Bendix offers simple tips to glide though Brake Safety Day inspections
Thursday, August 31, 2017
by The Trucker Staff
ELYRIA, Ohio – Stop right there! Are you ready for Brake Safety Day?
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will conduct Brake Safety Day September 7. The event is an outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial motor vehicle brake safety. Inspections on large trucks and buses will be conducted by local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials in the United States and Canada.
This year’s Brake Safety Day replaces a weeklong round of enforcement and inspection conducted around the same time last year.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is offering tips to carriers on how to prepare this time around. If the results of the International Roadcheck back in June are any indication, a lot of truckers could use the advice.
Brake-related issues accounted for 41 percent of the violations at this year’s International Roadcheck, according to Fred Andersky, director of government and industry affairs at Bendix.
“Brake system violations accounted for 26.9 percent of the vehicle out-of-service violations during International Roadcheck, and brakes being out of adjustment accounted for another 14.5 percent,” Andersky said. “That’s far too many issues arising directly from a vehicle’s most critical safety system, especially when most of these violations could have been avoided through regular maintenance and the right upkeep.”
Bendix offers these 10 tools and tips to be prepared:
Walk around the vehicle daily to visually inspect brake components and listen for audible air system leaks. Examine wheel-ends to make sure that the air chambers, pushrods and slack adjusters are not damaged or hanging loose. Once or twice a week, get under the vehicle to check air disc brake rotors for cracks and inspect the lining wear on drum brakes without dust shields. Know how to read antilock braking system warning light fault codes using the dashboard diagnostic switch or a remote diagnostic unit and how to address them.
Do monthly air system checks for moisture in the system and use oil-coalescing air dryer cartridges.
During pre-trip tests and inspections, listen for air leaks around the chamber. Check for missing parts such as dust plugs, caging bolts, and clamp bands; and look for obvious damage to the chamber, such as dents, corrosion, and bent pushrods.
Maintain air disc brake upkeep. Check the mounting hardware of calipers and air chambers, monitor pad wear, measure rotor thickness and look for cracks that exceed allowable limits and look for damage or corrosion on tappets and boots. Ensure proper running clearances between the rotor and pads and check that the caliper slides freely.
Check friction regularly for cracks or missing pieces, ensure adequate thickness, and examine drums and rotors for signs of dragging brakes or overheating linings. Know the signs of drum friction improperly rated for the vehicle, including scoring on the friction or the drum; degradation that gives the friction a porous, charcoal-like appearance; and “hot spotting” – a leopard-spotted pattern on the drum.
Determine brake free play. The distance that the center of the large clevis pin moves before the brake shoes come in contact with the drum should be between 3/8 and 5/8 of an inch. Free play should be the same across all brakes on a system.
Measure wheel-end brake stroke. Check the distance from the chamber to the large clevis pin with the brakes released, and again after a fully charged brake application. Keep slack adjusters lubricated: Inject new grease until old grease is forced through the release opening. Grease every 30,000 miles or every time you do a preventive maintenance inspection.
Grease to capacity: Insufficient grease to fill all interior gaps can lead to condensation forming inside the brake components, which can cause rust and corrosion.
Select the right friction. When relining brakes on vehicles affected by federal stopping distance regulations, ask suppliers for evidence of compliance. Not all replacement friction marketed as acceptable actually perform to the standard.
On Brake Safety Day, inspectors primarily conduct the comprehensive North American Standard Level I inspection. As far as the braking system goes, this will include checking components for loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; and worn linings, pads, drums, or rotors. Antilock braking systems, including malfunctioning indicator lights, are also checked.
“You can put the best equipment on a vehicle in the name of safety, but it remains absolutely critical to provide the right maintenance and service commitment, to ensure that equipment performs at its best when it’s needed most,” Andersky said.
Bendix offers around-the-clock resources to help trucking professionals, including the Knowledge Dock, knowledge-dock.com, which features an archive of the Bendix Tech Tips series, as well as videos, blog posts, podcasts, and white papers. The Bendix On-Line Brake School also offers free courses at www.brake-school.com.
For more information about Bendix air brake systems and technologies, call 1-800-247-2725 or visit safertrucks.com/solutions.