Vehicle Air Suspension
Air suspension uses a compressor, or air pump, in order to provide air for air bags, which provide cushioning, while the vehicle is operating. Installed in the vehicle, is an electric, or engine driven compressor, which inflates the bags with air. Air suspension is most commonly found on commercial vehicles, such as busses, and semi trucks. Air suspension provides comfort for the vehicle's passenger's, unlike metal springs which may "bottom out" due to the vehicle's weight.
The air bags, are placed in between the chassis and the axles. As the bags fill with air, the chassis is lifted off the axle, which creates cushion. One advantage of air suspension, is that the vehicle's height can be adjusted, by filling up the air bags with more air to raise the vehicle, or releasing air from the bags to lower it. This air system is ideal for all-terrain vehicles, which have a switch used for adding, and releasing air, in the suspension, based on the terrain the vehicle is travelling on. Air suspension is also used on some high performance cars, when the vehicle needs to be more aerodynamic at high speeds, air can be released in order to lower the car, as speeds decrease, the bags fill up and raise the car back to its original form. Air suspension is not factory installed, therefore, making it a popular aftermarket accessory. When the engine is turned off on a vehicle with air suspension, the vehicle may lower, due to the decrease in pressure in the air bags, and lack of pressurization in the compressor.
Air suspensions are typically available in kits. Included in the kit, are the air bags, mounts, bolts, fittings, tubes, and sometimes the compressor. Installation of air suspension is convenient, and requires being bolted on to the vehicle. Installing an air suspension kit is recommended, versus buying the parts separately. When purchased as a kit, it is more likely for the vehicle to sit level, and the chance of the steering being affected, is reduced.
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