The Basics of Air Suspension for Towing

The Basics of Air Suspension for Towing

October 13, 2021

Air suspension, also referred to as pneumatic suspension, has been used in a variety of settings since the early 1900s, when the first patents for it were filed. Today, one of the many uses for air suspension is the vehicle towing process.

Here’s an overview of what you need to know about the use of air suspension systems when it comes to towing.

Air bag suspension: What to know

Before you consider using air suspension for your vehicle, you should first consider your vehicle’s specific towing capabilities. You can find some information on a sticker inside (usually) the driver-side doorjamb that indicates the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This is the maximum weight your vehicle can carry. You’ll need to know this and the vehicle’s towing capacity.

There are a number of factors that go into determining GVWR and towing capacity, including gear ratio, engine size, transmission, axles, cab and bed configuration (for pickup trucks) and wheel and tire package. Towing capacity is a common point of emphasis in marketing for pickup trucks, but even if you don’t see it in ads, you’ll easily be able to find it in the manufacturer’s instructions.

The use of an air bag or helper air spring in your suspension can help prevent weight shifting around rearward during the towing process and give you better control of your vehicle during towing. There are a variety of systems available to help you accomplish this. In many cases, there will be an air bag or corresponding brackets placed over the rear axle or leaf spring.

An inflated helper bag assembly allows you to introduce air to the system to keep the vehicle level and provide greater stability so you can keep all four tires firmly on the ground. This makes a big difference in the amount of control you have, even if you’re not pushing the limit of your vehicle’s tow rating. If you’ve been having issues with springs or shocks that are worn out, these systems can help to alleviate the negative side effects associated with those issues.

In addition, the air bag suspension system can help you adjust the height of your tow vehicle while connecting a trailer.

It is important to note, however, that the use of an air bag suspension system will not increase your carrying capacity or allow you to tow heavier trailers. Adding an air bag suspension system simply provides more control and safety—it does not alter any of the factors that go into determining your GVWR and towing capacity, so you should not think of the addition of such a system as a license to increase your towing.

Interested in learning more about air bag suspensions systems for towing and how you can best implement such a system with your vehicle? We encourage you to contact the team at Auto Truck Service Inc. with any questions you have about implementing an air bag suspension system within your truck. We’d be happy to provide you with additional information about your towing options.

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