Your Mercedes-Benz R350's air suspension system is responsible for ensuring a smooth ride, replacing conventional steel spring suspensions with a series of inflatable airbags full of compressed air. Its main components include airbag struts to inflate/deflate for height changes, ride height sensors, a pressurized air tank, and a controller. The tank and vehicle computer control the struts' air, feeding more or less air to lower or heighten the vehicle.
Keep reading to learn what an air suspension is, common Mercedes-Benz R350 air suspension issues (e.g., air suspension leak), and troubleshooting and repair tips for a Mercedes-Benz air suspension leak.
What's an Air Suspension?
Your Mercedes-Benz R350's air suspension system uses an electric pump or compressor instead of traditional leaf or coil springs to work as your vehicle's 'springs.' This allows your vehicle to ride very smoothly, even on bumpy terrains. Conventional steel spring suspensions have fallen by the wayside with many cars to improve upon efficiencies.
Your Mercedes-Benz R350's air suspension is at the rear of the vehicle, near the rear tires.
Contrary to popular belief, your Mercedes-Benz R350's air suspension airbags run constantly and not only when driving on rough and bumpy terrain.
What Are Some Symptoms of a Defective Mercedes-Benz R350 Air Suspension?
Here are some symptoms of a defective air suspension.
Lower Than Normal Ride Height
One of the most common symptoms of a defective air suspension is a lowered ride height. In this case, your compressor's pressurized air is not properly inflating airbags, resulting in a lowered stance. It may also sag to the side, especially in the case of air spring leaks.
Grinding, Clinking, or Whining Noises
Faulty compressor motors typically emit a loud whine or click while driving. This is due to overwork, causing premature wear and tear. One surefire way to check for a faulty air compressor is to check your vehicle's height. If lower than normal, your compressor could be compromised.
Leaking Air Spring
Small holes and tears in rubberized air springs could cause leaks. Leaking air springs are less capable of absorbing road shock, reducing cushioning for a bumpier ride. Our recommendation is to check for suspension airbag leaks after turning off the vehicle. If you hear it running while the car is off, there could be a potential leak.
An important function of an air compressor dryer is to remove moisture from the atmosphere for compression. Excess moisture could be due to a defective air dryer assembly, leading to corrosion. A simple way to verify this is to check for rust, a lowered ride height, or sagging to one side.
Is It Recommended to Drive with a Faulty Mercedes-Benz R350 Air Suspension?
It is highly recommended not to drive with a faulty air suspension. Leaking airbags could affect alignment angles and result in a bumpier ride with greater steering difficulty. Remember to replace any parts you need to with OEM Mercedes-Benz suspension parts.
How Do I Check My Mercedes-Benz R350's Air Suspension?
To check your Mercedes-Benz R350, we recommend looking for common signs. Is your ride feeling loose or rough? Is your ride height lower than usual? Is your vehicle sagging to one side?
Additionally, defective air dryers can be addressed with a quick visual inspection of all components to check for rust and corrosion.
Another troubleshooting tip is to check your air suspension compressor's voltage. Located behind the front bumper, you can check if power is leading to it by unplugging its electrical connector and using a multimeter to check for 12-volt power. If there is a low reading, we recommend inspecting the fuse and relay and checking fault codes for your air suspension's control unit using a diagnostic OBD II scanner, followed by a Mercedes-Benz R350 air suspension reset.
All in all, your Mercedes-Benz R350's air suspension is an integral part of your ride. In addition to ensuring a healthy ride height and providing a smoother alternative over traditional leaf springs, your Mercedes-Benz R350's air suspension allows you to absorb all of the bumps on the road without having your head hit the ceiling.