Bentley Suspension Systems: Ensuring a Smooth Ride through Proper Maintenance


For over 100 years, the name Bentley has been associated with luxury.

From the launch of the EX1 in 1919 all the way to the more recent Bentley Flying Spur, the manufacturer has stuck to its founder's mission — "to build a good car, a fast car, the best in its class."

Today, Bentley's advanced vehicles are sold in 67 different markets across the world and are renowned for their grand performance and beautiful interiors.

However, like all other advanced machines, they aren't completely perfect. In fact, the highly sophisticated Bentley suspension system, which ensures passengers enjoy a comfortable ride, is exceptionally prone to failures — especially when proper maintenance schedules aren't followed.

For Bentley owners, this can be frustrating - after all, a car this good has no business developing such expensive problems. Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid such errors from snowballing.

In this article, we'll cover the most common air suspension warning signs and outline the best ways to deal with faults before it's too late.

Understanding Bentley Suspension Systems

First, let's understand the role of a suspension.

This system is usually found between the vehicle's frame and the road. Its main job is to absorb bumps and offer a smooth drive. However, beyond that, its various components also improve handling, and prevent premature tire degradation by ensuring optimal contact between the wheel and the road.

Over the years, car manufacturers, including Bentley, have experimented with various types of suspension systems. Today, most of its models, including the Bentley Continental GT and the Bentley Mulsanne, come fitted with air suspension.

Bentley air suspension is a complicated system that relies on air springs and an electronic control unit to ensure the comfort of its passengers. These springs are made from a rubber and polyurethane composite, and are filled with air via a compressor. These filled bags then absorb vibrations from even the most uneven surfaces.

Some cars are also fitted with adaptive dampers or shock absorbers, which allow drivers to adjust the vehicle's height depending on the terrain, or personal preferences.

Meanwhile, the electronic control unit gathers information from various sensors to monitor road conditions and adjust settings accordingly.

Essentially, the major components of a Bentley air suspension system are:

An air suspension failure could refer to a problem that develops in any of these parts.

Common Issues with Bentley Suspension Systems

Despite being an advanced system crafted with the highest quality parts, Bentley suspensions are not without their faults. Some issues that indicate it's time for Bentley auto repairs include, but are not limited to:

Leaks

Air Springs are a core component of a Bentley suspension system, and are located at each wheelbase. Over time — due to general wear and tear, road debris, or even cold weather, these bags can be punctured, resulting in leaks.

However, it's not just the springs that are vulnerable: leaks can also develop in the lines that connect the compressor to the airbags. Some common air suspension leak symptoms to look out for include a hissing noise or an uneven ride height.

Electronic Malfunctions

As mentioned, Bentley suspensions are fitted with various electronic components, including several sensors. Over time, these components may malfunction due to wear and tear or outdated software. To prevent major damage, it's crucial that you never ignore the dashboard warning light, as this is the best indicator of such errors.

Faulty Compressor

It isn't uncommon for an air suspension compressor to malfunction over time. In most cases, this results from a leak that's overworking the compressor and causing it to burn out. However, moisture has also been known to impact its functioning, along with issues with the various seals and gaskets that keep the compressor closed.

Bentley suspension system

Signs of Bentley Air Suspension Problems

By the time you notice any of the issues mentioned above, it's likely that your car is already in need of extensive repairs. However, if you want to fix the problem before it's too late, look out for the following signs:

Routine Maintenance for Bentley Suspension Systems

As you may have noticed, the most common air suspension issues are caused by wear and tear. Therefore, the best way to prevent them is through regular maintenance.

It's recommended that you get your Bentley serviced every 8,000-16,000 km or at least once a year. However, suspension issues can crop up at any time and may require a stricter maintenance schedule.

Here are some tips on maintaining air suspension systems on your own.

Regularly Check for Leaks

One of the best ways to check for leaks is to listen closely for any abnormal sounds. Alternatively, you can borrow a method often used to check tires for punctures—create a soap and water solution and spray it on the airbags and lines. If the solution bubbles up at a particular point, you probably have a leak in that region.

Monitor Tire Conditions

Air suspension issues often translate to irregularities in tire conditions. During a routine check, look out for uneven treads or bald spots on the tire, which indicate a problem with the suspension. At the same time, make sure your tires are always inflated according to the manufacturer's specifications to ensure they don't put any additional pressure on the car's intricate suspension system.

Clean Thoroughly

Crucial air suspension components — such as airbags and struts, as well as seals, gaskets, and fuses — must be kept clean at all times. This prevents debris from collecting, which, in turn, prevents leaks and punctures from forming in critical components.

Perform Bounce Tests

One of the easiest ways to check if your air suspension is working as it should is through a "bounce test." To do this, go to each corner of your car and push down. If the car bounces back immediately, your suspension is working fine. However, if the car keeps bouncing or takes a while to return to normal height, it's time for a check-up.

While these DIY tips can help prevent some issues from developing, they aren't guaranteed to keep your air suspension free of trouble. Instead, the only proper way to ensure the longevity of a system is by getting it regularly checked by a professional with dedicated training in how to fix luxury cars.

A professional mechanic who checks air suspensions can identify issues with the compressor or electrical components that may otherwise go unnoticed — and that might be dangerous to inspect without the right tools.

Advanced Care Techniques

Because Bentley's suspension system is so complicated, regular maintenance practices may not be enough.

In some cases, air ride systems may require detailed troubleshooting with an OBD 2 scanner. Familiarizing yourself with Bentley error codes can help you identify problems related to sensors, wiring, or shock absorbers. A licensed professional can help you scan for issues, as well as carry out a Bentley air suspension reset when required.

Furthermore, the software also plays a massive role in ensuring an air suspension works as it should. Ensure that your car's software is updated regularly to improve longevity.

It's also worth upgrading components every so often to enhance performance and reduce strain on other parts. Since Bentley air suspension repair costs can be quite high, it's often more cost-effective to upgrade components frequently than risk long-term damage to the whole system.

Choosing the Right Service for Your Bentley

Bentley owners are already aware of how valuable their vehicles are. Still, many make the mistake of choosing the wrong service provider for maintenance, leaving them with recurring, hard-to-fix problems.

Luxury cars, such as Bentleys, need to be serviced by professionals who use original parts and recommended fluids and are familiar with each system. Pre-2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur problems and post-2014 Bentley Flying Spur problems, for instance, can have vastly different solutions and must be fixed by a mechanic who understands the intricacies of their respective systems.

The most qualified service centers, such as Westminster Motors, will always use licensed and warranty-approved diagnostic and programming equipment, as well as the same software used by official Bentley dealerships.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, no matter how advanced your Bentley air suspension may seem, it is still prone to developing issues. Without proper maintenance, even the smallest issues can snowball into long-term problems.

Always remember to keep your car free of debris, monitor tire conditions, and regularly check for leaks — and don't forget to book regular maintenance appointments with a certified professional.

If you're looking for a mechanic with experience fixing tricky Bentley air suspension issues, don't hesitate to bring your car to Westminster Motors today. Alternatively, contact our team for more helpful solutions or to set up an appointment for your next Bentley engine maintenance session.