Air Springs and Off-Road Driving


Air Lift air springs are designed to work with many stock four wheel (4WD) drive vehicles while driving under normal road conditions, even through snow.

Like any other component of your vehicle, the air bags have design limitations. Limitations on air springs are defined primarily in air bag length and pressure.

If your four wheel driving is off-road, then it’s important that you understand the air spring limitations and follow these directions

Like most aftermarket products, using Air Lift air springs in off-road applications, modifying components of the kit, or installing in a manner inconsistent with the installation manual may void the warranty.

Air Bag Length

The minimum and maximum lengths specified assure against damage to the air bag as a result of suspension travel. When operating your 4WD vehicle in a manner that might exceed the air bag’s length limits, the use of limiting straps and modified jounce bumpers are recommended. These items must be installed in a manner that limits the suspension travel to the air bag’s maximum and minimum heights.

If you lift your vehicle, the air springs mounting brackets can be blocked or modified to allow the air bags to be mounted at the proper height.

Air Bag Pressure

Each air bag has a minimum pressure that applies to an unloaded vehicle used under normal road conditions. Adjusting the air bag’s pressure to the minimum requirement while the vehicle is sitting still, does not assure against damage during off-roading. When the air bag is extended, its volume is increased and therefore the pressure drops. With RideControl series air springs, the end result is that the air bag may not roll down properly and the air bag may be damaged.

When off-roading, increase pressure in your air springs to ensure that the 5 PSI minimum requirement is met when the air bag is at its full extension.

These two tips can be summed up in the two points below:

  1. Do not allow the air bags to be the suspension travel limiter.
  2. With RideControl series air springs, increase the pressure prior to off-roading.


Air Lift air springs are not intended to be used as a “lift kit” to provide additional ground clearance. Doing so will create a very stiff and uncomfortable ride. Lift your vehicle first and use Air Lift air springs and air spring spacers for additional load support.