Leading Firestone distributor in Australia, Air Springs Supply advises local transport operators and businesses dependent on trucks that counterfeit air springs can compromise quality and safety in their operations. Firestone is the world’s top-selling air springs for truck suspensions.

According to Air Springs Supply, installing counterfeits is an invitation to safety and downtime risks as these look-alike products don’t offer the same quality, performance and reliability. Air Springs Supply has more than 30 years of experience as Australia's leading supplier of Firestone air springs and associated pneumatic technology for the transport sector, including heavy duty Firestone Airride rolling sleeve and convoluted airbags and Ride-Rite and Coil-Rite supplementary air suspension kits for lighter trucks, Utes, vans and 4wds.

Unlike counterfeits, Firestone and Air Springs have spent decades building the air springs market by delivering high safety products that are so tough they are warranted to be free of material and/or workmanship defects for 3 years or 300,000 miles (480,000 km), whichever occurs first. These air springs can achieve hundreds of thousands of kilometres above their expected service life.

While cheaper or unknown operators may disappear at the first sign of trouble, Air Springs Supply backs the performance and traceability of its Firestone air springs range throughout Australia with a countrywide network that ensures transport operators, truckers and work vehicle owners get the same quality as OEMs.

The real Firestone air springs used as OEM equipment on major truck brands and as replacements in modern vehicle suspensions throughout Australia are so tough they will often outlast other suspension components, including maintenance items such as bushings, shocks, levelling valves or regulators. Big rigs, semi-trailers, road trains and fleet and contractor vehicles – some with gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 100 tonnes – ride on the same basic type of robustly engineered high safety rubber-and-fabric airbags that are also used on trains, buses, tankers, 4wds, work vehicles, recreational vehicles, luxury limousines, and towing vehicles.

Air Springs Supply Sales Manager Mr Russell Chown comments that substitute airbags can be closely modelled on the appearance of the Firestone originals, but many have problems associated with poorer quality design, engineering and construction. This can adversely affect reliability, serviceability and risk management, which are crucial to transport operators.

He adds that a vehicle’s suspension is every bit as important to reliability, safety and risk management across major industries using trucks, including automotive and transport, mining and resources, manufacturing and logistics, fleet management and safety.

How to determine whether your Firestone Airide airbag is genuine

To determine whether a product is a genuine Firestone Airide airbag, read the assembly order number (AON) on the label adhered to the bead plate. If the number is illegible, read the bellows number, which is normally moulded directly underneath the Firestone logo. The Firestone Air Spring replacement guide provides comprehensive, illustrated advice for further verification.

Tell-tale defects of look-alike springs

Transport operators should look out for tell-tale signs of defect based on rust resistance, sealing reliability, piston strength, piston stud strength, and rubber and cord quality.

Mr Chown explains that Firestone air springs meet and exceed the world’s most rigorous testing standards with the products not allowed to leave the factory without first passing 190psi (13 bar) proof testing.

Air Springs Supply recently enhanced its commitment to national and global standards of quality assurance by gaining ISO 9001: 2008 Quality Management Systems – Requirements certification. The company places high priority on continuously reinforcing its customers’ confidence in doing business with an organisation that can consistently meet or exceed their needs on time.

Correct maintenance

Firestone Industrial Products Company offers a complete line of Airide springs, with replacement springs available for virtually every vehicular air suspension system. But even the best air springs need correct suspension maintenance to deliver the best performance.

Mr Chown says that since each individual air spring is closely examined and pressure tested at the factory, the vast majority of premature failures and consequent warranty returns have been tracked to other problems associated with the suspension.

He advised vehicle owners and transport operators to find out what caused the old air spring to fail before installing the new one. If the failure was due to a defect in the suspension system, even the new air spring was also liable to fail unless the problem was corrected.

Image: A vehicle’s suspension is important to reliability, safety and risk management across major industries using trucks including mining