Your rig’s suspension system is important, period. Suspension makes a tremendous difference in the way your tractor-tailor handles the road, affects the quality of the ride, helps to maintain correct axle spacing and alignment, and impacts the way bumps are felt. Additionally, your suspension system not only protects the load you are pulling but it protects YOU; helping you to feel less impact from all those bumps in the road and vibrations and keep your steering steady and correct.
When it comes to outfitting your rig with a suspension system, it boils down to two different options: Air Ride Suspension or Spring Ride Suspension. While both come with their own set of pros and cons, it’s important to examine these to know what suspension system is going to work best for your fleet. To help you decide, we have put together a breakdown of the pros and cons of each:
Air Ride Suspension
Air ride suspension is made up of airlines, valves and flexible air springs which provides adjustable suspension and support to the load be being able to add air while fully loaded and releasing air when hauling a lighter load.
- Ability to adapt to the load quickly and handling various road conditions with ease for a smooth ride.
- Provides a smooth ride, keeping fragile cargo protected.
- Unhooking trailers can be made much easier by using the dump valve to release air, lowering the rig by just enough so you can simply pull away from the trailer.
- Installation of air ride suspension can be complex and time-consuming due to all the wiring, hoses and parts involved in the process.
- Parts breakdown and become faulty easily and more frequently. Air leaking or clogged hoses are the most common problem.
- More expensive to maintain.
Spring Ride Suspension
Spring ride suspension is much simpler than air ride. Generally, they are made up of steel springs, axle seats, spring hangers, equalizers, torque arms, and U-bolts. Spring ride parts are easily visible making inspection effortless.
- Lower maintenance costs and experience fewer issues. Maintenance is usually minimal for the first 6-7 years.
- Longer lifecycle.
- Makes the rig around 50-75 pounds lighter compared to rigs using air ride suspension systems.
- Can be a rough ride if not fully loaded.
- Exposed parts are subject to rust, corrosion and wear.
- Lower resale value
Which is better?
Now that we are clear on the differences and pros and cons, which is better? The truth of the matter is that it just depends on what the right fit is for your fleet. What is your budget like? What will you be hauling? Where will you be driving? All the factors should be heavily considered while making your decision.
For help, feel free to call the team at NDI! We’re happy to help you weigh the pros and cons to find the right fit for your rig.