Maintenance and Repairs

Benefits of Air Suspension Conversion Kits

Suspension Replacement OptionsAir suspension conversion kits are an easy way for drivers to switch out their air suspension for a coilover suspension. These kits have become increasingly popular over the years, but what exactly are their benefits?

Affordability

Air suspension conversion kits are a cost-effective option for many drivers looking to make modifications to their vehicle because most of them come with aftermarket parts.

Many people believe that aftermarket parts are of a lesser quality than parts purchased at a dealership, but that’s not true. Many air suspension conversion kits consist of top-rated, high-quality aftermarket parts that provide the same, if not better, performance than dealer parts. So these kits can give you the quality parts you need at the price you want.

Durable Suspension Parts

Air suspension kits come with a rubber air bag, a compressor, and a variety of other air suspension parts. While they can help to produce an impressive performance, they’re not as durable as the parts of an air suspension conversion kit.

Air suspension conversion kits use coilovers to replace a vehicle’s air suspension parts. Coilovers are the springs that go over the struts and are made of high-quality and extremely durable metal. Their material allows them to withstand heavy loads, energy from rough road conditions, and usual wear and tear. Plus coilovers are designed to last longer than air suspension parts.

Easy to Install

Self-proclaimed gear heads will gravitate toward air suspension conversion kits because they allow them to modify their vehicles themselves. Simply put, they’re easy to install. So easy, in fact, that if you can perform a brake job yourself, you can install an air suspension conversion kit with ease.

Many kits, such as Strutmasters’ air suspension conversion kits, are designed specifically for easy installation. This means you don’t have to drill into the vehicle or make any additional modification to convert a car’s air suspension system. All you have to do is bolt each part on and you’re good to go.

Enhanced Performance

Above all, the main reason that people choose air suspension conversion kits is that they provide a better performance.

When installed, the air suspension conversion kit will help to improve handling and overall performance. On top of that, the coilovers in the kit are better able to support the weight of the vehicle and absorb the shock from bumps and dips in the road, which means they’re able to produce a smoother ride than air suspensions.

Air suspension conversion kits offer big benefits. They’re cost-effective and convenient, and they can help your car to produce a smooth and dependable performance that an air suspension just can’t beat.

Contact Strutmasters online now to see how you can experience the benefits of air suspension conversion kits for yourself.

Tips for Maintaining Your Car’s Air Suspension

Air suspension parts don’t need a lot of maintenance to maintain their condition and performance. However, there are a few things you can do to make your air suspension system last a lifetime.

To help you better take care of your vehicle, here are the top five tips for maintaining your car’s air suspension system.

Check System for Leaks

AirSuspensionReplacementPartsA helpful way to keep your air suspension running for as long as possible is to check the air lines and air bags for any leaks. Damaged lines and bags makes it harder for the springs to stay inflated. This causes the compressor to work harder and wear out faster.

Spotting air suspension leaks early can prevent additional damage to your vehicle. So if you notice an issue with the air lines or air bags, have a professional take a look at your vehicle and perform the repairs needed.

Check Air Line Connections

Every so often, take a peek at your air suspension system, specifically its air lines. You want to make sure that each air line is properly connected to the air springs and air compressor to ensure proper operation and a smooth performance.

You also want to make sure that all hoses and lines are secured to your vehicle. If they’re not, use zip ties or take it to a service center to get everything reattached.

Check the Air Springs

You also want to check every air spring’s air pressure. Air springs are recommended to maintain a pressure of 5 psi at all times. However, this number will vary from vehicle to vehicle and will depend on the specific air suspension kit installed in your car.

With that said, consult a suspension expert or read your owner’s manual to determine the proper air pressure for your particular set of air springs. Once you determine the right pressure for your air suspension, inflate or deflate each spring as needed to prevent damage and decreased performance.

Perform Visual Inspections and Clean Regularly

Performing visual inspections is key to ensuring a well-operating air suspension system. Before hauling heavy cargo or going on a big road trip, inspect each part of the system for any damage, loose connections, or other issues. If you notice anything wrong, get your vehicle repaired before towing anything or going anywhere. Failing to do this will result in extensive damage to your car.

You also want to check the system for any debris buildup around the air springs, valves, or brackets and hose them off regularly to prevent system performance issues.

Schedule Routine Service Appointments

The most important air suspension maintenance tip is to always stay on top of routine service appointments. They’ll help you to make sure that any potential issues are spotted and repaired in a timely manner.

On top of that, professionals will check the alignment of your wheels as well as the condition of your tires and adjust as needed to improve the performance of your air suspension system.

To learn more about how you can maintain your vehicle’s air suspension, contact Strutmasters online now.

Warnings Signs Your Car Needs New Struts

Struts are an integral part of every suspension system. Whether you’re driving a car with an air suspension or a coil-over, the struts will help your vehicle to produce a seamless performance.

But like all air suspension parts, the struts will wear down over time and eventually need to be replaced. To help you know when your car will need to replace its struts, we’ve provided a list of the most common strut assembly warning signs below.

Vehicle Starts to Sag

The easiest way to tell if your car needs new struts to check if your vehicle is sagging or riding lower than usual. Generally, a sagging car could mean the air bags, air compressor, or other parts in your air suspension system are failing. But it can also be a sign of deteriorating struts.

You also want to take a closer look at your front end. If it’s sagging or pulling to one side as you drive, chances are your struts may need to be replaced.

Hydraulic Fluid Leaks

Those with hydraulic suspension kits should look for any fluid leaks, as this could be a sign of damaged struts. When the struts are leaking, you’ll find hydraulic fluid at the top of that struts.

Most drivers can simply look at the struts to determine if their suspension system is suffering from a leak. However, oil can be difficult to spot. With that said, you want to take your vehicle to a professional if you think your struts are leaking. They’ll be able to determine the cause of damage and provide the necessary repairs.

Bumps are More Noticeable

If you can feel each little bump in the road, your struts may need to be replaced. When struts wear down and deteriorate, your suspension system can no longer absorb road energy as well as it should. So you will experience a bumpier ride.

You may also hear a knocking or clunking sound when the struts begin to wear down. Your suspension will emit these noises when the struts bottom out or when metal-to-metal contact occurs within the strut itself.

Uneven Tire Wear and Damage

Tires are just one of the many parts affected by damaged struts. Deteriorating struts are unable to support the weight of the vehicle, so all of the weight goes to the wheels and tires. Because of this, your tires are pushed harder into the ground, causing uneven tire wear and excessive damage.

So always check to make sure that your tires are in prime condition. Ensure that each tire has enough tread depth. If you notice that your tires are wearing out faster than usual or see any unexpected damage, get your vehicle’s suspension system and struts checked out immediately.

Whether you drive a car with an air suspension, hydraulic suspension, or electronic suspension, you need to make sure that your struts are in good working order. So consult this guide and learn how you can tell if your car needs new struts.

If you think your car needs new struts, contact Strutmasters online to learn more about our suspension products and services.

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.

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.

Pros and Cons of Car Air Bag Suspension Kits

Car air bag suspension kits have gained immense popularity with gear heads and automotive enthusiasts, but are these kits right for your vehicle and your specific needs? To find out, here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of air bag suspension kits.

Brochure Side 2Pros of Air Bag Suspension Kits

Car air bag suspension kits are one of the most popular suspension kits available, and it’s easy to see why. They’re known to deliver some of the greatest performance benefits and convenience for all types of vehicles.

Air Bag Suspension Kit Performance Benefits

Car air bag suspension kits are famous for helping vehicles to achieve a smooth performance. With durable air bags and intricate systems, air bag suspension systems can glide over bumps, while traditional coil spring suspensions tend to produce a rougher performance in the same conditions.

Car air bag suspension kits can also be adjusted to cater to your specific needs. Some kits are designed to move the vehicle up or down, depending on road conditions, to enhance overall performance. Lowering cars can improve responsiveness and promote a fuel-efficient drive. Raising the vehicle will help to avoid obstacles and bumps in the road.

Car air bag suspension kits on trucks can also be lifted to boost towing and hauling capabilities. These kits contain various parts that allow you to carry heavy cargo without sacrificing performance. When installed, air bag suspension kits raise the vehicle high enough to compensate for any extra weight. This helps to keep the vehicle level while towing and hauling and prevents rear sagging, bottoming out, and excessive pressure on your tires.

Car Air Bag Suspension Kits for Older Cars

Most older vehicles only come with traditional coil spring suspension systems, but air bag suspension kits can now add advanced air suspension parts to these types of cars.

There are many car air bag suspension kits available for older vehicles. Some simply add a few advanced air suspension parts to your car’s current suspension system to improve performance, while others can convert the original system to an air suspension to deliver optimum performance.

Cons of Car Air Bag Suspension Kits

While known for their many pros, air bag suspension kits have a few cons you should consider. The first is that air bag suspension kits are expensive for any vehicle.

The other drawbacks are related to maintenance. Air bag suspension kits have been known to fail more frequently than other suspension parts. With that said, you’ll need to schedule extra maintenance and repairs throughout the system’s life span.

Plus air bag suspension repairs and services can add up and become quite costly with time. So make sure that you consider these expenses for your automotive budget if you’re thinking about adding an air bag suspension kit to your vehicle.

Conclusion

Car air bag suspension kits aren’t perfect. They still have a few drawbacks every driver needs to consider. However, the impressive performance benefits it provides still outweigh its cons. The exceptional performance they help your car to produce makes air bag suspension kits a worthwhile automotive investment.

To learn more about air bag suspension kits, contact Strutmasters online or call 888-218-9344 today.

Symptoms of a Failing Air Suspension

At one point, all cars will need a replacement suspension kit, but every vehicle is different. Depending on your driving habits, yours may need one sooner than another car. So how do you know when to you need a replacement suspension kit?

Here are a few symptoms of a failing air suspension that can help you to determine when you need a replacement suspension kit.

Car Is Sagging

The air bag and coil spring of your car’s air suspension kit supports the vehicle’s weight and helps to cushion energy from road bumps when traveling. This helps to produce a smooth and level ride. When they start to wear down or get damaged, they’re no longer supporting the vehicle’s weight, causing it to sink down.

A sagging vehicle, even if it’s only riding low in one corner, can have a drastic effect on your car’s overall performance. With that said, it’s best to install a new air bag or spring from a suspension replacement kit as soon as you notice the car start sagging.

Compressor Keeps Running

Brochure Side 2The compressor is an air suspension part that works to ensure that all of the system’s airbags are properly inflated. Once they’ve reached the appropriate air pressure, the compressor should stop. If it continues running, you may need a replacement suspension kit.

Usually, this problem is caused by a leak in the air bag. However, a technical malfunction could also be responsible for a compressors’ continuous operation.

To find out exactly what’s causing your compressor to keep running, check the condition of your air bag or have a professional do it for you. If there’s a hole, you’ll simply need to change the air bag. If the air bag is fine, replace the compressor with a new air suspension kit.

Vehicle Produces Bumpier Ride

With time, the shock absorbers, springs, and air bags in your suspension system will wear out, preventing them from absorbing road energy as you travel. This causes you to experience a bumpier ride.

Once you notice that your vehicle is producing a rougher ride, especially when traveling through bumpy road conditions, take a look at your car’s shock absorbers. If they’re worn out or leaking, replace them right away to restore your vehicle’s smooth performance.

Car Leans or Rolls While Traveling

Rolling when braking, squatting when accelerating, or leaning to the side when cornering are the most common warning signs that you need a replacement suspension kit. Usually, these issues are caused by worn shock absorbers or struts. However, other damaged suspension parts may be to blame.

Regardless, as soon as you notice your vehicle rolling, squatting, or leaning while travelling, lift your car and inspect your suspension or have a professional take a look at it. If you see excessively worn suspension parts, then install a replacement suspension kit immediately to prevent additional damage.

Understanding common suspension warning signs is the first and most important step in diagnosing when you need a replacement suspension kit. So consult this guide and install a replacement suspension kit as soon as these issues occur to minimize vehicle damage and ensure proper performance.

To learn more about replacement suspension kits and failing air suspensions, contact Strutmasters online now.

How to Install Your Own Air Suspension Kit

Suspension Replacement OptionsInstalling air suspension kits for vehicles isn’t as difficult as you may think. With all of the parts needed included in each kit, converting your suspension into an air suspension is quick and easy.

And to help you get started, here are seven easy steps for installing your own air suspension kit:

1.    Review your kit. Before you can get started with the actual installation process, you’ll need to take a look at your air suspension kit and manual. Make sure that all of the necessary parts are included. If some are missing, call the manufacturer.

2.    Lift your car and remove the wheels. Using a hoist or jack stands, raise your car high enough off the ground so you can work comfortably. Then remove the wheels.

3.    Build the air spring assembly. Check your kit’s manual to see if you need to build an air spring assembly. If not, proceed to Step 4.

Depending on the air suspension kit you choose, you may have to build an air spring assembly. To create an air spring assembly, simply place the upper and lower mounting brackets over the air spring and secure the bolts and nuts included.

4.    Install assembly or springs. After that, you can start installing the air spring assembly or air springs on your vehicle. Those with air spring assemblies can secure the part to the frame by following the directions in the kit’s manual.

Those installing an air spring cylinder must remove the cap and compress the object before installing. Once the air spring cylinder is flat, replace the cap to help it retain its shape. Next, insert the part into your car’s coil spring. Then attach the hose to the air spring cylinder using the directions in your kit’s manual.

5.    Connect air lines to Schrader valve. Once the air spring parts are properly installed, connect the air line to the Schrader valve included in the kit and mount it to the car away from moving parts as well as sharp and hot objects. You can also connect the air line to an onboard compressor system if installed.

6.    Inspect and inflate the springs. Slowly inflate the springs to the specifications stated in the instruction manual. During this time, you should also check for leaks and any other issues.

7.    Adjust and Drive. If there are no leaks in the system, then you’re ready to adjust the air spring to your desired height ride and drive off.

As you can see, installing your own air suspension kit is easy when you follow the steps above. Just make sure that you consult your kit’s instruction manual throughout the process to ensure that everything is installed properly.

Also, if you need help or want more information about how to install your own air suspension system, call Strutmasters at 888-218-9344 or contact us online today.