Posted on: 29 June 2021Share
Today, many heavy-duty trucks feature an air suspension system, as it is often felt to be one of the most effective and efficient setups for functional and safe operation. Yet, these systems can be, by their very nature, complex, and you need to keep an eye on many of the component parts to ensure that they are always in first-class condition. If you're unfamiliar with the system, what do you need to bear in mind?
How the System Works
In general terms, an air suspension system relies on inflatable bags rather than conventional coiled or leaf springs. When inflated, these bags have a certain amount of free play, so they are very efficient when it comes to absorbing and then dampening any rebound.
Sometimes, these airbags are built into the shock absorber, especially on the truck's rear, where they may help with levelling out. When things get really complex, manufacturers may include a steel spring of some kind in addition to an airbag.
Checking for Leaks
The biggest risk with this type of approach is a leak. This can manifest anywhere along the system, from the bag itself through the lines to the compressor. You need to try and fix even the smallest leak, as otherwise, the compressor will need to work overtime to achieve the same end result. When this happens, it will eventually wear out and need to be replaced, together with the dryer that helps to remove moisture from the entire system.
Looking at the Dryer
The dryer will need some additional care and attention, as it is a critical part of the process. After all, when the air is compressed, any water vapour will be condensed into a liquid. Most dryers have moisture-absorbent material within that can hold most of this water in place and not allow it to pass through the system to cause issues. But if it is not properly contained, it can cause corrosion and, in cold environments, may potentially freeze.
From time to time, you will need to take the vehicle in for inspection so that it can be properly serviced. At that time, the mechanic will have a closer look at the dryer and will replace the silica gel (or other material) so that the system can once again manage that water. They will also use a special tool to check for any leaks, whether in the air springs themselves or the pipes. They can then fix them quite easily and before any significant damage appears elsewhere.
If you want to maintain your vehicle's ride height, make sure everything is aligned and not prone to failure, book your vehicle in for a truck suspension service as soon as possible.