Choosing an Air Shock Line Kit: Rubber, Polyurethane, or Stainless Steel?
Changing the air shock lines in your car's air suspension system can be quite a hassle, but unless you want to drive around town with nothing to cushion you from the hard, bumpy road, replacement is a necessary task. Replacing an old air shock line using an air shock line kit is quite easy, as you will only basically choose from three options: rubber, polyurethane, and stainless steel lines. In this guide, we will go into detail of each of these air shock lines and weigh the pros and cons for you.
Air shock lines made of natural or synthetic rubber have long been the choice for many car enthusiasts because of their ability to mitigate vibration effectively and their high resistance to wear. More rubber air lines today also have an interlocking nylon weave sandwiched in between the rubber material, increasing their strength. However, due to the innate softness of the material, rubber air lines are highly vulnerable to punctures and tears.
Polyurethane air shock lines are stiffer and more resistant to damage than rubber. They are also highly resistant to UV rays and make a good insulator. And unlike rubber, which degrades when exposed to ozone, polyurethane lines degrade far slower and will last years longer than their rubber counterparts. The downsides of this material? It is known to emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and it is not biodegradable.
The most expensive of the three, stainless steel air shock lines are composed on an inner tube made of plastic or Teflon and a braided stainless steel outer shell. The inner material is designed to expand, creating additional direct pressure, while the exterior braid is designed to protect the inner tube from cuts and punctures. However, the disadvantage of this type of air shock line is that stainless steel tends to abrade or erode softer materials around it.
How to Replace the Air shock Lines with an Air Shock Line Kit
The air suspension components in your car are connected by a series of air shock lines that transfer pressurized air from one component to another. While air shock lines are built using heavy-duty rubber or polyurethane, they can deteriorate over time, especially when constantly exposed to harsh environments. What's more, rodents have also been known to bite into and puncture air shock lines. But for whatever reason they were damaged, a compromised air shock line should be replaced immediately. In this guide, we will show you how to replace your car's air shock lines using an air shock line kit.
Difficulty level: Moderate to difficult
- Air shock line kit
- Air compressor
- Jack and jack stands
Step 1: Move your care onto a level surface and set the parking switch. Locate the air suspension switch in your car and switch it off. The switch can be found inside the trunk, near the passenger side area, or inside the filler door. You can refer to your car's user manual on where the air suspension switch is located. Next, deflate the air shocks by pressing on the valve stem for each shock.
Step 2: Place a wheel chock in front of each of your car's front tires and set a floor jack at the rear of the vehicle. Raise the tires of the car off the ground and place a jack stand under each frame, directly in front of the rear tire.
Step 3: Clean the connecting point between the air shock line and the air suspension by wiping around the line with a clean rag.
Step 4: How you will remove the air shock lines from your car depends on the type of line installed on your car. If the line is secured by a plastic collar ? which is usually colored red or orange and located at the point where the air shock line meets the suspension ? simply push the collar towards the connection and pull out the line. But if the line is secured by a screw adapter and gasket, unscrew the adapter to pull the line free from the suspension.
Step 5: With the old lines out of the way, install the new air shock line in its place. The air shock line kit usually come with new gaskets and should replace the old ones in the screws as well. Make sure to moisten the gaskets with a bit of non-solvent lubricant before they are inserted back into the line and into the screw.
Step 6: Inflate the system at the valve stems and check the pressure with a tire gauge to ensure that it is at a proper level. Note that a typical air shock works optimally under load at 40 to 70 psi.