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Mercedes Benz Air Suspension Troubleshooting Guide Airmatic Visit Workshop

Experiencing one of the following problems:

  • The vehicle is too low. Visit workshop. Warning on Instrument Cluster
  • Airmatic Malfunction Warning on the dashboard.
  • Mercedes-Benz is sagging in front or back.
  • Mercedes-Benz lowered to the ground, all four wheels.

Whether you decide to repair the air suspension yourself or have a mechanic do the work,  read this troubleshooting guide first to know what to expect. Otherwise, you may pay thousands for AIRmatic repairs you don’t need.

Driving a car with air or hydraulic suspension is a dream come true. This system is often called AIRmatic, airlift, air ride, or hydraulic Active Body Control (ABC) suspension. How many cars can you change the suspension settings from comfort to sport with a button? Raise the vehicle a few centimeters in just a few seconds. Now there are plenty of aftermarket airlift conversion kits, but AIRMatic suspension is factory installed on several Mercedes-Benz models. 

Learn how to troubleshoot Mercedes-Benz Air Suspension Problems. 

You decide to buy a Mercedes-Benz, an S-Class, CLS-Class, R-Class, CL-Class, or E-Class. One day you hear of other Mercedes-Benz owners having suspension problems. The next day you start having air suspension problems yourself. Your Mercedes-Benz drops to the ground, and you may even end up towing your car because it is no longer drivable. Now your dreams are replaced with nightmares. air suspension visit workshop mercedes instrument cluster

You take your Mercedes-Benz for a diagnosis and get quoted thousands of dollars for air suspension repair. Even worse, only a few select shops know how to fix them. Suppose you are a new owner or mechanic that hasn’t worked on air suspension before. We will guide you through the steps to troubleshoot some of the most common air suspension problems yourself. If you are having issues with the air suspension on your Mercedes-Benz, this troubleshooting guide is for you. You will be surprised when you realize that the air suspension is not that complex.

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A brief overview of the air suspension

The Air Suspension Control Unit controls the suspension on Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with air suspension (N51). The driver can select the driving mode, switching between Comfort and Sport modes. The vehicle level is continually monitored and readjusted whenever there is a difference of more than +/- 20 mm. The suspension will also adapt to the road conditions and the driving style. When the vehicle reaches over 40 mph, the car lowers so that the center of gravity is closer to the ground, improving handling, cornering,  reducing drag, vehicle lift, and rollover risk. This sophisticated system makes you feel like you are floating while riding a Mercedes-Benz until the airlift suspension fails.

First, let’s look at some of the warning signs and symptoms of airmatic suspension problems. On the instrument cluster, you will get two messages. The first is the Air Suspension Failure, Visit Workshop, and the second is the more critical, often shown in red: STOP VEHICLE TOO LOW. 

“AIRMATIC VISIT WORKSHOP!” message on the instrument cluster.

This is typically an electrical fault. You will need an OBD II scanner, such as the YOUCANIC full system scanner, to read the fault codes.

Once you scan the car, you may get fault codes. For example, you will get C1324-001 or C1325-001, which means the solenoid valves in assembly Y53 ( rear axle damping valve unit) present a communication or fault. There could also be a discontinuity problem with any of the air suspension components. This will challenge us to track down without a scanner.

If you get the AIRMATIC Visit Workshop message, your car may still drive but do get it checked out as soon as possible. If the vehicle drops over the next few days, the air suspension may not work to airlift the car.


This message may be scary. Don’t panic! Note that the car, in most cases, will drop too much, and you will not be able to drive it. Unfortunately, if the air suspension collapses, the car will not be drivable.

What are the most common failures?

A summary of the most common problems with Mercedes-Benz air suspension systems and DIY solutions is provided in the next section:

  • The air suspension compressor Failed (Easy DIY repair, Average cost of $200). The air suspension compressor does just that, generating compressed air. It fills up all the air struts, and it can fail. They either seize up, fail to produce the required pressure, or the brushes inside them wear out. In the next section, we will show you how to check if the air suspension compressor is the problem. Sometimes it could be just a $5 faulty relay that may prevent the air suspension compressor from running. 

  • Failed Air Strut The air struts leaking is a very common problem. They develop a leak at the mastic at the top of the strut. Below we show you how to test your air struts for leaks. When the seal in the strut degrades, it no longer provides the isolation required, and a leak starts. If a significant leak has developed, you may hear a hissing sound from the wheel housing area. The whole front or rear of the car will drop down, even when only one of the struts is defective. The vehicle will drop more on one side, typically on the side of the leaking air strut.

  • Leaking lines The lines that supply the compressed air to the strut can also develop cracks, and eventually, air may leak.
  • Faulty relay or Blown Fuse The air suspension compressor relay is known to fail. It could either not engage the air suspension compressor at all or, even worse, keep it engaged longer than required. It can get damaged if the air suspension compressor is kept engaged for too long. There is a chance of a blown fuse for the air compressor pump. You can replace the Fuse with a new one, but if it keeps blowing, you have another issue, usually pointing at the air compressor pump/motor. For example, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220 has an air compressor relay and fuse 32 on the fuse box on the passenger side of the engine compartment. Here is a picture that shows where they are located. w220 s430 s500 s600 air suspension relay and fuse
  • Valve block leaking The main problem with the valve block is that the solenoid valves may leak air back to the compressor or the central air reservoir. This can cause the vehicle not to maintain the ride height required. If you need help troubleshooting the airmatic valve assembly, watch this video. valve block
  • The level sensor is faulty. They are located at the rear and front suspension. The air suspension control unit may no longer recognize the car’s height when they stop working. Your Mercedes-Benz will greet you with a warning message on the dash related to the airmatic failure. The car height may be correct, and the car still rides fine; it’s just that the computer doesn’t know that.
  • Brass valves at the top of the strut. It was leaking due to the metal on the metal fitting between the brass valve and the strut connection.top of air strut

Air Suspension Troubleshooting

In the following video, you will learn how to use a Autel MaxiDAS DS708 to diagnose Mercedes-Benz air suspension problems.


Faulty Relay or Blown Fuse for air suspension compressor

One of the first items you should inspect is the air suspension / airmatic relay in the main fuse box in the engine compartment. Also, check the Fuse for the air suspension compressor. On the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the fuse box containing the air suspension compressor relay and the Fuse is located on the engine’s right (passenger side). Look at the 40 AMP fuse F32, and ensure it is not blown. If the Fuse keeps on blowing, this typically points to air suspension compressor issues. Find the Fuse and relay that are for the air suspension.

The following video will show you how to check the relay on a Mercedes-Benz W220 S-Class (S430, S500, S600, S55 AMG, and CL500, CL600). Procedures are similar for other Mercedes-Benz with air suspension, but the location of the relay and Fuse may change.

In this S-Class W220, the air compressor motor /pump is protected by Fuse 32, which is a MaxiFuse 40 Amp. Here is what a good fuse should look like.

fuse relay check if blown



You can purchase a new relay and eliminate the possibility of the relay being the problem. The relay that is known to be reliable is Multi-Purpose Relay for Air Pump Suspension 0027219 by Hella.

How do you test if the air suspension compressor is working?

Typically when the air suspension compressor quits working, the whole car may lower to the ground and fail to raise. You press the button to raise the vehicle, and nothing happens. If the air suspension compressor works as designed, you will hear the compressor engage and run for several seconds.

Do you hear the air suspension compressor kick in at all?

If not, we need to do further troubleshooting. How can you check if the air suspension compressor is not working/engaging?

Check the voltage of the air compressor.

  • Locate the air suspension compressor. It is behind the front bumper, right under the headlight. You can access it by removing the plastic cover in the wheel well.
  • Check if power is going to the air suspension compressor. You can unplug the electrical connector that goes to the air suspension compressor, as shown in the picture below.

airlift pump s430 s500 s600 cl500 cl600

  • Use a multimeter to test if there is 12-volt power at the connector. If you don’t have a multimeter, consider getting one, as they are handy for car troubleshooting; here is a list of highly rated digital multimeters. Press the Raise Vehicle button to engage the compressor, as it does not work constantly.


digital air suspension troubleshooting testingWe must look at the relay and Fuse if you get a very low reading. If no power goes to the air suspension compressor, check the air suspension fuse and relay. Here is a picture that shows no power to the air suspension pump.

The next step would be to use a professional diagnostic scanner such as the YOUCANIC Full System Scanner to check the fault codes for the Air Suspension Control Unit. You will have to invest around $200 on the scanner, which will pay for itself quickly. If you plan on owning a Mercedes-Benz for a while, consider investing in one of the advanced OBD II scanners mentioned above. It will make troubleshooting your Mercedes-Benz much easier. You will be able to check any of the control units for fault codes and reset them.

Failed, defective air suspension compressor/pump.

If 12 volts or higher goes to the air suspension compressor, but the compressor does not engage, you have a defective air suspension compressor. Another symptom of a failed air compressor is when your Mercedes-Benz is completely lowered to the ground on all four wheels. Follow these instructions on how to change the air suspension compressor.

Follow these DIY instructions on how to replace the air compressor.

Failed Air Strut

 If one of the air struts fails, typically, the vehicle will fall only on the front or rear end, depending on where the faulty air strut is located. This is because if one of the failed air struts is on the front passenger side, the driver side will also sag. Only one strut on the front cannot keep the front of the car up. If you investigate closely, you may notice that as the car’s front or backdrops, it will drop more on one side than the other. The wheel where you see the vehicle lowered the most is typically the air strut that may be leaking. Top seals in the strut fail or wear, and they will develop air leaks over time.  

You can quickly check if you have an air leak at the mastic at the top of the strut. Spray some water and soap and carefully watch if bubbles form. leak test airmatic air suspension mercedes benz

You can replace the air strut with a new one, but you may regret buying a Mercedes-Benz if you get a quote on this repair. Don’t worry; there are a couple of Do It Yourself solutions to this problem that will not break the bank.

  1. You can use Epoxy Hack(Cheap and Dirty Repair, usually works)
  2. Airmatic Strut Shock Repair Kit (Official repair, still much less expensive than strut replacement)

These solutions have been shown to work. Some auto repair shops may not try the epoxy solution, as they can’t guarantee their work and make little profit. If you don’t feel comfortable with the two solutions mentioned above, your next best bet would be to install a refurbished or new Arnott air strut. They are slightly more expensive than the two proposed solutions but still cheaper than replacing them with dealer parts. You can find Arnott air suspension compressors and struts on Amazon. You can check the latest prices by visiting the Arnott air suspension Online Products

Epoxy Solution

This is the least expensive solution. It is not guaranteed how long this will last. It can last for years or months. It may be worth trying, but research before trying this approach. You can complete this repair in just a few hours if you have the patience and about $20 to invest. This is what you will need.

Required Tools and Materials

Click here to download instructions on performing this repair provided by robledoch BenzWorld Member.

Let the epoxy cure completely. If you use the J-B Weld Epoxy, it takes up to 16-24 hours to cure fully. There are epoxy compounds that cure faster, make sure to read the direction on the back of the epoxy to allow it to cure before you pressurize the system again.

As you fill the air struts/spring again, ensure the bellow covers are extended down and not folded upwards. You can pull the covers downwards by hand. Once you do this, lower the car before activating the air suspension and pressuring the system.

Once you complete this repair, use tape to seal the brass fitting on top of the air strut. Otherwise, a small leak may develop and cause your car to drop when parked for a few days.

Airmatic Strut Shock Repair Kit

This is the same repair that is often performed by Mercedes-Benz dealerships. In this process, you must remove and replace the top seal. The root cause of strut failures. Here is an original listing of the Mercedes Benz Air Suspension Strut Shock repair kit Part Number 2203202538

Here you will find the WIS instructions on replacing the top seal.

Download: WIS Air Suspension Top Seal Replacement Procedure (by BenzWorld).pdf

To replace the air strut seal, you will need the replacement kit.

Watch this video on how to replace the top strut seal.


Note that the repair itself is not complicated. It would be best if you filled the air spring plunger correctly. There are a couple of ways to perform this. You could pull down on the air spring plunger as you activate the fill/raise process of the air suspension. This is described in detail in this document that you will find here: How Mercedes-Benz dealer fills the air suspension spring (PDF). If you accidentally damage the air spring below the covers, you can purchase new ones online without replacing the whole strut.

Inspect for air leaks.

Air leaks are challenging to troubleshoot, mainly if you use water and soap methods. You will spray the lines and the different components with soap and water and look out for air bubbles. While it can be done with soap and water, to make this challenging task more accessible, we recommend using a solution designed to help you find air leaks. Most of these products cost less than $10 and help you find air leaks faster and easier. One of our favorite leak detectors is the Hercules Mega Bubble Leak Detector, which sells for less than $10 on Amazon. With this leak detector, even if there is a small leak, it will show a bubble immediately, which you may miss with a soap and water mix.

Once you choose the solution of your choice, you need to spray the solution at the following locations.

  • air suspension compressor fitting
  • Air Lines
  • Fittings at the valve block
  • Spray along the air hoses
  • Connection at the air tank / central air reservoir
  • Joints, the brass valve on top of the air struts
  • Level control valve block

As you apply the leak detector on these locations, check them in the next 5 to 15 minutes. Some leaks are soo small; they may take a few moments to form.

The valve block is less likely to be the problem, but they are also known to fail. Disconnect the lines to the compressor or the air reservoir to test the valve block. Apply leak detectors at those locations to make sure they are not leaking.

If any lines, pipes, or hoses are leaking, you must purchase airlines to repair the damaged section. You will often find the airlines on eBay much cheaper.

Level Control Valve Block

The valve block unit (Y36/6) is near the air suspension compressor. In the case of the W220 S-Class, it is located on the right side, between the passenger side headlight and the air suspension compressor. The valve block contains valves that open and close to direct the air pressure sent to each air sturt. The air is fed from the air suspension compressor or the air reservoir.

Level Sensors

You will also find the level sensor equipped with the air strut at the wheel. These sensors are used to gather information on the level at the axle. If the sensors don’t function properly, they can trigger an AirMatic malfunction in the instrument cluster.

The sensors detect the vehicle level at the axle and send a resistance reading to the air suspension control unit.

Input Sensors

Several sensors in the vehicle provide data and feedback for the air suspension control unit. Some of these components include:

  • ESP control module
  • Engine control module
  • Transmission control module
  • Instrument cluster
  • Steering angle sensor
  • Comfort and sport switch
  • Level adjustment switch
  • Vertical and horizontal accelerometers
  • Front axle level sensors
  • Airmatic pressure sensor

Air Filter

Most owners don’t even know an air suspension compressor filter exists. After all, it is well hidden. The air suspension compressor filter should be replaced as it is considered a maintenance item. If the filter gets clogged, it can dramatically impact the life and efficiency of the air suspension compressor. The filter part number A2203200069 costs only a few dollars when purchased online.

Check the price on Amazon.

Check the price on eBay.  

Alternative – Convert Air Suspension to Coil Spring

Some owners spend a lot of money on air suspension repairs. You may want to consider air suspension removal and convert the four wheels to coil springs. There are aftermarket suspension conversion kits for Mercedes-Benz that even include the fix for the control module so that you never get that air suspension warning message again.

Converting to coil springs will cost you between $1200 to $1500 for parts alone. Strutmasters are a well-known brand that makes aftermarket air suspension conversion kits. You will find their kits on Amazon. Here are some listings so you can know how much buying these kits will cost.


Hopefully, this article helped you find the problem with your suspension, and you could fix it without spending thousands of dollars. 8 out of 10 owners may likely have one of the problems described here. 

If all fails, there is another way to diagnose the air suspension. You can use a diagnostic scanner to retrieve and erase the fault codes. Most advanced OBD II scanners will read and clear the airbag, air suspension, transmission, and other system trouble codes. It will be even better if you have a YOUCANIC Full System Scanner with which you can conduct a series of tests to determine which air suspension component has failed.

If you tried the tips and tricks on this page and still can’t find the problem, your next step is obtaining a diagnostic scanner for further diagnosis and troubleshooting. Plug the scanner into the OBD II port, and it will tell you more about your problem than what we can in this article. 

What is the Best Scanner for my Mercedes-Benz?

If you’re experiencing problems with your Mercedes-Benz, the YOUCANIC full system diagnostic scanner can provide invaluable assistance in troubleshooting the issues. By connecting to your car’s onboard computer, the scanner can read fault codes and provide detailed information about any problems with your engine, transmission, brakes, and other systems. Additionally, the scanner can perform diagnostic tests on various systems, such as the ABS, airbag, and steering systems, to help identify the underlying cause of any issues.

In addition to providing diagnostic information, the YOUCANIC scanner can save you time and money on repairs by enabling you to perform simple fixes yourself. For example, if you notice the check engine light on, the scanner can assist you in identifying the problem and determining if it’s a simple issue you can address at home or if you need to take it to a mechanic. This can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the repair shop, saving you both time and money.

Overall, the YOUCANIC full system diagnostic scanner is a powerful tool to help you maintain and troubleshoot your Mercedes-Benz. It’s an excellent investment for both DIY mechanics and professional technicians, as it can assist in diagnosing and resolving even the most complex automotive problems quickly, saving you time and money on costly repairs.

Air Suspension AIRMatic and ABC Encyclopedia Resources



  1. hi !
    My car is 2006 s430 4matic. On the righside, there is a bump in the front and back as it passes through a rugged road. Sometimes it does not always happen. It is the same even if I changed Struts front and rear. Especially the right rear side is slightly lower.
    left side suspensions are very comfortable and soft for running.

  2. Hello I am PAWAN from India…. This article was very much helpful soo good of you author… May god bless you

  3. Hi There,i have a van in NZ its a 1999 Mercedes-Benz 230 vito, i live in The Nederlands and was told that i need a new air suspension compressor, i have tryed to find the model plus chassis no for the right one..is there any other compressor that will fit my van as its cheaper to buy here than in NZ…

  4. Hello I have an 2003 Mercedes s 500. I left this car one month in cold air ( WASHINGTON STATE) and when Incame back I found the rear left suspension complete down! after a few roads nad start to run the car , the suspesion in normal , no more low . in a few night a found the suspension down. But now everything looks good. what do you thing? Could be this from the frozen temperature and don’t run the car for a month?

  5. I have a Yr. 2000. 100,000miles mercedes s500 and my front left airmatic wont go up. Its been sitting in the garage like that for some time bugt now i want to fix it. What repair and costs am i looking at.

  6. I parked my 2003 S430 for about 2 hours with the front wheels turned to the right (not straightened). When I came back and drove the car, immediately the warning appears Airmatic too low !! I was puzzled for a few seconds but then the warning suddenly disappeared and the car run normally. Can someone tell me why or what happened to my car? Do I need to have it checked by a mechanic? Was it wrong to park my S430 with the tyres turned? Please advise, thank you.

    • Nothing wrong with parking with your wheels turned. Your airmatic suspension is starting to leak and it will get worse over time.

  7. Just replaced a defective air spring on a 2012 R350 4matic, with air springs at the back and good old fashioned coil springs on the front.

    Now the air springs won’t inflate at all. Both sides are now completely deflated and obviously I can’t drive the car.

    AFAIK the compressor is good. If I “hotwire” it off the battery, it runs and produces pressure on the hose end.
    With fuse #32 in place and the car on jacks, the engine will crank and run, and AFAIK the compressor is running, but no air is getting past the solenoid valve.

    With fuse #32 in place and the car lowered to a critical level, the car cranks but immediately shuts itself down. I presume this is some sort of self defense mechanism to prevent drivers driving on collapsed springs.

    With fuse #32 removed, the engine will crank and run whether raised or lowered, but obviously there’s no air suspension in operation.


    1. Is there a way to test the solenoid valve, either inside or outside the car? Impedance readings on multimeter, putting a voltage on the pins and listening for clicks, or just putting my thumb on open ports?

    2. Could one or both rear level sensors be kaput? Id there a way of testing those?

  8. Re:Mercedes S-Class W220 reg:2005

    Is it possible to raise the car without starting the engine?

    I have had to have engine work done and car needs moving to another engine specialist. The vehicle cannot be driven onto a flat-bed tow truck, because it is too low.

    We cannot raise it, because the engine will only turn-over on the starter motor and engine does not start.
    Is it possible to raise the car without starting the engine?

    • Yes you can raise the car without starting the engine if you have the right scanner. The other option is to manually raise the car with the jack and put blocks on top of the upper control arm. There is specifically designed block for that purpose but once you raise the car you will see that you may be able to make your own block to fit on top of the upper control arm. This will allow you to get the car up. Don’t drive around this way other than getting the car on a tow truck.

      • I have a 06cls55 and it sits very low all around but no warning or anything like that pops up on the dashboard . Everytime I unlock my car after awhile this weird sound comes from them left front wheel area .

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