Air suspension troubleshooting


Many car owners become aware that it is time to investigate their vehicle's suspension components when their car starts to behave abnormally. This can include such times when strange sounds are heard, like clanking or knocking when driving over bumps. Constantly correcting the steering wheel to assist the vehicle going straight is another abnormal experience.

These are just two symptoms that lead to a need for a suspension system inspection. It is routine to have your tires and suspension visually checked by a mechanic when your vehicle has its regular oil change. Performing a suspension inspection may be a bit of a challenge for the beginner so knowing a lot of information about all of the components and the many ways they can fail is helpful when diagnosing a suspension issue.

If you take your time to get to know your vehicle very well, then you may be able to identify the source of your concerns yourself. There are a variety of components that make up the suspension system. Struts, mounts and springs, control arms and ball joints, just to name a few.

Along with suspension parts, many other pieces of the car affect the suspension system, such as the tires. They all work together in harmony to cushion both the car and the driver from the rough terrain being driven on.

If one part fails, the other components will fail to do their job properly as well, leading to further damage and needed repairs.

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Step 1: Take your car for a test drive. Drive your vehicle by yourself. Do your best to remove all possible distractions and noises for this drive. If you do happen to hear a noise, pay attention to where the sound is coming from, such as from the front or rear of the vehicle. Notice if the noises are consistent or if the noises are dependent on what you are doing at the time, such as going over speed bumps or while turning the wheel.

Some common noises that are associated with suspension concerns include:. Step 2: Inspect the outside of the vehicle. Once information has been gathered on the test drive, put the vehicle into Park and set the parking brake. Be sure to let the car cool down for at least 30 minutes before beginning. This will ensure that you do not get burned during the inspection. Put on a pair of gloves and grab the flashlight.

Step 3: Bounce the car. Carefully place your hands firmly on the car, at the seam where the hood and fender meet. If you observe the car bounce back up and stop, it is a good indication the shock or strut is still good.

If the car continues to bounce up and down, then it is a good indication of a blown-out strut. Attempt this method at all four corners of the vehicle to check each individual strut.The Land Rover is a symbol of utility and strength.

The design implies a sense of ruggedness and adventure, while also conveying a sense of comfort and luxury. The Land Rover has been used all over the world and has been used by celebrities throughout the years.

The character James Bond has also driven a Land Rover. This car conveys style, but is utilitarian and will get you to the places you need to go. There was even a race from London all the way to Singapore. This adventure was so popular and exciting that it was even broadcast by BBC. The Land Rover is an extremely durable vehicle that can travel miles and miles across the world, and with proper maintenance it will be able to perform well and run smoothly. Yet, even with excellent service and care, the Land Rover may experience problems every now and again.

The Land Rover is known for its reliability and ruggedness, but every design has its weak points. The air suspension was designed to improve the overall ride of the popular car.

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When first purchased, the car has a smooth ride and quality air suspension, but over time customers have noticed that the suspension begins to sag. This is a problem for the ride of the car, making it important to look into immediately if you notice a problem.

The design of the air suspension in the Land Rover is impressive. The suspension is controlled electronically and allows the driver to make adjustments. The way the suspension is able to adjust is by a compressor connected to each individual air strut.

The air suspension really does make for a smoother and better ride.

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Over time, the parts begin to wear down and since the suspension is electronically controlled, it adds a layer of complexity when it comes to repairing. Most air suspension issues manifest as a small air leak in the lines of the air struts. When the leak begins it causes the compressor to continuously add more air to the system.

The longer the problem persists, the more likely it is that you will notice your suspension is sagging on the side that has the leak. If not fixed soon, your compressor may fail. Since the compressor constantly has to compensate for the leak, it will get to the point where it wears out. When the compressor starts to wear out, the sound will get increasingly louder or it will seize.

If the compressor no longer is functioning properly, it will not be able to provide air to the struts. This means that it will not be able to adjust and the strut that does have the leak will continue to sag.

Depending on how long the problem persists it may be a simple fix of replacing the air struts.Jeep Grand Cherokee owners have reported problems related to suspension under the suspension category. The most recently reported issues are listed below. Also please check out the statistics and reliability analysis of Jeep Grand Cherokee based on all problems reported for the Grand Cherokee. Warning light comes on "service air suspension immediately" vehicle is at the dealer, they have replaced a sensor and module, now they are saying it's the compressor.

Vehicle is not handling and driving as well as it had been since the light comes on. See all problems of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This winter the air suspension light came on stating to service air suspension. The suspension does not work in cold weather and freezes at riding level.

The ride is rough due to air suspension not working. When it is warm this doesn't happen. This light also turns on while driving down the highway. I have a child and do not want her to get hurt in the process so I stopped driving it this winter. Power steering rack loses fluid between the rack and the boot. The rack has been replaced twice for the same issue and now needs a 3rd replacement rack.

Loss of power steering fluid can lead to loss of steering ability and poses a safety risk. Anytime I hit a small bump in road or when turning the front end loses control and vehicle shakes violently sending me into other lane. Several wires have melted under the hood and the front driver seat gets extremely hot while driving a distance over 13 miles. Today makes the 3rd time ive had my car at the dealership. This is after I got a message that my air suspension needed servicing immediately. That lasted overnight.

Took it back the next day. I was told it was a factory defect. Paint overspray, loose wiring. They fixed that. It lasted a few days. Then as I was about to leave town. I got the message again.

I was told it was ok to drive. So I did. Today I took it back in.The Audi A8 of the s brought the car manufacturer to the forefront of the foreign luxury car market in the United States. While providing an excellent ride, like all air suspensions it has proven to suffer from longevity issues. The A8s from this time had several common issues that affected its suspension performance. This module is actually a small computer that reads electronic signals from the sensors. Then it determines how much air pressure is needed at each shock.

Like all electronic parts, the control module is prone to the occasional software issue or malfunction.

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This might cause the the air springs to over or under-inflate. In turn, this can cause extra stress on the other suspension components. The air springs used to cushion the ride need to be made of a flexible material.

Over tens of thousands of miles, these often plastic and rubber components bear the full weight of the car. They are destined to wear out at some point, and usually well before themile mark.

If kept in a very cold or very dry environment, these air springs may wear out even sooner. Your A8 uses air lines made of flexible plastic or rubber tubing to carry pressurized air from the compressor to the air springs. These materials are prone to being nicked or cut. No matter where you live, road debris is just a part of the life of a driver. This problem is very easy to overlook.

However, it will cause the compressor to work overtime to keep the air springs inflated. This will cause early failure in the compressor if left untreated.

The pressurized air used to pump up your air springs is generated by a small compressor under the hood of your Audi A8. This compressor is itself a small engine made up of tiny moving parts. Like all moving parts, it will eventually wear out. Furthermore, when other parts of the air suspension start to fail it is usually the compressor that picks up the slack.Car Features.

What Are Common Air Suspension Problems?

Mercedes have crafted a beautifully impressive air suspension system in their self-adjusting Airmatic shocks. The Airmatic suspension system was initially designed to combat the issues that drivers were facing with the suspension being too rigid or not providing enough resistance during bumpy driving. Striking this middle-ground was a complex process for Mercedes, but they managed to find the solution with their Airmatic suspension To read more about the Airmatic suspension, please see our article: What is Airmatic Suspension?

However, despite its incredible design, the Airmatic is not immune from failure. With natural wear-and-tear of a vehicle; parts fail, malfunction, getting damaged, dirty and generally not performing as well as when they were driven directly out of the car dealership.

The Airmatic suspension was first launched by Mercedes inso it has been installed in some Mercedes vehicles for over 16 years. This far surpasses any generous warranty period, so even durable original Airmatics may need to be replaced over time. This article will cover some of the common Mercedes Airmatic problems that occur and how to identify them. A lot of Mercedes-Benz cars have an air suspension control unit N51which is responsible for the adjustments between sport and comfort modes of driving.

However, sometimes there are problems with this system or there is a fault with the air suspension itself. Usually, the dashboard informs the driver of any potential issue, but this is often vague and inconclusive about the exact problem. It may simply indicate that there is a problem and to bring it to your mechanic, so this article will describe some of the potential issues.

The relay is a switch that controls electronic circuits by opening and closing circuits within your compressor. Sometimes it fails as a result of over-extended periods of engagement with the compressor. Your mechanic will help you to identify where the Airmatic relay location is if you are want to change it. This is a straightforward fix that your garage can change quite easily. The compressor is responsible for pumping the air suspension bags with air and can sometimes get airflow blockages; lose desired pressure required to maintain air suspension, or the compressor may fail altogether.

Sometimes it may appear that the compressor should be replaced, but sometimes it may require a simple fix such as a cable repair or replacement. If the compressor is the issue, it is one of the most expensive repairs in the air suspension system. The main sign that the compressor is at fault is the whole vehicle is lowered and does not initiate any raise whatsoever.

Air can potentially leak back into the compressor and cause internal damage to the compressor itself.

air suspension troubleshooting

This will impede the quality of journey and also the suspension elevation of the vehicle. W Airmatic valve block problems have a tendency to occur, but drivers often misidentify this issue as air suspension damage.

One of the side-effects of Airmatic valve block is that the vehicle does not maintain its height. Sometimes Airmatic shocks have factory failings or they become damaged due to incorrect handling during any stage of the life-cycle of the shock.The air ride suspension on a Mercury Grand Marquis gives the vehicle a remarkably smooth ride. Standard shocks are enhanced with air bags, similar to the style used in large tractor trailers. The system is controlled by a computer, which turns an air compressor on and off to maximize rider comfort.

However, as age and wear set in, every component in an air ride system is susceptible to failure. When this happens, you might just wish you never owned the car, as air ride repairs can be some of the most expensive repairs you can make to your Mercury.

Use the flashlight to examine the air shocks in the front and rear. The shocks are equipped with a ride height indicator. In very rare cases, this indicator can be damaged, giving the air ride system a false sense of the proper ride height.

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If any of your indicators are bent, missing or otherwise misaligned, have that corrected before continuing your troubleshooting efforts. Start the car and listen for the air ride compressor to kick on. If the compressor does not turn on, check the fuse and replace it if necessary.

If the fuse is not blown, you will need to replace your compressor. If the compressor seems to run fine, but cycles often, you need to inspect the system for a leak.

Lift the hood and locate the air compressor. With the engine running, spray the soapy water on the connections where the air ride lines go into the compressor.

If you see any excess bubbling, you have a leak. If you do not find a leak at the connections, follow each line to its end, spraying each line as you go, continuing to look for bubbles that will indicate a leak. Spray the air bags and air struts at each corner of the vehicle while continuing to look for a leak. Once you find your leak, replace that component. When replacing air bags or struts, it is always best to replace them in pairs.

So, if the right front strut is bad, replace both front struts. If the left rear air bag is leaking, replace both rear air bags. This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Step 1 Use the flashlight to examine the air shocks in the front and rear. Step 2 Start the car and listen for the air ride compressor to kick on. Step 3 Lift the hood and locate the air compressor. Tip Once a leak occurs in a line or air bag, it is commonplace for another to occur after the first one is repaired unless all the old lines and air chambers are replaced.

Keep this in mind when you dig into air ride troubles, and be prepared to replace the entire system if necessary. Items you will need Flashlight Spray bottle with soapy water inside. About the Author This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.Air bag suspensions systems are a feature found on many luxury vehicles and SUVs.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Air Suspension Air Compressor

An air bag suspension system serves the same purpose as a standard suspension system, however, instead of using metal springs and liquid filled shocks, it uses a system of inflatable air bags filled with compressed air to suspend the vehicle off the ground. One of the most important components of an air bag system is the compressor. The compressor is what supplies the entire system with the compressed air required to inflate the airbags and support the weight of the vehicle.

Without the compressor, the entire air bag system would be left without air, and the vehicle would be left with an inoperable suspension. Usually, when the compressor is having a problema few symptoms will be produced that can alert the driver of a potential issue that should be serviced. One of the first and most common symptoms of a problem with the air suspension compressor is a noticeably lower vehicle ride height. Air suspension systems work by using pressurized air from the compressor.

If the compressor is worn or is having a problem, it may not be able to adequately inflate the air bags and the vehicle may sit and ride noticeably lower as a result. One of the most noticeable symptoms of a potential problem with the compressor is abnormal noises during operation. If the compressor is allowed to continuously operate with abnormal sounds, it may eventually result in damage to the compressor that will cause it to fail. When the compressor fails, the system will have no means of inflating the air bags and the vehicle will have a disabled suspension.

Another symptom and a more serious issue is a compressor that does not come on. The suspension system cannot function without it. If the compressor is failing to come on at all, then that is a sign that it has either failed or it is having an issue.

Common Air Suspension Problems

The air compressor is what provides the air suspension system with compressed air required for it to function.

They can determine if the vehicle needs an air suspension compressor replacementor if any other repairs are needed. The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Suspension Inspection.

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2, U. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair. Schedule Suspension Inspection.

air suspension troubleshooting

Service Area. Average rating fromcustomers who received a Suspension Inspection. Vehicle riding lower than normal One of the first and most common symptoms of a problem with the air suspension compressor is a noticeably lower vehicle ride height. Abnormal noises during operation One of the most noticeable symptoms of a potential problem with the compressor is abnormal noises during operation.

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Home Articles. The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details. Related Articles. What Causes Leakage in the Shock Absorbers? Related Questions. Will a bad steering rack or tie rod cause me to fail MOT? Yes bad tie rods are a valid reason for a vehicle to fail MOT.

air suspension troubleshooting

The tie rods are part of the steering rack. The steering rack consist of two inner and two outer tie rods.