Diagnosing a Leaky Air Suspension | How, Why, & When
If your car is outfitted with an air suspension, you’ll want to know how to tell if it’s leaking. Diagnosing a leak early on can help prevent more major problems in the future.
Why a leaky air suspension matters
With an air suspension, all components of the suspension are powered by, you guessed it, air. Any leak, even minor, can prevent the suspension from functioning properly. Not only can this disable your vehicle in serious instances, but it’s dangerous, and can keep you from being able to drive safely.
How your air suspension works
The suspension of your car is an integral part to controlling your vehicle. Not only does it aid in creating a smoother and more comfortable ride, it also helps to keep your car on the ground when taking a turn, and helps you stop when you need to. An air suspension is slightly different from a traditional suspension, however.
In an air suspension system, inflatable bags are located at each wheelbase. These airbags can fatigue, especially in colder climates. It’s also possible that road debris may cause a puncture to the bags—another cause for a leaky system.
There is an air compressor that generates air, and inflates each bag in order to lift the vehicle from its chassis, and provide stability while you drive. Pneumatic lines and fittings that run from the compressor to the airbags can corrode over time. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to check your system for leaks from time to time.
How a leaky air suspension affects your car
If there are any leaks within this system, it can lead to a multitude of problems. First and foremost, it can be a safety hazard. If your system isn’t being pressurized or inflated properly, it can hinder your ability to steer or even stop.
A leaky air suspension can also mean that the on-board compressor is working overtime, and can cause problems or damage to the compressor. As the compressor is the source of air for the system, a damaged compressor can render the vehicle inoperable.
Luckily, leaks in an air suspension system can be diagnosed fairly easily, and right in your own driveway.
Is your air suspension leaking?
Figuring out if you have a leak in your air suspension is important. Not only will it keep you safe, but it’s also an easy way to proactively prevent any further damage to your system, which can leave you with some costly repairs.
How to diagnose a leaky air suspension
Generally, you will be able to tell if you have a leak in your air suspension simply by looking at your vehicle. If it looks as though it may be sagging on one end or the other, chances are, there is a leak on that end of the vehicle. While it’s good to notice a general leak, there are also some methods of pinpointing where the leak is coming from.
The bounce test
The bounce test is a good method to determine which corner of your car the leak may be coming from. To start, pick a corner of your car which you think may have an issue. Push down forcefully on the bumper, and observe as it moves back into place. If your suspension is healthy in that corner, the bumper should pop back into place fairly quickly, and steady itself easily. If you have a problem, however, it may take a long time to settle back into place, and may bounce around before settling fully.
Listening for strange sounds
Generally, a leaking air suspension will produce some strange noises. While a faulty compressor will make whining or grinding sounds, a leak in a pneumatic line or airbag will produce a hissing sound. If the sound is faint and distant, you probably have a small leak. However, if it’s very noticeable, you may have a larger puncture.
The soapy water method
This method is accurate, inexpensive, and uses supplies that you already have. To perform an inspection for leaks using soapy water, just mix soap and water into a spray bottle. Spray down the airbags liberally. Look to see if the solution bubbles up, as it is a telltale sign of leaks. Repeat this method on your pneumatic lines if you suspect the problem may be there.
An OBDII Scanner is good to have on hand for any issue that may come up with your car. Any time you have a warning indication illuminated in your car, the OBDII scanner will generate a code so that you can figure out the problem more precisely. This is especially good for problems with an air suspension, as it can help you narrow down potential issues.
So you think you may have a leak in your air suspension
If you think you have a leak in your air suspension, you’ll want to get it looked at. Waiting to get an issue fixed with your air suspension can cause further damage to the system. However, getting your air suspension repaired can be expensive, especially if you take your car to get serviced at the dealer.
If you need an airbag replaced, for example, this can cost upwards of $1,000 once you include parts and labor. Even if you are able to find less expensive aftermarket parts, the labor involved is just as intensive. Air suspensions are a complex and delicate system.
Regardless of where you go to get your air suspension repaired, it’s going to be expensive. So why not eliminate your air suspension problems for good?
A better method for a leaky air suspension
By replacing your air suspension with a traditional coilover suspension, you can say goodbye to any leaks in your suspension forever. At Strutmasters, we have a team of engineers who have devoted countless hours to develop coilover suspension replacement kits.
The best part? It’s going to cost you a fraction of what repairing or replacing your air suspension will cost you.
Rather than a sensitive and delicate system with a slew of complicated components, a Strutmasters replacement kit allows your vehicle to sit on heavy duty, made in the USA steel springs and struts.
With Strutmasters’ patented GlideRide technology, we’re sure that you won’t regret making the change and switching out your suspension. Our engineers have spent countless hours adjusting our cold-wound springs to replicate your car’s original ride and feel.
A simple solution, these kits have also been designed to be easy to install. With only a couple of bolts to worry about, installing one of our kits is much easier than what it would take with an air suspension. In fact, it’s even possible to install one of our kits yourself. With just a few common tools, a sturdy car jack, and a couple of hours, you can install one of our kits at home.
However, if you prefer to go to your mechanic, these easy to install kits mean a lot less time for your mechanic as well. That means less time in the shop, and a much less expensive repair bill.
Fix your air suspension forever with Strutmasters parts
If you’re ready to solve your air suspension problems, shop for air suspension conversion kits today. We’ve got our suspension experts on standby, ready to help you with anything you need. We can help you by phone at 866-239-4896, or in the online chat.
We stand behind the quality of our products, and we want you to have the same confidence. Each kit comes with a one-year limited warranty, and a limited lifetime warranty as well.
Don’t let a leaky air suspension leave you feeling deflated. Convert your suspension today.
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