Most heavy-duty trucks on the road today are fitted with an air suspension system, as this has several advantages over a traditional set-up. It'll improve the vehicle's ride height, make it less unstable when empty and allow for better cornering speeds during everyday use. However, these systems can be vulnerable to damage and must be overhauled according to a strict schedule if problems are to be avoided. So if you encounter some issues with the air suspension system on your truck, what could be going wrong?
How It Works
On a vehicle such as this, airbags replace the typical shock absorber and metal spring system found on a car. Each bag must be inflated correctly with compressed air to make sure that the vehicle is adequately supported.
The most critical component in the airbag system is the compressor. It is run by a separate motor, and a sequence of pipes connect all the individual parts together. If you suspect problems with your air suspension system, this is probably the first place to look.
Is one side or even one corner of your vehicle slightly lower than all the rest? This is a clear sign that you have a problem with the compressor or a specific airbag. When the compressor starts to wear out, it may not be able to pressurise correctly, and one (or more) of the bags may fail to inflate.
You may also notice a grinding noise that seems to come from below the driver's cab. This could be a sign that the compressor motor is on its way out. Eventually, the compressor will fail to activate at all, and this is a potentially dangerous situation if it happens when the vehicle is in motion.
Other Potential Problems
Remember that the compressor is attached to each airbag (and the other ancillaries) through a network of hoses. These are vulnerable to wear and tear, and you should check them regularly in any case. Look for leaks during a regular service inspection as well. If you're lucky, the compressor and airbags may be perfectly okay, but you may simply need to replace a leaky valve or hose.
Looking for Problems
Before you set out on any journey, have a look at the vehicle from every angle. If the engine is running and the compressor operational, then the ride height should be even all-around. If not, or if you suspect any other issues with your air suspension system, take the vehicle in for a service as soon as possible. A truck suspension service can provide further information.
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