Would Your Brakes Pass Inspection?
Out-of-adjustment brakes and other brake system violations make up almost half of the out-of-service roadside inspection violations on commercial vehicles. From September 7-13 – Brake Safety Week – more than 30,000 brake inspections are expected to be conducted. Roadside inspectors will be inspecting brake-system components to identify loose and missing parts; air and hydraulic fluid leaks; worn linings, pads, drums and rotors; and other faulty brake-system components. Antilock braking systems (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps will also be checked.
Before you leave the yard…
The first part of making sure that a vehicle’s brake system is in good condition takes place before the vehicle leaves the yard. This involves a check of the brake system’s components and functioning during all preventive maintenance. Under this approach, any time the vehicle is in for scheduled maintenance or for any repair, the brake system is checked by a qualified technician. The inspection should include the “at the wheel” components, including:
- The slack adjuster for condition and free play
- All connecting hardware (clevises, jam nuts, pins, connecting rods, etc.) for looseness, damage, and excessive wear
- The brake chamber for leaks, mounting, and condition
- The airline(s) supplying the chamber for condition, cuts, wear, and rubbing
- The brake linings/pads for wear
- The brake drum or rotor for wear and cracks
The technician should also conduct an operational check of the overall system, including that:
- The system does not leak air
- The low-air warning indicators function
- The parking/emergency brake system will activate should air pressure fall below minimums
- The “tractor protection valve” (unique to tractor-trailers) functions correctly
If you find something during your preventative maintenance check that needs attention, search the truck brake parts section of our website to locate the parts you need to keep driving safely and receive the thumbs up from the roadside inspector.
The other part of maintaining a good brake system is to train drivers on how to correctly inspect the brakes. This includes visually inspecting the “at the wheel” components discussed above, such as the brake chamber, the airlines going to the chamber, the pushrod, connecting hardware, the shoes/pads, and the drums/rotors. During the walkaround portion of an inspection, the driver should also check all of the airlines, tanks, hoses, and fittings that he/she can see. Drivers need to know how to check all of these components, what to look for, and what is considered “passing and failing.”
Training should also involve teaching drivers how to conduct a “system check” that includes a leak check, a check of the low-air warning device, a test of the emergency brakes, a check of the compressor build-up rate, a check of the parking brakes, and a rolling check of the service brakes.
An online interactive training course, such as one of these offered by JJ Keller, can be a valuable tool for understanding standard procedures for inspecting a vehicle.
The courses feature the latest technology and interactive learning techniques and combine the power and reliability of JJ Keller’s training programs with the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online training.
You can beat the odds for having a brake violation
If maintenance experts are inspecting the brakes during all preventive maintenance checks and drivers are doing a good job with their daily inspections, the brake system should pass inspection – whether it’s Brake Safety Week or at any other time!
Visit the brakes section of our website to find OEM quality heavy duty and medium duty truck brake parts. You’ll find the brand names you can trust such as Bendix, Performance Friction and Phillips Industries.
We’re here to help
Find a part number, cross reference a part, or ask a question by contacting our customer service team at 855.885.5631or FleetProductsInfo@Ryder.com
With over 60,000 parts in inventory from over 400 suppliers, we’ll help you find just what you’re looking for.
Betty Weiland, Sr. Transport Editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.