We have a lot of customers that come to us requesting an air suspension. And, as a result, we sell a ton of kits. But sometimes someone will walk through the door and ask a lot of questions about air suspensions. It's clear they want to bag their ride, but they're not sure if it's the best idea.
For that customer, we have this blog post. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of air suspension systems.
The benefits are real.
Let's talk up the good side first. If you want to lower your vehicle and still have a way to lift it back up, then airbags are your best option. Yes, there are coilovers — and they're fantastic — but they don't allow you to raise and lower your vehicle quickly. And hydraulics are great, but most people don't want to deal with the maintenance. Airbags fill that need.
Airbags ride great, too. It's very rare that you get a bagged vehicle that doesn't ride well, and usually that was done by design for improved handling or something similar. You can tweak and tune the suspension however you like with different shocks, and with automatic height adjustment systems like Accuair's e-Level+ and Air Lift Performance's 3H/3P, you can just push a button and get to your preset height.
And look, airbags look cool. Having a laid out ride is like nothing else, and once you've owned something bagged you won't want to go back.
The drawbacks are real, too.
You know how your have to change the oil on your car or truck? Rotate the tires? Change the brake pads? Well adding airbags to the mix brings an additional group of maintenance items. Things like making sure the valves don't rust because of water in the system. Checking for leaks. Fixing leaks. Blown air lines. These and other items just happen along the way, and it's not a bad thing, but you've got to know how to handle the situation if they come up.
They're not cheap, either. You can put together a great kit slowly and over time, but at the end of the day, you're going to spend at least a few grand on your setup. Now yes, you can buy a set of bags and rig something up, but if you want a truly functioning and reliable setup, you will have to pay for it.
Finally, installation may be a problem for you. If you're not handy with tools or fabrication, and you have a vehicle that will require some of that to get bagged, you're going to have to pay for it. We'll gladly do your install, but it's not completed on the same day and it will cost you. How much depends on a mountain of variables, and we'll happily give you an estimate. But it's a number higher than "free," and if you're tight on cash, that could be a problem.
At the end of the day, it's worth it.
Now granted, everyone in the shop has either driven or owned a bagged vehicle, and we're all the better for it. Of course we're going to recommend that you bag your ride. But we're also not going to force you into anything.
Our advice: Come by the shop or give us a call. We'll talk you through everything and we can figure out what's going to work best for you and your project. And then, whether or not bags are in your future is up to you.