More often than not, when a truck causes a crash the brakes are blamed. But, this isn’t usually caused by a complete brake failure. Brakes are designed so that complete brake failure is extremely rare, and therefore when an accident occurs it is unlikely that the brakes totally lost their braking force. Instead, so-called brake failures stem from poor maintenance.
When brakes are improperly maintained, they are still able to provide low levels of braking force. A driver may not notice that anything is wrong; when they stop for stop signs and other slowing maneuvers, the brakes still perform as expected. But, in the case of an emergency, and when a high level of braking force is needed, the sub-par brakes will not provide the expected stopping force. The driver expects to quickly decelerate. However, this won’t be the case. While the brakes are working, they can’t do their job well enough to prevent an accident.
It is for this reason that it’s very important to properly maintain the complete braking system. The average size of a truck is 80,000 pounds. During a freeway drive, it’s essential to know that the brakes will perform as necessary during an emergency situation. Luckily, it’s not hard to maintain your brakes. It just takes some knowledge and consistency.
Regularly replace brake parts
To keep the brake system working as expected, there are many parts that need to be regularly maintained. The brake shoes will have an indicator built into the pads which will let you know when replacement is necessary. When the pads need to be replaced you should also make sure to replace springs, pins, and bushings. While you’re at, make sure the drums are replaced when the shoes are. Drums can wear and begin to develop heat cracks.
Grease the slack adjusters and S cams
Your truck will have either manual or automatic slack adjusters, which make sure the brake stay in alignment as they are being used. Whichever kind you have, it’s important that they are greased well to make sure they work as intended.
If you don’t grease your slack adjusters, they can and will seize up. This leads to brake failure. A good option is lithium grease.
The slack adjusters turn a shaft that will turn the S cams, so that they push the brake into the drum, effectively stopping the truck. As a part of regular maintenance, you’ll need to check the bushings equipped in the S cams. They will need regularly greased as well, and changed occasionally.
Check the Air Compression Pressure Gauge
A major component to stopped a moving truck, the air compression pressure gauge need to read more than 60 psi before you use the truck and between 100 to 125 psi is the ideal pressure you should be running, and if it’s running lower service the brakes. If it’s lower than 60 psi, discontinue use of the truck and service the brakes.
Check Linings and Hoses
You’ll need to check all linings and hoses before using the truck. Check to make sure they are at least ¼ of an inch thick. It’s also important to check if the are soaked with lubricant, which is an issue. They should be dry. Your air hoses will need to be checked for wear or cracks. Once linings and hoses are worn or appear damaged, they’ll need changed. This will happen regularly.
When Should Brakes Be Serviced?
It’s important to have the brakes serviced on a routine basis. While brake service will vary depending on the truck and the habits of the driver, it’s best to inspect the brakes every time the truck’s oil is changed. This ensures any problems are caught before they become issues, and keeps everyone on the road safe.
Do you need to schedule your an appointment to have your brakes serviced or replace other parts? Give North Dixie Truck and Trailer a call today at 419-221-3750 for maintenance or 419-222-8785 for parts.