Air Ride Adaptive Suspension Vs Magnetic Ride Control

Air Ride Adaptive Suspension Vs Magnetic Ride Control

Bumpy and rough roads can be stressful, especially with a vehicle with worn-out suspension systems. To improve the ride into a smooth and sporty experience, you can install either an air ride adaptive suspension or a magnetic ride control.

Air ride adaptive suspension provides a smooth ride using air springs filled with air. This regulates the air volume for ride-height adjustment. On the other hand, a magnetic ride control provides a sporty ride using magnetic fluid in the shock absorbers mixed with iron particles which are magnetized to alter its viscosity.

This article will discuss the air ride adaptive suspension vs magnetic ride control systems with their significant comparison aspects. In addition, we shall review the operational mechanism of each suspension system.

Air Ride Adaptive Suspension Vs. Magnetic Ride Control: Quick Comparison

Below is a quick summary of the comparison between air ride adaptive suspension vs. magnetic ride control.

Comparison AspectsAir Ride Adaptive SuspensionMagnetic Ride Control
Suspension medium usedCompressed airMagnetic fluid with iron particles
Operation mechanismUses air springs instead of traditional coil springsUses sensors to continually read the road conditions
Raises or lowers the ride height and ground clearance in secondsAlters the damping rate of the shocks
Suspension size & weightWeighs between 12 and 15 pounds measuring 9.5 by 11.25 by 11.25 inchesWeighs 48.1 pounds measuring 25.5 by 13.8 by 7.7 inches
Travel lengthHas an adjustment travel length of 4 inchesHas a travel length of 8.6 inches
Suspension CapabilityUp to 5000 pounds of load-leveling capabilityUp to 4500 pounds of load-leveling capability
Main purposeTo provide a smooth rideTo provide a sporty ride experience
CostThe air ride suspension kit costs between $450 and $3,000The magnetic ride control kit costs between $300 and $1,500
Its installation costs between $1,000 and $2,000Its installation costs between $900 and $1,750

How Does The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension Work?

The air ride adaptive suspension works via a centrally located air pump connected to the suspensions on each wheel system. The air ride suspensions provide a smooth ride by absorbing the bumps and vibrations on rough roads.

The centrally placed pump injects air into the shock absorbers to raise the vehicle. Advanced systems are automated to lift the rear or front shock absorbers for better comfort.


It pumps air out of the shock absorbers to lower the vehicle, especially for sports vehicles.

Watch the video below to understand how the air ride adaptive suspension system works.

How Does The Magnetic Ride Control Work?

The magnetic ride control system uses a magnetic fluid in the shock absorbers. One may use iron particles in the liquid to improve the magnetic strength of the system.


Magnetic ride control is adjusted by controlling the voltage sent to the electromagnetic field. The more the voltage is sent to the magnetic field, the more the iron particles align in the fluid, making it hard for fluid to pass through the tiny piston holes.

The resultant impact is a stiff fluid that absorbs shocks and vibrations better.

The magnetic shock absorbers operate by sensing the road conditions and adjusting the fluid’s stiffness using a magnetic field.

It is the fastest suspension system in response, providing a more efficient method for shock and vibration absorption.

Watch the video below to understand how the magnetic ride control suspension works.

Air Ride Adaptive Suspension Vs Magnetic Ride Control: Detailed Comparison

Let’s look at the comparison factors for air ride adaptive suspension vs magnetic ride control system in detail.

  1.  Suspension medium used

The suspension medium is the definitive comparison between the two systems. The magnetic ride control uses a magnetic fluid enhanced with iron particles to improve its magnetic strength.

On the other hand, air ride adaptive suspension uses air as the medium for absorbing shock and vibrations. The air springs are operated by a pump that allows pumping in and out of the air to adjust the ride height.

  1. Operation Mechanism

Air ride adaptive suspension operates by raising and lowering the vehicle depending on the condition of the road. On a bumpy, rough road, the suspensions raise the car to a maximum of 4 inches of ground clearance.

The central pump injects more air into the air springs to raise the vehicle. The springs adjust the ride height in seconds upon receiving the imbalance on the roads.

On the other hand, magnetic ride control detects road conditions and sends a magnetic field to the magnetic fluid in the shock absorbers.

The magnetic field alters the damping rate of the shocks to provide a smooth, sporty riding experience.

  1. Suspension Size And Weight

The air ride adaptive suspension kit weighs between 12 and 15 pounds measuring 9.5 by 11.25 by 11.25 inches. On the other hand, the magnetic ride control suspension kit weighs 48.1 pounds measuring 25.5 by 13.8 by 7.7 inches.

However, the measurements may vary depending on the model and the year of the making of the suspension.

  1. Travel Length

The magnetic ride control suspension has an extensive travel length of 8.6 inches along the travel distance. The travel distance allows the pistons to cover an extensive length for efficient shock absorption.

Air ride suspension offers a travel length of 4 inches for the air springs allowing for efficient vibrations absorption.

  1. Suspension Capability

Air-ride adaptive suspension can hold up to 5,000 pounds of load-leveling capability. The springs adjust according to the weight carried by the vehicle.

On the other hand, magnetic ride control can carry up to 4,500 pounds. The suspension capability differs with the type and model of the suspension springs and medium.

  1. Main Purpose

Magnetic ride control is used in vehicles for a sporty experience where a better handling experience is needed. The magnetic suspension system provides a faster response time than the adaptive suspensions.

Air ride adaptive suspension is used where comfort and a smooth ride are needed. The tide-height adjustment by the air springs gives a smooth ride with better handling.

  1. Cost

The air ride adaptive suspension kit costs between $300 and $1,500, depending on the type of car and the weight load of the vehicle. Its installation costs range between $900 and $1,750, depending on the mechanic you hire.

Magnetic ride control suspension kit costs between $450 and $3,000 and depends on the vehicle type and model. Installing the suspension system will cost you between $1000 and $2000.

You can purchase and install suspension kits if you have the necessary skills to save on labor costs.

Different Types And Systems Of Air Ride Adaptive Suspension Systems

The air ride suspension system consists of two types, namely, convoluted and rolling lobe air springs.

  • Convoluted Air Spring

Convoluted air springs are made with single or double bellows holding air under pressure.

  • Rolling Lobe Air Spring

Rolling tube air springs are alternatives to fit in relatively small spaces in the tram and low-floor bogies. The elastic link absorbs the vibrations and shocks between the rail body and the ground level.

The air ride adaptive system operates in two methods depending on the type and model of the vehicle.

  • Open Air System

This system pulls air from the air supply unit to the reservoir for pressurizing. The pressurized air is then pumped into the air spring to absorb the vibrations.

  • Closed Air System

The closed-air system is similar to the open-air system but differs in that the closed system recycles the air released from the air springs. This reduces the noise emissions and provides a faster response time.

Benefits Of Using The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension

The air-ride adaptive suspension has the following advantages.

  • Highly reduced maintenance costs due to reduced vibrations and shocks transmitted to the chassis and other wheel compartments
  • Less wear and tear due to cushion and support from the air springs
  • Improved driver comfort and driving experience with a higher safety chance even on rough roads

Types of Magnetic Ride Control

Magnetic ride control suspension systems are classified in relation to the development stages through several generations. The first generation of magnetic ride control used a single magnetic coil in the piston of each damper.

The second and third generations introduced a double magnetic coil in the opposite direction that canceled the eddy current effect as present in the single magnetic coil.

From the third-generation suspensions, more improvement has been made to create a fourth-generation magnetic suspension. The 4th generation magnetic suspensions have accelerometers in the wheel hubs for faster and smooth transmissions across the damper stages.

Benefits Of Using Magnetic Ride Control

Using a magnetic ride control system guarantees you the following benefits.

  • A faster response time to road conditions than other adaptive suspension types
  • Improved vehicle stability
  • Reduced body rolling effect with a sporty experience even on rough roads
  • Improved vehicle handling even when at high speeds on unstable roads


Below are the frequently asked questions:-

Q: Can You Combine The Magnetic Ride Control And The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension?

Yes. You can install both suspension types on your vehicle, pairing the air ride adaptive suspension with the magnetic ride control.

The combination provides a premium feel while maintaining a confident, inspired handling.

Q: Which Is Better, Between Air Ride Adaptive Suspension And Magnetic Ride Control Systems?

Both systems are efficient for providing a smooth ride and improved handling depending on the road conditions.

However, the magnetic ride control has a faster response time as it uses sensors and magnetic fields to alter the damping rate of shocks. Therefore, you can use the magnetic ride control system for the best user experience.


The air ride adaptive suspension uses air springs to raise and lower vehicles through the suspensions. At the same time, the magnetic ride control uses magnetic fluids that operate with a sensory system.

Both suspension systems provide a smooth and comfortable ride. But the magnetic ride control suspension offers a better experience due to its fast response time. You can pair the air ride adaptive with the magnetic ride control for better ride handling.

Also Read:

OBS vs NBS: Comparative Differences Between OBS and NBS Trucks

Similar Posts