Suspension systems contribute to a trailer’s road handling and ride quality. Keeping the trailer’s tires in contact with the road as much as possible, suspension systems help minimize the amount of jarring (bumps and vibrations) for improved load-carrying.
The trailer’s suspension system protects the trailer and the freight inside from being damaged. There are a variety of suspensions available on the market. Spring and air suspensions are the best options for heavier vehicle applications such as trailers.
Air Ride Suspension
Air Ride uses a variety of valves, air-lines, and spring bags in place of steel suspension. The flexible air-spring bags are made from a woven and rubber-like material.
The air supplied to the air-ride suspension uses the same air compressor and air reservoir as a truck’s braking system. The supplied air pressurizes the air-spring bags, creating a spring-like motion that raises the chassis from the axles.
Pros of Air Ride Suspension:
Air ride is adjustable.
Air suspensions provide a wide range of spring rate and load capacity. In-car adjustability can get the ride load, height and rate tunning in a few minutes.
Air ride has the ability to adapt handling to different situations.
The spring rate combined with the performance customization provide your trailer with an increase in performance. This enables real-time tuning and a smoother ride with comfort on a rough road.
Air ride provides great towing capabilities.
The air ride makes it easier for trailers to handle heavier loads. Drivers can increase stiffness when towing large loads while improving the ride comfort.
Cons of Air Ride Suspension:
Air ride costs more.
Usually, a trailer provides air ride suspension as an upgrade. The maintenance costs can be higher than standard coil shocks, Many drivers replace worn systems with traditional suspensions for cost consideration.
Air ride installation is expensive.
It will take more time to install an air suspension due to the complexity of wiring, lines and hose installations, and installation requires the use of various tools. Most of the time, it is best to hire a professional mechanic to guarantee the safety and vehicle integrity.
Spring suspension uses semi-elliptic leaf springs to cushion a load from road shock. As one of the most commonly used suspensions, spring consists of several layers of flexible steel strips referred to as a “leaf pack.” The strips are joined together to act as a single unit. The long and narrow, arch-shaped plates are attached to the frame of a trailer, resting above the trailer’s axle.
Pros of Spring Suspension:
The springs are easier to locate and control the axle.
This minimizes the impact when the trailer goes over a bump in the road.
Springs offer more stability when loaded.
The springs absorb the impact of any bump and provides stability.
The springs are cheaper.
A lot of times springs come standard on the most trailers, and there is no need to pay extra.
Cons of Spring Suspension:
Spring suspension is harder to tune for the ride.
Spring suspension is harder to adjust. Depending on the weight of your load, the suspension of the trailer needs to be adjusted.
Spring suspension is prone to axle wrap.
Axle wrap is a problem that plagues leaf sprung vehicle with soft springs. Axle wrap is unwanted suspension movement that allows the pinion angle to change.
Spring suspension takes up a lot of space.
Springs take up a lot of space on the undercarriage of the trailer.
Spring suspension is more susceptible to noise.
The springs tend to make more noise than air ride.
Do your research to figure out what suspension system will work best for you. Let us know what you prefer in the comments below.