Air suspensions use inflatable bags to provide a smooth and comfortable ride. Along with the comfort, some air suspension systems allow adjustments of the ride height to accommodate for rough terrain. The air suspension system comprises of an air compressor, the 4 bags at each wheel, and height sensors to monitor how much the bags inflate. Every time the car is started, the computer runs a quick test on the compressor and bags to check for leaks.
What the air suspension warning light means
The car’s computer will turn on the air suspension warning light if it detects any abnormal activity. Typically, this will occur if the compressor isn’t providing as much air as it should or if there is a leak in the one of the bags. A leak in one of the bags will cause the ride height to be lower, which is detected by the computer using the height sensor. Always have the height sensors checked out before replacing a bag as these can malfunction and give a false reading causing the warning light to illuminate.
What to do when the air suspension warning light is on
When this light comes on, the computer will save a code to identify any issues that it has detected. Without a scan tool to read the code, it could be very hard to identify what is causing the issue so it’s always best to have the car scanned for codes. You can remove wheels and inspect the bags for any excessive cracking or leaks, but you should still have the car scanned in case there are multiple codes stored.
Is it safe to drive when the air suspension warning light is on?
Depending on the severity of the issue, it may or may not be safe to drive your vehicle when this light comes on. If you have one bag that is leaking slowly, the compressor will just need to work a little harder to try and keep the car at the correct height. In this case, the car won’t handle quite as well so only drive the vehicle if completely necessary. Take extra care on bumps and rough roads as the suspension won’t be able to absorb the impacts as well. Now, let’s say the compressor doesn’t work and all the bags are completely deflated. In this situation, the car should not be driven at all. Not only will the car have terrible handling, without the suspension to absorb any knocks, all the impacts will be transferred to the body of the car which is not designed for this sort of thing.
If your air suspension light is on, our certified technicians are always available to help you diagnose any issues you may be experiencing. Our experienced technicians can even replace the air suspension compressor or the air suspension dryer for you, if needed.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Does the Air Suspension Warning Light Mean? and was authored by Spencer Cates.