Have you ever taken a caravan off-road and experienced the juddering, bone-crunching feeling of corrugations on the road? Have you noticed how when you’re going faster over them, the ride feels smoother? What you may not realise is that at high speeds, that smooth ride comes at the expense of strain on your caravan suspension.
Corrugations Put Stress On Your Vehicle
Corrugations are caused by a combination of soft terrain, wind, and traffic. They’re common on relatively busy stretches of road, particularly dirt roads. If you encounter short stretches of corrugations, your best option is to slow down to reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle.
Unfortunately, the ride won’t be comfortable for you or your passengers, but you’ll put less stress on the suspension. The last thing you want on a long off-road trip is a cracked or damaged suspension when you’re in the middle of nowhere and miles away from help.
You can alleviate some of the stress that corrugations put on your vehicle by running lower tyre pressures, but the real work will need to be done by the suspension, and that’s why the choice of suspension matters so much. Even ignoring the mechanics, the difference between single vs independent axles is clearly noticeable when you’re driving in such difficult conditions.
Choosing The Right Suspension For Off-Road Use
There are several types of caravan suspensions, but some of the most common are:
- Single axle/axle and leaf spring
- Al-Ko independent axles
- Independent coils
- Air assisted
Of these, single axle suspensions are affordable and relatively easy to maintain. They don’t offer the smoothest ride, but they do have the benefit of being simple and cheap. Springs tend to flatten out after about 50,000 miles of riding, and they could break on heavy corrugations. However, if you are a motoring enthusiast and you pack a spare spring, you should be able to fix suspension issues yourself.
Rubberised independent axles are relatively maintenance-free and long-lasting. This type of suspension was popular in Europe and has only recently started being seen on Australian vehicles. The axles need less hands-on care and maintenance, but when they do need servicing it’s a more specialised job.
Independent coils tend to last much longer even in rough conditions and should be able to handle the abuse of long stretches of road with corrugations. They offer a far more pleasant overall experience and are still reasonably easy to maintain.
Air-assisted suspension is hugely popular with outback tourers and offers the smoothest ride of all. However, this type of suspension is harder to maintain on the road. It’s important to make sure the pipes and compressor are properly protected to prevent damage from hard debris or impacts.
At Alpha Suspensions, we have a variety of suspensions to choose from, including tough and durable independent suspensions made with the toughest conditions in mind. These suspensions can handle long stretches of corrugated road, and make the transition to dirt or firmer tracks smoother too.
Drive The Conditions, Not Your Schedule
Whatever type of suspension you choose for your caravan, it’s still vital to respect nature. When you’re taking an off-road journey, you can’t afford to take risks. If the road conditions are difficult, slow down and drive carefully, otherwise, your trip could be cut short due to damaged suspension.
If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspensions in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions.
Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.