prevalent in new vehicles. All of these systems have a 100% failure rate. They’re very expensive to repair or replace with original equipment parts.

It’s wise to consider all of your options carefully when dealing with this type of suspension repair. Contact us today for more information!

 

Common Chevrolet Suspension Issues

AirSuspensionReplacementPartsSuspension issues are common in Chevrolet vehicles regardless of whether they use air suspension parts, hydraulic suspension parts, or coil spring suspension parts. Fixing these issues is easy, but you have to understand exactly what suspension issues your Chevy may be suffering from.

To help you do just that, here’s a list of some common Chevrolet suspension issues you need to look out for.

Damaged Coils and Air Bags

Damaged coils or air bags on your particular Chevy model are one of the most common suspension problems you can experience.

Chevrolet models using a traditional spring suspension can frequently sag or break, especially when it tries to support excessive weight or force. This reduces the system’s ability to ensure a smooth performance and support cargo loads. Damaged air bags in vehicles with air suspension parts is also caused by excessive weight or force.

If your Chevy is suffering from damaged coils or air bags, you’ll notice that one corner of the vehicle may sag where the broken part is located.

Worn-Out or Leaking Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers, or dampers, will wear out with time. Once they do, your vehicle will deliver a bumpier performance than usual. For instance, if you go over a bump with a worn-out suspension part, the car may bounce and shake. This is because the shock absorbers are no longer able to cushion road energy and keep the tires on the ground.

Leaks are also common in shock absorbers. A lack of fluid in the dampers will cause the vehicle to produce a rough performance as well.

Bent or Broken Control Arms

The control arms connect the wheels to the frame of the suspension system. They’re also the parts that link steering with the wheels. With time, these arms can bend and even break.

As soon as this happens, ride quality and handling performance will decrease. Your tires will also begin to wear out faster. These symptoms will be accompanied by a number of warning signs, including clunking and rattling noises under the vehicle while traveling.

Poor Steering Performance

Poor steering performance for your Chevy can stem from multiple issues. If your suspension is causing it, then the ball joints are most likely damaged and need to be replaced.

Ball joints are designed to absorb up-and-down movement when traveling, and they also rotate with the system as you turn the steering wheel. If they need to be replaced, you’ll hear squeaking or creaking as you turn the wheel. You may also notice that some suspension parts are being dragged on the ground when the ball joints break.

Suspension Replacement OptionsHow to Fix Chevrolet Suspension Issues

There are several ways to fix these common Chevrolet suspension issues. Those who are familiar with the inner workings of their vehicle can try to repair the damaged parts. However, if the damage is excessive, you may need to replace certain parts and install a new suspension kit.

Chevrolet suspension issues are easy to diagnose and repair when you know the details of the problem. So if you suspect that your vehicle is suffering from suspension issues, be sure to consult this guide to determine the exact problem.

For more information about Chevrolet suspension issues and how to fix them, contact Strutmasters today.