Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of Bad or Failing Air Springs

air springs

Bad or Failing Air Springs Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

Many modern vehicles, particularly luxury vehicles and SUVs, come equipped with air bag / spring suspension systems. These systems serve the same purpose as traditional suspension shocks and springs, however, they use compressed air in inflatable bags instead of hydraulic fluid in metal tubes. The air bags are inflated by a vehicle mounted compressor to raise the vehicle and increase suspension firmness, while deflating the bags lowers the vehicle and softens the ride. The air springs are made of metal wrapped in a thick rubber coating making them both strong and flexible. While they are heavy duty in build quality, the constant stress of inflation and deflation will eventually cause them to wear out and require them to be replaced. When there is a problem with the air springs, the vehicle will usually display a few symptoms that can alert the driver that there may be a problem.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Suspension Sagging

When the air springs are beginning to wear out, they will not be able to provide the support needed to keep the car suspended and level. If one or more of the bags fails or has a problem, this may result in the car sagging in that particular corner or that particular side of the vehicle. A sagging suspension will decrease handling and comfort, and in more serious cases, the vehicle may sag to the point of interfering with the steering and ride characteristics of the vehicle.

2. Constant operation of the air compressor

Another symptom of an air springs problem is a constantly running compressor. If there is damage to the air springs that allows air to escape, then the compressor will attempt to compensate for the loss in pressure by constantly pumping to keep the bags inflated and the system at the correct pressure. If the compressor is constantly running, the system should be examined as soon as possible, as this will put an additional strain on the compressor which may accelerate its wear and cause it to fail.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Bottoming out of the suspension

Failed air springs can also cause the vehicle suspension to bottom out. As the air springs are what absorb the impacts and movement of the road, when they fail, the road force is transferred directly to the frame. This will compromise the ride quality of the vehicle when significant road force is encountered, such as when going over bumps or potholes, and will cause the suspension to bottom out.

Because the air springs are what directly support and level out the vehicle, they are very important to the overall handling and ride characteristics of the car. If your vehicle is displaying any of the symptoms of a problem with the air bag, or you suspect that there may be a problem with one or more of the air springs, have the suspension diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to determine if the car needs its air springs replaced, or if there is another problem that needs to be addressed.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...


Related questions

Q: Should I change the camber of my wheels?

Suspension systems and the angles of wheels are engineered to work together for optimal performance and to minimize tire wear. It has become increasingly popular among the “tuner” scene to achieve the look of maxed camber, as the wheels visually...

Q: I notice my car has a place for air shocks but has coil springs. Do I need both or does one replace the other?

Hello. Your vehicle was equipped with OEM air springs. If you see coil springs now in place of the air springs, that means someone has converted the suspension to an aftermarket coil spring system which is not an unusual conversion....

Q: Front end control arm or ball joint? Cost?

It sounds like your lower control arm ball joint came apart. The fact that it came out is an indication that there is a lot of wear in the front end. You may have also damaged other components like the...