Air spring maintenance checklist

Smart fleet managers utilize top quality and thoroughly tested air springs to provide thousands of miles of smooth and safe rides. An investment in the right air springs will often outlast other maintenance items in a suspension system. Durable air springs can last years when properly understood and maintained.

Most pre-mature air spring failures are caused by improper maintenance or abuse associated with other problems with the suspension, according to Dave Vanette, manager of new business development for Firestone Industrial Products. Regularly scheduled maintenance, normally quarterly, bi-annually or every 50,000 miles, can save a fleet time and money. Vanette says routine inspections should take special note of any debris, cuts, deformities or rubs that could lead to suspension problems. Firestone Industrial Products has developed a maintenance tip list for suspension checks:

Outside diameter: Inspect the outside diameter (OD) of the air spring and check for signs of irregular wear or heat cracking.

Air line contact: Check to be sure air lines do not make contact with the OD of the air spring. Friction from contact with the air line can create a hole in the air spring.
Ride height: The correct ride height should be maintained within ¼ in. This dimension, established by the OEM, can be checked with the vehicle loaded or empty.
Shock absorbers: Inspect the shock absorbers for leaking hydraulic oil and damaged connectors. It is important to replace a broken shock absorber with the correct replacement part immediately as the shock ultimately controls extension of the air spring.
Mounting hardware: Check the tightness of all mounting hardware (nuts and bolts). If loose, re-torque to manufacturers specifications.
Cleaning: Air springs should be cleaned with soap and water, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. Never use organic solvents, open flames, abrasives or direct pressurized steam cleaning.

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