Can You Lift a Truck With Air Suspension

Yes, you absolutely can. There are various after-market air ride lift kits that let you lift your truck from 2 inches all the way up to a whopping 2 feet.

Air suspensions have been seeing a steady rise in popularity in recent years, with their versatility, usability, and adjustability.

That’s why more and more truck lifting enthusiasts are leaning towards lift kits that use air suspensions in order to achieve the desired height.

But, like any other automotive modifications, air suspension lift kits have both sides of the coin on offer. While the feature set sounds totally dreamlike, there are some obvious setbacks as well.

So, are you thinking of lifting your own truck with air suspensions? Or are you debating a friend who’s planning on doing so? Whatever your need may be, I’m here to give you all the related details on air suspension and air ride lift kit.

Keep reading till the end, so that you can make an educated decision about whether you should lift your truck with air suspensions, what are the pros and cons of doing so, and what makes air suspension lift kits so special.

What Are Air Suspension Systems

Air Suspension Systems
Air Suspension Systems

A traditional suspension system uses shock absorbers, struts, and coil or coilover springs, all combined to achieve the desired stability in a vehicle.

On the other hand, an air suspension system uses air shocks or inflated adjustable airbags in place of all these components.

The main components of an air suspension system include air struts, an air tank, a compressor, and some air pipes.

The air struts are fitted with high-pressure airbags and their pressure can be adjusted according to the driver’s preference.

To increase the pressure of the air struts, the compressor draws in air and pressurizes it, then sends it through the pipes to the struts. This inflates the struts and as a result, the vehicle rises up.

Furthermore, by simply releasing some pressure and deflating the sir struts, a user can lower the vehicle in moments.

Air Suspensions vs. Air Ride Lift Kits

When a normal air suspension is inflated to its maximum pressure, it raises the vehicle by a couple of inches, which is not enough to satisfy the needs of most lifting aficionados.

Air suspension lift kits come with air suspension systems implemented. These suspensions are just like normal air suspensions, but their height adjustability covers a larger range.

This means that these air suspensions can potentially lift a vehicle higher, depending on the maximum lift height intended and advertised by the manufacturer.

The adjustability of air suspensions makes them a versatile option for people who are looking to lift their trucks or SUVs without fixing them to a higher stance like a normal lift kit would do.

The Advantages of Lifting a Truck with Air Suspensions

There are some reasons why people are starting to lean toward lift kits that come with air suspensions. They offer some things that no conventional lift kits can possibly offer.

They are good for a variety of use-case scenarios, unlike their conventional counterparts, who are forced to be good for one thing while bad for something else. Let me elaborate.

Ride Height Adjustability

This is the most common advantage people take from their air suspension systems. 

When someone lifts their truck, they may be looking for that taller stance, but they may not want it to be stuck in that stance all the time.

Because a taller stance comes with drawbacks of its own despite the higher ground clearance, like reduced fuel efficiency, increased drag, reduced performance, poorer handling, reduced balance, and so on and so forth.

So, if you lifted your truck with an air suspension, you could lower it on the go when you’re done with that bumpy off-road trip and continue the journey with all the advantages a lower stance can offer.

Suitable for Different Loads and Use Cases

A fixed height in a truck is sometimes inconvenient. If the truck is optimized to carry heavy loads, it will be more bouncy on rough terrain when it’s not loaded. If it’s optimized for off-roading, the back will squat under a heavy load. 

That’s where air suspensions shine because you can increase or decrease the pressure in the air struts depending on how much load you’re carrying at the back.

You can drop that pressure when the truck is not loaded to optimize the driving experience. You can increase the pressure after you load it so that the back is not squatting.

If the load on the back consists of various things, some light and some significantly heavier, the pressure on different wheels will differ, causing the truck to stand unevenly. An air suspension can negate this by applying different pressures on different struts as needed.

Also, when you’re towing or hauling with a truck, it tends to sink at the rear. This is a common problem many people face, which is why experts don’t recommend towing with a lifted truck.

An air suspension lift kit solves this problem by being able to inflate the air struts so that the rear does not sink when towing. Air suspensions can keep a truck level under any amount of load.

Moreover, loading and unloading a truck becomes much easier when the back is lowered closer to the ground.

Versatile on Different Terrains

A traditional lift kit lifts a truck for specific needs. If the target is off-roading, the performance and driving experience on motorways are lowered. Because the higher ground clearance, though it helps clear bumps, makes the truck less air resistant.

If their target is to achieve a higher, more aggressive look while keeping the driving experience fine, the experience will change whenever the terrain changes or you carry a load at the back. To put it simply, the driving experience is really inconsistent.

An air suspension solves all these problems, as you can adjust the air struts’ pressure according to the weight you’re carrying or the terrain you’re driving on. Depressurize the struts to cruise on motorways and pressurize them to drive on rough terrain.

The Disadvantages of Air Suspension Lift Kits

In terms of disadvantages, there aren’t many. But let me go over them so that you’ll have a more complete idea.

Higher Cost and More Complex Installation Process

If you go to the market for, say, a 4-inch lift kit, a standard suspension will cost significantly less than an air suspension lift kit. The replacement parts of an air suspension system also cost more than the standard ones.

They are also harder to install, so you’re going to have to spend more in terms of installation charges.

Harder and Costlier Maintenance

The components that sit on the exterior, like the air shocks or the air pipes, are subject to external damage. That’s why you need to routinely check the air suspension system you put on your truck to make sure it doesn’t have any defects.

Also, if there is any water trapped inside the air tank or air pipes, it can freeze during the colder months, resulting in the air strut adjustment system failing.

Also, if the air strut is ever damaged or leaked, the consequences will be greater, as the vehicle will sag without any pressure in the struts, making it unable to drive.

And to add to all these, the cost for maintenance is more than double the amount of traditional lift kits.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Do Air Suspension Lift Kits Improve the Driving Experience of a Truck?

The answer is “yes.” The truck produces less noise on rougher roads, and the air struts can negate vibrations better than springs. The overall driving experience is much less harsh and much more pleasing.

Do Air Suspension Lift Kits Improve the Fuel Economy of a Truck?

Yes, but it also depends on the driver’s preference. If the adjustable ride height of an air suspension system is used accordingly, the fuel efficiency increases.

The reason for this is that a lower height translates into better aerodynamics. So whether the truck is laden or unladen, its height can be adjusted so that it sits around the same height it came out of the factory with.

This lets the driver optimize the fuel economy in any situation—something that the conventional lift kits cannot do.

Do Air Suspension Lift Kits Improve the Performance of a Truck?

Yes, technically they do. As other types of lift kits fix a vehicle to a higher height, which translates into reduced balance, air suspensions can lower it as much as possible.

This means cornering will be faster and easier, acceleration and braking will be improved, while the option to raise it for other purposes still remains in the driver’s hands.

How Do Air Suspension Lift Kits Affect the Health of a Truck?

The adjustable ride height also means less stress on key components on challenging terrains.

Also, a truck fitted with air suspensions sits level with any amount of weight loaded in any way. This along with the reduced vibrations caused by an air suspension means less wear and tear of important components of the truck.