The price of air suspension varies depending on the type, brand, specific components, configuration, and type of vehicle. It can cost anywhere from $300 to $30,000, including parts, installation costs, and upgrades.
This article will discuss the key air suspension costs and whether air suspension is worth it. We will explore if air suspension is costlier than leaf spring and coil suspension, then offer affordable tips for buying and installing air suspension.
Key Air Suspension Costs
There are three main costs associated with air suspensions. These are:
- Price of components/air suspension kits
- Installation costs
- Upgrade costs
Price of Components/Air Suspension Kits
You can choose to buy a complete kit or the various components separately. Both options can be either costly or affordable depending on the number of components, specification of the model, and brand.
For instance, a complete Vixen Air Suspension Kit costs about $1385 on Amazon. On the other hand, Airlift offers a variety of kits at different prices. Their air management kits go for $800-$1500. They consist of a controller, accelerometer, air lines, and harness connections.
Airlift also has air suspension kits that consist of an air tank, air compressor, electrical control system, air springs struts, dampers, and camber plates. The kits go for $1500-$3000. You can buy the camber plate separately for $300.
Accuair offers a variety of air suspension kits at different prices. Their Starter Air Suspension packages include a 5-gallon air tank, solenoid valves, the necessary fittings, an air compressor, and a power unit. It goes for $2199.95. Their Premium Air Suspension package goes for $7999.95, while the Ultimate Air Suspension package is priced at $3,199.95.
Accuair also has air suspension kits for specific car models, e.g., the Jeep Wrangler air suspension system, 2021 Ford Bronco Air suspension system, and Jeep Gladiator air suspension. All of them cost about $5,500.
Another brand of air suspension worth mentioning is the Mercedes AirMatic suspension system. Each air spring costs $1000, and the compressor costs $1,000. On average, it costs about $5,000.
The average costs of the main components of an air suspension system are as follows:
- Air compressor – $500-$700
- Air tank -$150-$900
- Air lines -$70-$200
- Management system -$350-$700
- Valve manifold -$300-$600
- Air struts – $200-$800 depending on the number of struts
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the prices we list above can change at any time and may not always be reflective of the current price. These figures are best used as a ballpark number for you to keep in mind when adding up the costs.
The second cost associated with air suspension is installation cost. If you choose to DIY the air suspension installation, there will be no installation cost.
However, if you take the car to your mechanic or hire an air suspension specialist to install it for you, it will cost between $500-$2000 depending on the type of air suspension, type of car, and typical automotive mechanic labor costs in your location.
For instance, a simple helper spring setup will cost $500 on average, while a more complex configuration for luxury cars, sports cars, trucks, and trailers can go above $2,000 in installation costs.
It can cost you as much or more in installation costs as the cost of the air suspension kits or components. As such, you may be considering DIYing the installation. The process is not too complex, but you need intermediate automotive mechanical skills and a toolset to install the system effectively. Failure to do it correctly can compromise performance and safety when driving.
You can incorporate a few upgrades for enhanced performance, handling, and safety when configuring your air suspension. However, these come at an additional cost in parts and installation. Some common air suspension upgrades include:
- Large air tank
- Paddle valve in-cab control kit
- Electrical in-cab control kit
- Strut dampers
- Shock dyno
- Water trap
- Spherical bearings
- Roll plate
Is Air Suspension Worth It?
Like anything else, air suspension has its pros and cons. You must assess these pros and cons against your needs to establish if air suspension is worth it.
Overall, air suspension offers smoother rides and better performance than other types of suspensions. It is less noisy compared to leaf spring and coil suspension. When installed in trucks and trailers, it prevents rear sag when it is heavily loaded and bouncing on rough roads when unloaded.
Air suspension can be tuned according to driving conditions and whether you are hauling heavy loads. You can easily set your preferred settings for the suspension with a simple press of a button.
One of the main downsides of air suspension is its vulnerability to leakage due to loose connections or punctures in the air line or airbags. The system is also prone to clogged airlines and loss of air pressure.
Is Air Suspension More Expensive Than Leaf or Coil Suspension?
The cost of suspension components is within the same range for the different types of suspension. However, the installation and maintenance costs are much higher for air suspensions. If not well maintained, the cost of repairing air suspension can be thrice that of a leaf suspension system within 10 years of use.
Air suspension can also increase your fuel costs. It is much heavier than leaf spring and coil suspension resulting in more fuel consumption. The fuel consumption is notably higher when towing or carrying a heavy load.
Tips for Saving up on Air Suspension
Below are tips to help you get the best price for your air suspension without compromising its quality.
Determine the Right Type of Air Suspension for Your Vehicle
Before buying an air suspension kit or components, determine which type is most suitable for your vehicle and your suspension needs. The last thing you want is to buy an air suspension kit and attempt to install it, only to find that it is incompatible with your vehicle. The type will also determine the overall cost of installing an air suspension system in your vehicle.
There are three main types of air suspensions: coil spring air bags, sleeve style air suspension, and rubber bellow air suspension.
Sleeve style air suspensions are much smaller than rubber bellows. They are not designed to handle heavy loads. Therefore, they are most suitable for smaller cars. They are also easier to install, saving you in installation costs.
Coil spring air bags are a type of air suspension that can be installed in a vehicle that already has coil springs in place. It is relatively easy and affordable to install.
Finally, rubber bellows air suspension is more comprehensive. It can handle more pressure and heavier loads. Therefore, it is commonly used in SUVs, trucks, campers, and trailers. It can also be installed in sports cars as well as regular cars. However, it is more expensive in terms of parts, installation, and upgrades.
Also, when determining which suspension system to go for, consider if there are air suspension kits in the market specific to the model of your vehicle. They would be the most appropriate to buy. If you are unsure which one to go with, consult your mechanic or an air suspension specialist in your area.
Go for Quality
Quality air suspension kits and components will most likely be more expensive. However, they will be cost-effective in the long run as you will save on repair and maintenance costs. Check previous buyers’ reviews across the different platforms to establish if a given air suspension brand is reliable and durable.
Ensure the Air Suspension Is Installed Properly
Proper installation is crucial for ensuring the air suspension works well. If you do not feel confident about your ability to install the system properly, set a budget for installation, and have a professional do it.
Proper Maintenance Is Key
It will extend the lifespan of the suspension components, ensuring you do not have to repair or replace them too soon.
Air suspension offers better stability, performance, and load handling than the standard leaf spring and coil spring suspension systems. Therefore, it is worth it as long as you choose the right one for your vehicle and suspension needs.
Also, ensure that the system is installed and maintained properly. The exact cost of the air suspension will depend on the price of the kit or components, installation costs, and whether you incorporate some upgrades.