Let's brake it down: Heavy-duty truck brake maintenance tips

Let’s brake it down: Heavy-duty truck brake maintenance tips

When it comes to any brake system, whether it be drum brakes or disc brakes, they all require some sort of ongoing maintenance. So, in order to maintain the effective operations of your brakes and maximize the lifetime of the component, a comprehensive preventative maintenance program needs to be integrated into your fleet’s operations. What steps does this entail? 

  • Training drivers is a great first step into enhancing maintenance. They should know what to look for during their daily inspections. When it comes to brakes, look for signs of oil or grime buildup around the hub and wheel and ensure hoses are not touching any part of the wheels or braking system 
  • Establish a routine schedule for drum or disc brake maintenance to ensure consistency and longevity of your component. This includes checking lining / pad thickness and measuring brake stroke for drum brakes
  • If your brakes are out of adjustment, don’t assume the issue will be resolved simply from a manual adjustment. To ensure a proper repair, diagnose the root cause for the issue and assess an appropriate course of action. 

Understanding your fleet’s operating conditions and maintaining good records will be critical while carrying out your preventative maintenance process – here are some things to remember while considering the different types of brakes. 

Disc Brakes: Pay close attention to brake pad wear, boots, and seals to ensure the absence of contaminants. 

Drum Brakes: Keep a close eye on brake linings and make sure they are operating at the legal thickness limit. If they are not, they should be changed. While you’re at it, you should also inspect and change the cam bushings if needed. Be sure to regularly lubricate both the cam bushings and slack adjusters. 

Be cautious of wear limits while measuring your brake drums – if they do need replacing, make sure to always use factory service parts and, of course, refer to the manufacturer’s manual for proper procedure. 

Inspecting your safety systems should remain a top priority no matter the circumstances and with an effective plan in place to ensure the health of your brakes, you will see profitability and your trucks will keep on rolling… but also stop if they need to.

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