How Much Does Air Suspension Cost In South Africa
Driving On A Cloud: Air Suspension Systems
Air suspension is one of the most popular modifications being made on vehicles these days and is still a growing trend among car enthusiasts, especially among the younger generations. Why is air suspension so popular and what exactly does air suspension mean? Have you heard the expressions Driving on a Cloud, Air to be Different or Riding on Air?
In this article, we will answer these questions and more. We will explore the basics of air suspension systems so you can gain a better understanding of them, look at how much air suspension costs in South Africa and then we will outline the pros and cons of installing an air suspension system in your vehicle.
‘whoosh” - You're Riding On Air
Air suspension systems have been proven to be a great addition to vehicles provided it is installed and maintained correctly. These systems can also be fitted to virtually any car - it really all depends on you and your budget.
Some of the major benefits of air suspension systems in cars are improved comfort behind the wheel, a smoother, more consistent ride, auto-leveling and additional safety - making it ideal for daily driving, even on rough or poor-quality roads. You can identify a car that is fitted with an air suspension system when you hear a loud 'whoosh' sound.
While air suspension has many advantages, like any other car component, it has its weaknesses and disadvantages too. We will discuss both the pros and cons in greater detail further on in the article.
Firstly, Why Does A Vehicle Need Suspension?
Every modern car is equipped with a suspension system which is a crucial component for the safety and comfort of the driver. Load bearing is usually carried by the traditional steel or composite coil or leaf springs in a suspension system but there are other options one can consider, such as air suspension, which is what we are going to discuss in this article.
Not only does the suspension system evenly support the weight of the car but it maximizes the contact between the tyres and the road surface, absorbs and dampens shock and provides for steering stability and better handling and control of the vehicle. Without a suspension system, it would be extremely uncomfortable and possibly even hazardous for drivers on the road.
What Is An Air Suspension System?
Air suspension systems essentially replace a vehicle's traditional coil springs in the suspension system with air springs. In other words, it supports the vehicle on the axles with the use of airbags (also referred to as bellows) instead of steel springs, leaf springs, torsion springs, or coil springs. Air suspension works on the principle of using compressed air to alter the height of the suspension and the properties of air to achieve a cushioning effect, providing comfort for the driver.
Today’s air suspension systems have an onboard air compressor, sensors and electronic controls, which offer several advantages over all-metal, conventional springs. These include real-time tuning, the ability to vary load capability and the versatility to adapt handling on various types of roads.
The Main Parts Of An Air Suspension System
An air suspension system typically has three basic components, namely the air supply, the airbags, and the height control valves.
How Much Does Air Suspension Cost In South Africa?
Not all cars come fitted with an air suspension system as part of their standard equipment. - they are usually only found in high-end luxury cars and some SUVs. However, you can install an air suspension system on any type of vehicle.
The cost of installing an air suspension system in your vehicle in South Africa depends on a couple of factors, the main factor being the make and model of your vehicle. It will also depend on how much suspension lift you need and where it is fitted on your vehicle.
It could, however, become a pricey addition with some basic air suspension kits starting from around R25 000, depending on the vehicle itself, the configuration (where it is fitted) and how it is sourced. In South Africa, the cost can go as high as R100-200 000 in some vehicles. Components such as the air compressor and the supply lines can be upgraded according to your budget.
Protect The Integrity Of Your Vehicle
When it comes to installing an air suspension, the cost does vary which is why we always recommend shopping around for a few quotes to compare prices. Having said that, don't necessarily go for the cheapest quote or for the cheapest parts.
The components must be of good quality and the installation must be done professionally due to the need for specialised tools and the complexity of wiring, lines and hose installations involved. Using an experienced, professional mechanic with a reputable name in the industry to do the installation is crucial to guarantee the safety and integrity of the vehicle and likewise when sourcing the individual parts.
We highly recommend an online car parts company, called AfricaBoyz Online www.africaboyzonline.com which has an outstanding reputation for both high-quality car parts and excellent customer service - this is backed by Google Reviews and Hello Peter reviews and the amount of returning customers.
When visiting their website you can have a look at the various components of an air suspension system to give you an idea of the prices of the individual parts involved.
What Are The Advantages (Pros) Of An Air Suspension System
Air suspension is known to cause less wear and tear on the suspension system and other vehicle parts, due to reduced harshness and vibration when driving.
Air suspension offsets potholes, uneven road surfaces and speed bumps allowing for a far more comfortable and smoother ride. This also alleviates driver fatigue on longer travels.
The driver has more control of the vehicle, especially when turning corners as well as better cornering speeds.
Because the vehicle is equipped to handle all types of road conditions, the driver has a far easier drive with better handling, even under poor road conditions.
Air suspension can be considered a safety feature as it provides consistency across all four wheels, lowering the risk of the car rolling. It also allows for less load shifting, breakages and damage thanks to the reduced vibrations.
Air suspensions can adapt to a wide range of situations - varying the spring rates and load capacity, adjusting the height and dynamic load, enabling real-time tuning, and keeping the vehicle altitude constant which also keeps the headlights in alignment at all times.
What Are The Disadvantages (Cons) Of An Air Suspension System
The first disadvantage is more than likely the initial high cost of installing an air suspension system. As we have discussed the cost is higher than a traditional spring suspension system because the components and technology in general are more expensive.
The fact that it will need to be installed by a professional mechanic will also cost extra, over and above the air suspension components.
Maintenance and repair costs are also more expensive than the standard coil and shock suspension systems.
Air suspension systems are more complex systems and maintenance needs to be done regularly. Although these systems are reliable, the vehicle can lose stability and control if regular maintenance is not done.
Reduced fuel efficiency may be an issue as an air suspension system is heavier than the leaf and other traditional suspension systems.
Air suspension systems are also prone to some common mechanical issues which cause malfunctions in the system:
Leaking from the airbags is one of the most common vulnerabilities seen in all air suspensions which can cause compressor burnout, as well as the airlines, becoming clogged.
Damage to the air suspension system caused by rust or moisture from the inside could lead to the malfunctioning of air struts or airbags.
The air suspension tubing that connects the air struts or bags to the air system could fail
Problems with the linkage could cause the ride height of the vehicle to be disoriented.
Malfunctioning of the system caused by damages incurred during the initial fitting or from infrequent use.
That just about sums it up for this article. Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of air suspension systems and whether or not driving on air is right for you and your car! Whatever you decide to do, here’s to happy, comfortable and safe driving!