Air Suspension vs Coilovers: What’s the Difference?

Air Suspension vs Coilovers: What’s the Difference?


It is more than likely you've heard the terms air suspension and coilovers tossed around more times than you can count. But which of those is the better option for you? Today, we will dissect these two suspension systems, comparing and contrasting their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. 

The Short Answer: Air suspensions offer a smooth ride and adjustable ride height but are on the pricier side and have more parts that could potentially fail. Coilover suspension, on the other hand, excel in performance-based driving and are more wallet-friendly, though they leave you with a fixed ride height after leaving the garage that struggles to bear weight.

Air Suspension vs Coilovers: Understanding Coilovers 

Coilovers, shortened from "coil springs over shock," are a straightforward but efficient type of suspension setup. This system effectively integrates coil springs and shock absorbers into a single component, effectively upgrading a vehicle's stock shocks and springs. 

Infographic outlines the main benefits of coilovers.

The Benefits of Coilovers

Coilovers hold a dear spot in the hearts of performance-focused car enthusiasts. They are primarily appreciated for their exemplary handling during high speed drives or on racing tracks. The stiffness associated with coilovers curtails body roll, resulting in more confident cornering. Plus, they offer customization capabilities like ride height and spring rate alteration, affording you greater control over your car’s performance.

Coilovers are also relatively lower in terms of cost when compared to air suspension systems, making them a palatable option for budget-conscious car lovers.

The Downsides of Coilovers

However, no system is without its drawbacks. One main downside to coilovers is the inability to adjust ride height on the fly, post-installation. This might have your vehicle scraping over speed bumps or bottoming out in steep parking lots. Not to mention, it could lead to potential discomfort over extended driving distances.

To tally it up, while coilover setups bring merits such as performance enhancement and affordability to the table, they are not devoid of limitations like the fixed ride height once installed.

Air Suspension vs Coilovers: Understanding Air Suspension 

Air suspension systems, also known as air ride systems, replace conventional coil springs with air springs known as air bags. These inflatable rubber bladders are filled with air by an onboard air compressor via air lines. They flex and adjust to the road surface, ensuring a better ride even on uneven terrains. 

Infographic outlines the main benefits of installing an air suspension system.

The Advantages of Air Suspension

One of the main advantages of air suspension is ride height adjustability on the fly through a Bluetooth app. This means you can lift your car high for rough terrain, then lower it for improved stability at high speeds, or to make a stylish exit at the local car show. 

Air suspension systems also provide an impressively smooth ride, absorbing most road bumps. Moreover, they help maintain consistent ride quality regardless of your vehicle's load. Didn't think a suspension system could be smart? The air ride system adjusts for extra passengers or trunk loads, offering a comfortable ride in any situation.

The Downsides of Air Suspension

But, every rose has its thorns, and air suspensions are no exceptions. On one hand, they offer luxury ride comfort and height adjustability, but on the other, they can be quite expensive both in terms of initial costs and potential maintenance. Plus, more complexity means more can go wrong, and air suspension repairs can be costlier than with coilovers.

Air Suspension vs Coilovers: Scenario Comparison 

In our exploration of air suspension and coilovers, we've covered the fundamentals. Let's now dive deeper and consider real-life driving scenarios that may affect your choice of suspension.

The Best Suspension System for Performance Driving

If you enjoy windy mountain drives or high-stakes track days, you might want to lean towards coilover systems. Known for their sturdy build and decreased body roll, coilovers offer the fortitude needed in these tough driving conditions, providing a tight and secure feel needed for sporty driving. 

The Best Suspension System for your Daily Driver 

For drivers primarily concerned with a smooth commute or regular long-distance driving, an air suspension system would be the way to go. Regardless of how much the road changes beneath you, the air system adjusts, absorbing the impact from speed bumps, potholes, or rough surfaces to provide a consistently comfortable ride. 

The Best Suspension System for Versatility

If you appreciate versatility in your driving experience – tackling tough terrains and cruising highways on different days – you should also lean towards an air suspension system. The swift height adjustability provided by this system supports a lifted posture for rough terrains while enabling a lowered stable base for high-speed drives or when you want to show off at local car shows. 

Performance Comparison

From the performance point of view, both suspension systems have their unique merits. Coilovers, made for racing lovers, are known for their enhanced steering response, reduced body roll, and adjustable sway bar. This instills confidence in drivers when they attack curves, offering a sharper, more controlled driving dynamic. 

Air suspension, on the other hand, offers a ride that competes with luxury vehicles. The air springs work like pillows for your car, making it almost glide over bumps. They keep your vehicle at an optimum ride height, regardless of the load, enhancing ride stability and comfort. 

Which Should You Choose?

So, it's decision time – air suspension or coilovers? Well, your choice should depend on your personal preference. Are you chasing performance or preferring comfort? Are you willing to spend a little more for added versatility, or is budget a concern? Remember, there's no right or wrong here – both will offer a big upgrade off of stock suspension systems. 

Air Suspension vs Coilovers: How Far From Stock Can Help 

Now, if you're uncertain about which path to tread, we've got some good news for you. The experts at Far From Stock can help guide you through your decision. Born from a hobby and built up into a business, we've got our roots in the car world and our eyes on providing excellent customer service and trustworthy components. 

We've got top-performance air suspension kits and coilover kits. So, whether you're craving the on-the-fly adjustability and smooth sailing of air suspension, or you're a track enthusiast looking for coilovers, we've got your back.

When it comes to pimping your ride, it's not just about boosting performance or nailing the look – it's about making it feel like it's truly yours. So check out our custom suspension options and see how far your ride can go with Far From Stock!
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