Do Airbags Increase Payload Capacity? (Towing Capacity)

You may have heard salesmen tell you or your friends that to increase the truck’s payload, all you have to do is add air bags. Well, what they are not telling you is that is not the right thing to do. They tell you this in hopes of making a sale.

The best answer to this question is a simple ‘no’. Air bags do not increase the payload weight limit on your vehicle. Your suspension system, axles, and springs can only handle a certain amount of weight whether air bags are added or not.

To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can make the right air bag purchase decision. The amount of cargo your vehicle can carry is determined by the manufacturer’s ratings, not air bags.

Do Airbags Increase Payload Capacity?


No, they do not. Airbags are not designed to increase your payload capacity simply because they cannot change the ratings on your springs, axles, or even tires.

All of those parts are given a specific rating and adding airbags does nothing to alter those ratings. Your suspension, axles, and tires are given a specific weight rating and that is all the weight they can hold no matter what other upgrades you add to your vehicle.

What airbags are designed to do is to help support the load you are carrying especially when the load shifts or there is too much weight on the rear axle. These devices can help level your tow vehicle and trailer but they will not do anything that will allow you to overload your truck or trailer.

Even if the salesman tells you that there is a so-called fudge factor built-in because truck manufacturers know that owners will overload their trucks, do not believe them. The legal weight rating is listed on all the tags and labels the manufacturer places on the truck.

Also, do not believe the salesman when he or she tells you to just add airbags to get more cargo capacity. They are misleading you to make a sale. Air bags will help your towing situation but do not help when you want to bring more supplies and equipment than the truck can hold.

Do Airbags Increase Towing Capacity?


In a word, ‘no’. Air bags are not weight enhancing devices. These items have no influence over the stated weight capacities for towing or any other weight capacity listed for your vehicle.

Each weight capacity is a rating given by the manufacturer for each weight category listed for trucks, etc. Those ratings are defined by the parts installed in the vehicle.

For example, if your axle is rated for 3500 pounds, adding air bags will not increase that strength. If you put air bags onto your suspension system, the weight rating of the axle remains at 3500 pounds and will not last if you place 4000 pounds of cargo on your vehicle.

The same goes for shocks, springs, and other parts of the vehicle you own. The maximum amount of weight they are rated to hold, cannot be changed by adding air bags to the suspension system

How Much do Airbags Add To Towing Capacity?


They do not add anything to your vehicle’s towing capacity. That topic has already been explained in previous sections. What suspension air bags (keep in mind that suspension airbags are not the same as the safety airbags in your steering wheel, etc.) add to your towing experience is as follows:

- they provide a more comfortable ride when you are under load

- they can improve your handling when you have a trailer hooked up on the back end

- they can level your trailer and tow vehicle so you are not damaging your rear end

- they help keep your headlights level.

But there are some negative aspects to adding air bags to your suspension system.

- installation is not always easy. They should be professionally installed for optimum performance

- these devices are not cheap

- they will need maintenance as the rubber can tear, etc.

- when they fail, the load can shift causing yo dangerous driving issues

What suspension air bags do is help your suspension system bear the weight of your load. It does nothing to increase your load capacities.

How Much Weight Can an Airbag Lift?


This may be where the confusion comes in regards to adding weight to your payload and towing capacities. Different suspension air bags are rated to hold a variety of weight.

These weight ratings guide you to place the correct air bag on your suspension system. For example, you would not put an air bag rated for 1000 pounds on an axle that can hold 3500 pounds. It is just too light.

The different ratings and one set from one company ranges between 1000 to 7500 pounds, which will ensure that you buy the right suspension air bag for the weight capacity of your vehicle.

If your vehicle’s axles are rated for 3000 pounds and you add air bags that are rated to work with 3000 pounds, that combination is not added together. You do not get an immediate increase in weight capacity to 6000 pounds.

Your truck or vehicle can only hold 3000 pounds even with the added help. This is where some people may make their mistake and add hundreds of pounds of cargo more than their vehicle can hold.

Some Additional Words

Air bags, while a bit expensive, can help your towing situation. But it will not help in increasing your weight capacities. If you want to add more cargo, then you will have to upgrade to a bigger truck.

Or change your suspension system to higher weight levels and both options are far more expensive than adding suspension air bags. Suspension air bags will improve your towing situation as long as you remain within the weight rules that govern towing trailers or vehicles.

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