Independent garages are being encouraged to check over all customer vehicles that enter the workshop, paying particular attention vehicles equipped with air suspension systems as families prepare for summer holiday ‘staycations’.
An Arnott spokesperson said: ” Summer holidays usually mean the vehicle is being used differently with overpacking, hauling, more miles.
“All these additional conditions cause extra strain on the car’s engine, driveline and suspension.
“Checking the suspension is indeed an important factor.”
The advantage of a vehicle equipped with air suspension is that the system conveniently levels the car under all circumstances, including heavy loads and towing.
Air suspension systems use a compressor to inflate rubber air springs – which may be separate from the shock absorber or combined with the damper as an air suspension strut.
Height sensors give the electronic control unit a signal when the vehicle is not at a predetermined height.
The compressor then pumps air into the air springs until the proper height is reached.
The spokesperson added: “Like all rubber components, air springs and struts are wear and tear parts.
“Typically, the rubber will dry rot and small cracks can form where the air bladder rolls upon itself.
“On average, an air suspension part will need to be replaced in six to ten years.
“Mileage, climate, driving conditions and off-road usage will also influence the replacement rate.”
Symptoms of a leaking leaking air suspension spring include a drop in vehicle height while it is parked overnight.
The spokesperson added: “A small existing leak may go unnoticed by the driver.
“At the beginning, the compressor is still able to maintain adequate pressure, despite the leak.
“But as the leak gets bigger the compressor will get overheated (or burn-out) in its attempt to reach the required pressure and ride height.
“The extra load of the holiday luggage and/or winding roads in the mountains will create even more stress, making it absolutely crucial to have the system checked before starting the journey.
“So in practice when you perform a ‘holiday check’, spray the system with a water and soap solution to detect leaks before your customer gets stranded.”
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