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Active Air Suspension: Reliability?!

Discussion in 'Model S' started by gg_got_a_tesla, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    As per (the-soon-to-go-dark-for-a-day) Wikipedia, Air Suspension systems have some reliability concerns (typically caused by moisture or road debris):

    Does anyone have prior experience with air suspension systems and their reliability?! Are they any less reliable overall than traditional spring suspension systems? Is it worth staking $1,500 on?!


     
  2. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    My father has an Audi A8 with air suspension and he has never had any issues with the suspension, regular springs tend to rust and snap here in Sweden because of the climate and salty roads.
     
  3. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I'm investigating the same type of things. I don't want a super-reliable car with a much less reliable suspension. What I've found so far is that:

    -Typically incorrect installation (not by OEMs) significantly degrades reliability (not an issue here).
    -Air suspensions have increased reliability significantly in the last 10 years or so (no data to back that up...just based on opinions and what I've read on the net).
    -They are more complex than regular suspensions (obviously), so by their very nature are less reliable. However, whether the difference is worth worrying about--I haven't confirmed yet.
    -Replacement/repair costs are significantly higher with air suspensions...again, whether significant concern over this is warranted is still unconfirmed.
    -System failure *can* render cars undriveable, although I'm not sure if that's the case with the Model S.
     
  4. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    I have a Mercedes GL450 with air suspension. 5 years and 80,000 miles with no issues. Failure in the S would likely just render you unable to negotiate steep driveways and speedbumps until repaired.
     
  5. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    That's what I would suspect as well--typically some sort of backup safety spring toward the bottom end of travel if there is a breach of air containment (that sounded like a line from Star Trek).
     
  6. Lyon

    Lyon 2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D

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    Our Land Rover has an air suspension system that has had no problems in the four years that we've owned it. I think that the poor reliability of early implementations has been largely corrected
     
  7. William13

    William13 Member

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    14 years no problem until daughter totaled Lexus.
     
  8. grisnjam

    grisnjam P6316

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    My wife has the same car with about the same mileage and we actually had the suspension fail a few months back. When the car was on everything was fine but when we turned the car off the front end would sink almost immediately. The car was fully drivable and was fixed by MB quickly. It seems that this type of failure is so rare that they had mechanics from other dealers coming over to see it.
     
  9. bint2k

    bint2k Member

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    I've heard audi allroad's having problems like this...
     
  10. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Yes, a quick search revealed several threads on this on multiple forums. Hmm... given some of the other positive input, I guess air suspension could be a mixed bag then. In my opinion, it's seemingly not worth the upfront expense and long-term reliability risk for a smooth(er) ride, small increase in range and the very occasional need to clear steep driveways and such?!

    It'd also probably be easier to get traditional spring suspensions repaired/replaced by regular auto service centers. The air suspension option may make more sense for a potential offroad vehicle (such as the X?!) rather than the S, it appears. Okay, am saving my $1,500 for the pano roof or the Nappa Leather then!

    Thanks all for the input!
     
  11. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    A friend bought a Land Rover with air suspension and it failed after 4 months. Since he bought the car used, albeit certified, it really sucked since the car came with 90 day/1000 mile warranty. $4000 in repairs. He drove the car for 3 more years with substantial repair costs, never drove it off road (he bought it to ride higher than everyone else) and dreaded every minute of it.

    I don't want to be in that position. In order for me to buy into the air suspension it better keep the car flat in tight turns and have a better warranty than stock suspension (aka as long as the battery 8y/125M).
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    "A friend of mine bought a car with [wheels] and [bad stuff happened]. I don't want to buy a car."

    Moral: be careful when generalizing.
     
  13. rlawson4

    rlawson4 Member

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    I could use a little education on this issue. I am not a performance driver. I am a speed limit driver. I have never had a sports car. Do I want this feature? The price is not the issue. The price versus choosing other options is also not an issue. Why would I want it and what does it do? Why would I not want it? Thanks in advance. I really appreciate everything I have learned here.
     
  14. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    What Tesla has said is that it will:

    - reduce drag on the freeway and increase mileage
    - enable you to raise the car above some obstacles
    - enable you to raise the car for ease of access
    - provide better handling
     
  15. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Realizing that might have come across as flippant, being less general might be helpful.

    Latest News : Vehicle Dynamics International
    2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Images, Pricing and News (Overland, Limited, Laredo) | Conceptcarz.com
    Jeep Grand Cherokee WK2 - Quadra-Lift Air Suspension system
    Quadra Lift - JeepForum.com
    Apparently they talk about it a lot on these forums, but I didn't find the definitive post(s) they kept referring to that supposedly discussed the reliability of the Jeep implementation.
    Suspension/Driveline/Brakes/Wheels/Tires - JeepGarage.Org - We Are Jeep!

    Anyway, hope this helps.
     
  16. rlawson4

    rlawson4 Member

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    Does this happen automatically or do i manually switch the height?
     
  17. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    When I say "enable you", that means manually.
     
  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    And when he says manually, he means a lever/knob/switch/screen-tap not a screwdriver and wrench. At least I presume... ;)
     
  19. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    #19 Larry Chanin, Jan 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
    Hi Mycroft,

    Won't it also have an "automatic" mode that will adjust height based on speed?

    Thanks.

    Larry
     
  20. rlawson4

    rlawson4 Member

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    Without an automatic mode I am uninterested. Also, is the ride significantly better?
     

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