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How Should You Deal With A Damaged Suspension Airbag?

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Many people are surprised to learn that a heavy-duty truck relies on a bag full of air to keep it stable. Yet, this is mostly the case for goods vehicles or road trains, which have one of these devices on each corner for everyday use. If you own one of these vehicles, you know that a suspension airbag is typically very reliable, even though it is basically an inflatable rubber skin; however, issues can arise from time to time, and when they do, you'll certainly know about it. What signs should you be looking out for to tell you that you have an airbag issue, and how should you deal with this?

How Things Work

Your system relies on a central compressor to keep each one of these bags in perfect shape. This is linked to a drier mechanism that automatically gets rid of any unwanted moisture before sending the right amount of air into each bag. Your first sign of a problem may be a compressor that switches on but does not go off. While this may, on occasion, relate to a compressor problem instead, you may find that the machine is trying to blow up an airbag that is no longer contained. Usually, the compressor will only add or remove a small volume of air in any one go, based on what the self-levelling system tells it to do. After all, it is supposed to fine-tune the vehicle's performance in real-time as you encounter bumps, curbs or gradients.

Susceptible To Damage

Occasionally, an airbag can burst if you go over a particularly large pothole. On other occasions, it can begin to leak due to simple wear and tear or road debris. Remember, there's a lot of pressure inside, and any imperfections will be exaggerated.

Finding The Problem

Still, it's very unusual for an airbag to burst completely. You will often be dealing with a small tear that can be quite difficult to find. In this case, you can take a very simple approach and lather some soapy water all around the outside of the bag. When the compressor kicks on, you will notice some bubbles in your problem area and can take further action.

Repair Time

Unfortunately, it's not easy to replace a damaged bag. You'll certainly have to disconnect from the compressor and make sure that the vehicle's chassis is adequately supported before you start removing any bolts. Also, you may find that some of the parts are particularly stubborn as they have been sitting in place under pressure for some time.

The Better Approach

It's far better in this situation to hand over the job to a truck repair mechanic. They will have done this before and can get your vehicle back on the road as quickly as possible so it can continue to earn money.