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The Pros and Cons of Air Suspension vs Coilovers

When it comes to improving the handling and performance of your vehicle, one important consideration is the suspension system. Two popular options are air suspension and coilovers, each with their own unique features and benefits. In this article, we'll compare and contrast the two types of suspension systems, so you can make an informed decision on which is the best choice for your vehicle.

 

What are air suspension?

Air suspension is a type of vehicle suspension system that uses air springs (also known as bellows) instead of traditional metal springs. The air springs are inflated with compressed air, which provides a softer ride and allows for adjustable height control.

One major advantage of air suspension is that it offers a greater range of adjustability compared to traditional suspension systems. By using a compressor and air tanks, the ride height of the vehicle can be easily adjusted, allowing for a lower or higher stance depending on the driver's preference. This can be especially useful for off-road driving or for clearance when driving over obstacles.

Air suspension also provides a smoother ride compared to traditional suspension systems, as the air springs are able to absorb and dissipate shock more effectively. This can be especially beneficial for vehicles that are used for long distances or for driving on rough terrain.

 

What are Coilovers?

Coilovers are a type of suspension system that combines a coil spring and a shock absorber into one unit. The coil spring is mounted around the shock absorber and is adjustable, allowing the suspension to be fine-tuned for specific driving conditions.

One major advantage of coilovers is that they offer a greater range of adjustability compared to traditional suspension systems. The coil spring can be adjusted for stiffness, allowing the driver to fine-tune the suspension for specific driving conditions. This can be especially useful for performance driving or for fine-tuning the handling of the vehicle.

Coilovers also offer a more precise and responsive suspension compared to traditional suspension systems, as the shock absorber and coil spring are combined into one unit. This can be especially beneficial for high-performance vehicles or for drivers who prioritize handling and response.

 

Air Suspension vs Coilovers: Comparison

Now that we've covered the basics of air suspension and coilovers, let's compare the two types of suspension systems in more detail:

Adjustability:
  • Both air suspension and coilovers offer a greater range of adjustability compared to traditional suspension systems. However, the type of adjustability differs between the two.

  • Air suspension allows for the ride height of the vehicle to be adjusted, which can be useful for off-road driving or for clearance when driving over obstacles. On the other hand, coilovers offer the ability to fine-tune the suspension for specific driving conditions, such as performance driving or handling.

Comfort:
  • When it comes to ride comfort, air suspension typically offers a smoother ride compared to traditional suspension systems due to its air springs being able to absorb and dissipate shock effectively. However, coilovers offer a more precise and responsive suspension, which can be beneficial for high-performance vehicles or drivers who prioritize handling and response.

Cost:
  • Air suspension systems tend to be more expensive than coilovers due to the addition of components like air tanks and compressors. On the other hand, coilovers are generally less expensive and easier to install compared to air suspension systems.


Maintenance:
  • Air suspension systems require regular maintenance to ensure that the air springs and other components are in good working condition. This can include checking and refilling air tanks, as well as replacing worn or damaged components. Coilovers, on the other hand, typically require less maintenance and can be more durable in the long run.

 

Advantages of air suspension

Air suspension systems have a number of advantages over coilovers. For one, air suspension provides a much smoother ride, which is ideal for luxury vehicles or those that are driven on rough roads. Additionally, you can also add features like automatic leveling and self-leveling to an air suspension system. And finally, air suspension is less likely to break down than coilovers since there are fewer moving parts.

 

  • Smoother ride

  • More comfortable

  • Can be adjusted to different settings

 

Disadvantages of air suspension

There are a few disadvantages of air suspension that should be considered before making a purchase. One drawback is the cost, as air suspension systems can be more expensive than coilovers. Another downside is the potential for leaks, as the airbags can develop holes and leak air over time. Additionally, air suspensions can be less reliable than coilovers, as they rely on a compressor to keep the airbags inflated, which can fail after extended use. Finally, air suspensions can be less comfortable than coilovers on rough roads, as the airbags can bounce around and create a jarring ride.

 
  • More expensive

  • Requires more maintenance

 

Advantages of coilovers

Coilovers offer a number of advantages over air suspension systems. First, coilovers are less expensive to maintain than air suspension. Second, coilovers offer more adjustability than air suspension, so you can fine-tune your ride to your specific driving needs. Finally, coilovers provide better handling and stability than air suspension, making them ideal for performance driving.

 

  • Cheaper

  • Easier to install

  • More adjustability

  • Better handling for performance driving

 

Disadvantages of coilovers

There are a few disadvantages that come with coilovers. One is that they are not as comfortable as air suspension. This is because the coilover system is a bit more harsh, because you only can adjust the height, not the firmness.

 

  • Ride is not as smooth

  • Not as comfortable

 

Which is better for you?

When it comes to choosing between air suspension and coilovers, there are a few things to consider. Air suspension is going to be more expensive, but it will also offer a smoother ride. Coilovers, on the other hand, are less expensive and will provide a sportier feel. So, which is better for you? It really depends on what you're looking for. If you want a luxurious ride, go with air suspension. If you're looking to get a better performance handling and still get a great ride, go with coilovers.

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