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What You Should Know About Semi Truck Brake Maintenance

Semi Truck Brake MaintenanceSgt. Michael Campmier of the 62nd Transportation Company hooks up the brake air lines between an M-915 14-ton tractor truck and its trailer.

Semi-truck brakes are nothing like regular vehicle brakes, which only have to deal with the weight of the vehicle when trying to stop. Semi-truck brakes have to deal with the weight of the vehicle and the load. As such, they must be kept in tip-top shape through maintenance to ensure maximum efficiency. This post discusses different semi-truck brake maintenance tips. To reduce the need for maintenance now and then, you should check for the best semi-truck trailer brakes from reputable sources.

What Causes The Brakes To Wear And Tear

  • Rotor Wear And Tear

A rotor is a disc on your brakes that attaches to the car’s wheel. Friction helps slow or stop your vehicle — on the other hand, it’s the number one cause of wear and tear. It may even cause wearing on one side such that one brake pad becomes uneven.

  • Misaligned Brake Pads

An imbalance in the alignment of your vehicle’s brake pads contributes to uneven wear and tear and may affect the braking system’s function.

  • Rust On The Rotors

When rust collects on the rotors, it affects the entire braking system and might cause the brake pads not to respond or produce a shrill, loud grinding noise anytime you apply the brakes.

How Often Should The Brake Maintenance Occur?

The recommended range for brake maintenance is every fifty thousand miles. Brake maintenance relies on factors such as cargo weight, the condition of the roads, and how many times you drive your semi-truck. Dirt and grime also affect how often you service your brakes. These impurities corrode your rotors and may spread damage to other parts of your truck.

What Does Semi Truck Brake Maintenance Entail?

  • Brake Parts Replacement

Replacing brake pads and other subsequent parts ensures that the entire braking system works efficiently. Brakes come with an indicator designed to alert you when it’s time for service. Ensure that you also replace parts like pins and springs as well as the brake shoes.

  • Greasing

Greasing the slack adjusters on the brakes keeps them operating at maximum capacity. Slack adjusters align the brakes when in use. Inadequate lubrication can result in brake failure.

  • Tire Pressure

Applying the brakes affects your tires directly, by putting a strain on them. To reduce wear and tear, always check that your tires are at the appropriate pressure.

  • S-Cams

S-Cams make up part of your semi truck’s brake system and comprise a shaft, usually four to twenty-five inches. The shaft turns by use of an S-shaped lever and a booster operated by air compression. Make sure you grease the S-Cam during the brake maintenance.

  • Inspecting The Brake Lines And Hoses

The brake lines are an integral part of the braking system. Have the professional who is servicing your vehicle check for defects such as holes and cracks.  The lines should be at least a quarter of an inch thick. Moreover, ensure they aren’t full of grease. If they show any signs of wear and tear, have them replaced immediately.

  • Parking Brakes

To check the integrity of your semi truck’s parking brakes, stop the vehicle then apply the brake. Next, set it on a low gear and gently tug on the brakes to see if they will hold.

Signs Your Brakes Need Servicing

  • Squealing

You might notice the brakes on your semi-truck making a high-pitched, shrill noise anytime you step on the brake pedal. It means they need to be replaced.

  • Grinding Noises

This indicates that the brakes on your vehicle are falling apart and could jeopardize your rotors. If you don’t replace them immediately, they may affect other parts.

  • Vibrations

They are caused by faulty rotors, which result from heavy loading.

  • The Brake Pedal Doesn’t Respond As Fast As Before

You might also notice that when you press the pedal, it falls limply to the floor. It’s caused by worn brake pads or a leaking brake line.

  • Pulling 

Pulling results from wear and tear of the brake pads or dysfunction with the air brake line. It causes the vehicle to lurch to one side when you press on the brakes. Pulling is a serious concern and can prove fatal if your semi-truck swerves too hard and hits a person or vehicle.

Brake problems should be treated with the utmost urgency. If ignored, they could result in severe or even fatal accidents.

Why You Should Let A Professional Do The Maintenance

Experts recommend getting a professional to replace your brakes. They have more experience in handling brake-related issues and have the technical skills required to perform maintenance. 

While most semi-truck owners believe they can do it themselves, it’s not as simple as watching a video or reading a book or blog. It’s a more intricate and complex process and may require extra care. Furthermore, without the appropriate knowledge, you might end up doing more harm than good.

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