Is Glinka Air Ride Scam VW or Legit? Reviews and Complaints

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  • Post published:December 28, 2023
  • Post category:Reviews

The Volkswagen air suspension system, often called “air ride”, has long been a popular performance modification for VW owners looking to lower their ride height and customize the look of their car. However, in recent years, many have reported issues with a particular air ride kit sold under the brand “Glinka Air Ride”.

In this post, I’ll take a deeper dive into reports of problems with Glinka kits, explain why air ride can be tricky to install and maintain, and provide advice on how to carefully consider your options for lowering your VW.

What is the Glinka Air Ride Scam?

Glinka Air Ride first started selling air suspension kits targeted at VW owners in 2015. Their kits featured struts and air bags that directly replaced the factory coils and struts. While initially advertised as a “plug and play” easy installation, many customers soon encountered issues:

Leaks: Reports surfaced of air lines leaking frequently, often just weeks or months after install. Some blamed poor quality fittings and connections, while others suspected airbags themselves were flawed.

Premature wear: Even when not leaking, many said Glinka’s airbags wore out unusually fast, leading to uneven or sagging ride heights. Some lasted less than a year.

Difficult support: Customers said Glinka was slow or unhelpful in resolving issues. Many complained of being ignored or given the runaround when trying to get warranty claims processed.

Returns issues: For those who did receive replacements, some parts didn’t fit correctly or had the same defects. Others said getting refunds was an uphill battle.

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So in summary – while Glinka promised an easy solution for VW air ride, the reality was many experienced costly repair bills, dead struts, and poor customer service – hence why some consider it a “scam”.

Why is Air Ride Tricky for DIY Installs on VWs?

While aftermarket parts are often to blame for quality control issues, air suspension also brings unique challenges versus traditional coil springs:

Complex Systems

Factory air ride on VWs is an incredibly sophisticated computer-controlled system. Replicating this with a basic aftermarket setup removes many safeguards.

Sensitive Components

Air lines, fittings, bags, and valves all must hold pressure for extended periods. Even minor defects can cause leaks over time.

Importance of Alignment

Air suspension changes ride height, so proper alignment becomes critical. Improper installation can ruin components much faster.

Maintenance Needs

Unlike springs, air ride requires checking for leaks regularly. Valves and sensors may need replacing periodically too.

Weather Sensitivity

Temperature changes cause air pressure fluctuations, which stock VW systems are designed for. DIY kits lack these protections.

So in short, VW’s factory setup is engineered to last with low maintenance needs. Aftermarket conversions strip away many of those reliability features.

Signs You May Want to Avoid Aftermarket Air Ride

If considering an air ride conversion but wary of the potential downsides, here are some signs it may not be the best choice:

🚩 Lack of Install Experience: Complex multi-day procedures require knowledgeable mechanics. DIY can easily go wrong.

🚩 Budget Concerns: Air ride costs more up front and over time versus coils. Repairs may break the bank versus stock struts.

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🚩 Not a Dedicated Show Car: Systems need frequent checkups. Daily drivers see shortened component life without dealer maintenance support.

🚩 Reliability Matters: For road trips or commutes, uncertainties of possible leaks or breakdowns may not be worth the risk.

🚩 Value Retention: Modified suspension can lower resale prices versus proper OEM+ upgrades if/when selling.

So in summary, aftermarket air may be better suited for dedicated show cars, while reliability-oriented drivers may want to consider proven static or coilover options.

Recommended Alternatives to the Glinka Air Ride Kit

Luckily, there are several great static and coilover suspension options for VWs that avoid the headaches of DIY air ride:

H&R OEM Coilover Upgrade

  • Uses factory mounting points for easy bolt-on install and alignment
  • Adjustable for various ride heights and tuning
  • Proven track record of quality and support from major brand

KW V1 Coilover Kit

  • True coilover design for adjustability
  • Renowned German engineering and components
  • KW’s reputation makes it worth the higher price

Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs

  • Bolts right onto stock struts for a smooth lowered ride
  • Perfect for light drops without sacrificing comfort
  • Springs last much longer than air bags typically

Static Drop Kit

  • Spacers or lowering springs that use OEM control arms
  • Entry-level affordable option for mild stance
  • Ideal for daily drivers wanting a simple drop

So in summary, proven static or coilover systems avoid the risks of complex DIY air conversions. They deliver adjustable, lowered stance reliably for years.

Final Thoughts on the Glinka Air Ride Kit Controversy

While the lowered look of air ride seems enticing, the Glinka kit highlights how poorly executed aftermarket systems can end up costing VW owners far more in repairs than the initial savings was worth. Proper suspension tuning deserves cautious research and quality components to last.

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For those already saddled with problematic Glinka setups, the best bet is likely a return to either factory coils, or well-engineered static/coilover kits from brands with strong reputations in the VW scene like H&R, KW and Eibach. Live and learn – sometimes simpler is better than chasing flashy features lacking a solid engineering foundation.

With the right approach focusing on reliability first, lowering a VW can enhance both its look and handling for many happy years of ownership. But care is needed to avoid ending up with more of a money pit than dream project car. As always, do your homework to find the suspension solution best matching your budget and priorities.

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