Figuratively and literally, a commercial vehicle’s wheels and brakes carry a lot of weight when it comes to safety. With the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 29th annual International Roadcheck just around the corner (it takes place June 7-9), and now is the time for fleets to make sure their braking systems, wheel-ends and tires meet safe operating requirements. With this in mind, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC offers its tips on inspecting and maintaining these crucial components.
“During the 2015 Roadcheck, brake, tire, and wheel issues accounted for nearly 57% of the out-of-service violations,” said Fred Andersky, the Bendix director of government and industry affairs. “From improperly inflated tires to brakes out-of-adjustment, these are issues that are easily caught and remedied through simple, routine maintenance – but which can have seriously negative consequences if they lead to an equipment failure on the highway.”
Before hitting the road, drivers should always conduct pre-trip visual inspections to check for visible brake system problems such as loose hoses or leaks.
In the shop, regularly scheduled vehicle reviews should include conducting a 90 to 100 PSI brake application and listening for audible leaks, as well as measuring the chamber stroke at each wheel-end. Drivers can incur fines under CVSA guidelines if more than 25% of a truck’s wheel-ends are beyond the maximum allowable brake stroke, or out of adjustment.
“Checking the condition of your friction lining for compliance is also an essential part of any inspection, whether during maintenance or pre-trip,” said Keith McComsey, Bendix’s director of wheel-end marketing and customer solutions. “Inspecting for lining cracks, missing portions of the lining, oil or grease contamination of the lining, compliant friction lining thickness, and more will help the continued safe operation of your vehicle and reduce the likelihood of being placed out-of-service during a safety inspection.”
Knowledge is power
Keeping current regarding such regulations, as well as remaining knowledgeable about today’s ever-advancing commercial vehicle safety components and technologies, is an important part of keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely. Fleets aiming to equip their technicians with the most current and in-depth training and information can turn to a variety of options, including in-person, online, and around-the-clock.
Bendix offers both its in-person Bendix Brake Training School and its Bendix On-Line Brake School at its website with more than 50 courses. Technical bulletins and service data sheets are available through bendix.com, along with free downloads of the Bendix ACom Diagnostics software, which helps technicians diagnose and repair antilock braking systems (ABS), automatic traction control (ATC), and Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability systems. Bendix also develops and makes available tools such as the Remote Diagnostic Unit (RDU) and the Trailer Remote Diagnostic Unit (TRDU), which help simplify brake system troubleshooting.
This year’s Roadcheck focus on tires serves as a reminder of the importance of proper tire pressure: Nearly half of all emergency service road calls are tire-related, and industry research shows 90% of tire failures can be attributed to underinflation.
An underinflated tire experiences increased stress and generates higher internal running temperature, which increases the risk of a blowout. By using wheel-mounted sensors to continuously monitor temperature as well as pressure inside each tire, the SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) by Bendix CVS for tractors and SmarTire Trailer-Link TPMS by Bendix CVS for trailer systems can provide driver alerts that compensate for changing conditions.
Tires also impact the performance of advanced safety components and technologies, such as Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD)-compliant brakes, air disc brakes, full-stability, and driver assistance systems.
“Safer highways begin with properly maintained vehicles that are operated by safety-conscious drivers and supported by well-trained technicians,” Andersky said. “Bendix aims to provide support on all three fronts—in addition to our continuous efforts to advance safety technologies—and in doing so, create a safer environment on the roads we all share.”
Bendix strives to deliver on areas critical to the success of fleets and owner-operators, including post-sales support such as preparation for Roadcheck 2016, safety, value, and product performance. Success in these areas helps lower the total cost of vehicle ownership, and strengthens return on investment in equipment, technology, and technician training, moving the commercial vehicle industry forward toward its goal of safe highways for everyone.
This article was contributed by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC. For more from Bendix, visit its website.