Bentleys are some of the most sought-after luxury vehicles, as they perfectly blend everything you want from a luxury car while offering the performance of a true supercar. One defining characteristic of modern Bentleys is the air suspension system. Air suspension offers a smoother drive than traditional coil springs, and allows the driver to adjust the car’s ride height on a whim. Unfortunately, as air suspension is more complicated than coil springs, they have more ways in which they can fail. This is something we see regularly as part of regular Bentley maintenance.
Coil Springs Vs. Air Suspension
Your average car’s suspension consists of a shock absorber and a coil spring. With air suspension, the coil spring is replaced by a rubber air cylinder known as an air spring. This cylinder is filled with air from an onboard air compressor and air reservoir tank. Filling the air spring with air will raise your Bentley’s ride height, and releasing air back into the reservoir tank will lower the car’s ride height. This is ideal if you plan on taking your Bentley to the track.
How to Tell Your Bentley’s Air Suspension Has Failed
The most common way to tell your Bentley has an issue with air suspension is if you cannot adjust the ride height, or notice the car’s ride height drops overnight. An easy way to test this is raise your Bentley to its maximum ride height and then leave the car overnight. In the morning, if you are able to raise your ride height again, you need to get the suspension inspected.
Your Bentley’s height won’t drop while driving, as the air compressor will keep air levels at the required level. If your air compressor is not turning off while driving, this almost always indicates that a leak is present.
The Causes Of Air Suspension Failure
If you are unable to adjust your Bentley’s ride height, the first thing we inspect is the car’s air compressor. The air compressor may have blown a fuse, worn out the motor, or have broken fins of the compressor wheel. In some cases, the compressor can be refurbished, but most likely will require you to replace it.
If the compressor is operating properly and you still cannot adjust the ride height, the system may have a leak in it. A leak can be identified by disconnecting the system from the compressor and pumping an odorless smoke through the air lines. If any smoke escapes, your mechanic will be able to easily identify the leaks location.
Like all rubber components, age will cause rubber components to dry and crack. As the air spring begins to crack, it may develop leaks, or experience a full failure when trying to raise the suspension. This will require that the air spring be replaced. Traditionally, if one has failed due to age, it’s recommended to replace all the air springs on the car.
The Dangers Of Not Repairing A Bentley’s Air Suspension
Having the air suspension lower after a long period of time often leads Bentley owners to believe that repairing the issue is not urgent. Unfortunately, if there is a leak in your Bentley’s air suspension, there is a genuine risk that the air spring may empty out beyond Bentley’s specification, or empty out unevenly. This will put additional strain on components such as bushing and tie rod ends, causing them to wear prematurely or fail. Consequently, this can cause your wheel alignment to be incorrect. These issues can put all occupants of the car at risk, as the car may not handle correctly or react properly in an emergency.
Bentley Maintenance In Pompano Beach
Our Bentley maintenance team has kept many of South Florida’s most desired European cars on the road. From Bentleys to Ferraris, BMWs to Renaults, if its European, think Foreign Affairs Motorwerks.