So you want to drop your ride and stop on a dime? It’s time to upgrade your stock suspension and brake systems. You’ve seen those trucks and hot rods cruising down the street, riding low and looking mean. How do they do it? Air suspension kits and high-performance brake systems, that’s how. If you’re ready to transform your vehicle into a showstopper, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about air suspension and brake upgrades so you can get low and stop fast.
Introduction to Air Suspension Kits
An air suspension kit is essential if you want to lower your ride with the push of a button. These kits replace your factory springs and shocks with air springs and air shocks or struts that can be inflated or deflated as needed.
The Benefits of Air Suspension
Air suspension kits offer a smooth, adjustable ride. You can raise your vehicle for speed bumps or inclines, then lower it for cruising. They also provide better handling, braking, and cornering. Your wheels stay planted on the road at any height.
For show vehicles, air suspension is a must. You can drop your ride to the ground for maximum impact, then raise it up to a drivable height. Some systems allow you to preset ride heights for different uses.
A basic air suspension kit will include air springs or air bags, air lines or tubing, an air compressor, air shocks or struts, and an air management system. The air management system, like an air controller or switch box, lets you control the air pressure in each air spring to adjust ride height.
More advanced kits may include additional components like air tanks, water traps, gages, and high-flow compressors for faster inflation and deflation. For the best performance, choose a system designed specifically for your vehicle make and model.
Air suspension kits can be installed by experienced DIYers with some mechanical ability. However, for the best results, it’s best left to a professional installation. They have the proper tools, training, and experience to install the kit safely and ensure all components are functioning properly before you hit the road.
Top 5 Air Suspension Kits for Your Vehicle
So you want to slam your ride? An air suspension kit is just what you need. Here are 5 of the best kits to transform your vehicle into a low rider.
1. Air Lift Air Suspension Kit
This trusted brand is one of the most popular, for good reason. Their kits are high quality, affordable, and designed for specific vehicles to ensure a perfect fit. The 3P air management system lets you control lift height from inside your cab. Raise it up to clear speed bumps, then drop it down once you hit the open road.
2. Firestone Air Suspension Kit
If you want air suspension designed for heavy-duty use, Firestone delivers. Their systems can handle up to 5,000 lbs per air spring and are built to last over 150,000 miles. The Ride-Rite kit comes with everything you need for a complete install, including air springs, air lines, valves, and a compressor. And their kits won’t break the bank.
3. Hellwig Air Suspension Kit
Hellwig is another reputable brand that produces air suspension kits for most popular vehicles like Chevy, Dodge, Ford, and Jeep. Their systems provide a smooth, adjustable ride and the ability to level your vehicle when towing or hauling heavy loads. Hellwig kits are also surprisingly affordable, given their reputation for high quality.
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How to Install an Air Suspension Kit
Installing an air suspension kit on your own can be challenging but rewarding. Here are the basic steps to get you rolling:
Gather the Necessary Tools and Parts
You’ll need some essential tools like wrenches, sockets, Allen wrenches, pliers, and a jack and jack stands to lift your vehicle. Make sure you have all the parts in your air suspension kit including air springs or bags, an air management system with a compressor, air lines or tubing, and mounting hardware.
Lift and Support the Vehicle
Park the vehicle on a level surface and engage the emergency brake. Place jack stands under the frame to support the weight of the vehicle. Never get under a vehicle supported only by a jack.
Remove the Existing Suspension
Remove the existing shocks and springs. This may require removing the sway bar end links and track bar as well. Consult a repair manual for your specific vehicle to determine what needs removal.
Install the New Air Springs
Mount the new air springs or bags at the same points where the stock springs were located. This typically involves bolting the top mount to the frame and the bottom mount to the axle. Make sure the air fittings point away from the wheel well so you can access them.
Install the Air Management System
Mount the compressor, air tank, pressure sensors, and control panel in your trunk or under the hood. Run air line tubing from the compressor to the air springs and from the air springs to the air tank. all wiring for the pressure sensors and control panel.
Connect Power and Test
Connect the power cable from the air management system to your vehicle’s battery. Air up the system and test each air spring to ensure there are no leaks. Make final adjustments to the control panel to set your ride height.
You now have an air suspension system ready to provide an ultra-smooth ride. Take it for a spin and enjoy the new customizable stance and handling. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Why You Should Upgrade Your Brakes and Rotors Kit
Why You Should Upgrade Your Brakes and Rotors Kit
When it comes to stopping your vehicle, the braking system is critical. Upgrading your brake pads, rotors, calipers and other brake components with an aftermarket air suspension kit and brakes and rotors kit will significantly improve your braking performance.
- Improved stopping power. Aftermarket brake pads and rotors are designed to withstand higher temperatures and pressures, allowing them to grip better and stop your vehicle more quickly. This can reduce your stopping distance by up to 20% compared to worn out OEM brake pads and rotors.
- Less brake fade. As your brakes heat up during hard or repeated braking, they can experience “brake fade” where they lose effectiveness. Performance brake pads and rotors are built to withstand much higher heat without fading, giving you consistent stopping power even when braking aggressively.
- Longer lifespan. Premium aftermarket brake pads and rotors are made of higher quality, more durable materials so they last significantly longer than standard parts. Many kits can provide 2-3 times the lifespan of OEM brake pads and rotors. This means fewer brake jobs and lower cost of ownership over the life of your vehicle.
- Customized look. Many performance brake kits allow you to customize the look of your brake system with options like red, blue or black painted calipers. This can enhance the appearance of your wheel wells and entire vehicle.
- Improved handling. Stronger, grippier brakes give you more control and confidence while braking. This allows you to brake later and harder going into turns, which can help improve your vehicle’s handling and performance driving experience.
The Best Brakes and Rotors Kits for Different Vehicles
The braking system is one of the most important safety mechanisms in your vehicle. Choosing high-quality brake pads and rotors that match your specific vehicle make and model is key to safe and effective braking.
Brake pads are what actually make contact with your brake rotors to slow and stop your vehicle. For most cars and light trucks, ceramic or metallic brake pads are good options. Ceramic pads tend to produce less brake dust and noise, while metallic pads typically have a longer lifespan. Either can work well for everyday driving.
rotors, also known as brake disks, are what the brake pads clamp down on to stop your vehicle’s wheels from spinning. Brake rotors come in a variety of materials as well, including cast iron, carbon fiber and composite materials. For most drivers, cast iron or composite rotors will work great. Carbon fiber rotors are more expensive and really only needed for high performance driving or towing.
The size, shape and bolt pattern of your brake rotors must match your vehicle’s specifications. The wrong size or incorrectly installed rotors can be dangerous. It’s best to check your owner’s manual or vehicle specs to determine the proper sizing.
Some highly-rated, affordable brake pad and rotor kits for common vehicles include:
- Power Stop Z23 Evolution Brake Kit for Ford F-150
- Akebono ACT914 ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad and Rotor Kit for Toyota Camry
- Bosch BC905 QuietCast Premium Disk Brake Pad and Rotor Set for Chevy Silverado
Keeping your brakes in good working order with a quality brake pad and rotor kit is one of the best ways to ensure safe and dependable operation of your vehicle for years to come. Be sure to follow the recommended replacement intervals in your owner’s manual. Your brakes aren’t something you want to cut corners on!
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