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What Is Air Bag Suspension and Does My Truck Need It?

When towing with a truck, it’s easy to get caught up in all the accessories you may need. It can be especially stressful if you’ve never towed anything. You may go through a learning curve, but with a little practice, you’ll be towing like a pro.

Just be careful not to spend a lot of time and money buying things you don’t need, like the wrong trailer hitches or air bag suspensions. Today, we’ll discuss what air bag suspension is, when it’s appropriate to use, and the pros and cons.

What is air bag suspension?

Squats are great when you hit the gym, but it’s not so great when your truck is doing squats due to excess weight from the load you’re towing. This weight can cause your truck to sag and create problems that could result in a wreck. According to Trip Savvy, towing too much weight can result in braking and acceleration problems, as well as erratic steering.

That’s where air bag suspension comes in. According to Road Master, “The air bag suspension system essentially works like a balloon. The concept is designed to resist the weight of the frame of the vehicle, pump air in to keep the truck from squatting, and let air out when you’re not towing.”

What are the pros of air bag suspension?

Towing changes the way you drive, and part of this may include a rough ride to your destination. Strutmasters reports that using air bag suspension can dramatically smooth out your ride. 

The suspension can be adjusted so it either raises or lowers the truck, giving you more options. This is especially important given that not all roads are created equal. Driving on a smoothly paved road may require a different suspension level than a rocky dirt road. 

What are the cons of air bag suspension?

According to Strutmasters, air bag suspensions are expensive and come with a lot of maintenance. Whether you use it regularly or not, you’ll need to maintain it. There are other options besides air bag suspension which may be more reliable. If you do decide to go with this option, however, it may require a lot of maintenance and repairs. 

If you don’t have the time or money to commit to something you’re only going to use once in a blue moon, then you may want to check out other options.

When should you use air bag suspension?

While an air bag suspension may sound really cool, your truck may not need it. It all depends on how much weight your truck can tow. If you’re not sure, you can check the door jam on the driver’s side. All the information you’ll need will be there, like the vin number and maximum weight your truck can tow. 

Believe it or not, a lot of testing goes into determining how much your truck can tow, or the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). According to Truck Trend, “This rating, along with your truck’s towing capacity, is determined by many factors, including engine size, gear ratio, wheel and tire package, cab and bed configuration, transmission, and axles, for example.”

Truck Trend also warns that the advertised towing weight is set up for work trucks and may not be the same towing weight as what you get at your local dealership. Checking the GVWR will save you a lot of heartache and will also help you decide if you need an air bag suspension or if you can do without it.