Any semi truck mechanic in Duncan, OK or elsewhere will tell you that this is the time of year to pay extra attention to brakes. Longer travel distances and hotter temperatures put pressure on brakes and make their maintenance more essential. Here are the facts that show this vulnerability and why you need to maintain regular brake service, especially during the warm months of summer.
Antilock brakes improved safety
There is no doubt that antilock brakes were an important innovation for automobiles. They do the same for semi trucks as well since being required starting in 1997. Jackknife crashes decreased, resulting in truck drivers being safer on the road. These used to be the most common types of accidents, but now the most serious accidents involve rollovers when icy or loose surfaces lead drivers to overcorrect.
Air brakes offer unique advantages
Semi trucks use an air brake system as opposed to the hydraulic system found on lighter vehicles. While the latter requires brake fluid to function property, air brakes do not rely on brake fluid. Air is in endless supply so the system will never run out of its “operating fluid.” There is always sufficient energy to stop, which is essential when you consider the size of semi trucks.
The airline system is also easier to attach and service. Drivers can change out circuits with minimal training as there is no danger if air leaks in. Most of the systems are easily seen, too, so if there are issues with hoses or other parts, drivers can usually detect them.
Also, even with significant leakage, air brakes will still continue to function. It is a natural fail-safe that can sustain stopping power until the truck can find a place to go for service.
That said, brakes can still fail
If air brakes are not adjusted property or monitored, they can still fail. It is not due to the Hollywood idea of losing air pressure, as that is impossible. Pre-trip inspections include checking brake adjustment, and some drivers will allow the automatic functions to take this over, often with dire consequences.
Another reason brakes can fail is due to “glazing.” The surface of brake shoes can become very hot and smooth out. This makes it impossible for the brake to grab on the drum for a full stop. In some instances, the tires will even catch fire because the surfaces become so hot. This condition can arise due to a lack of brake maintenance or inexperienced drivers constantly riding the brakes.
Brake failures are also more likely during the summer. This is due to the ambient summer temperatures contributing to the brake temperatures, making glazing more likely. That is why it is important to check brake systems and pads to ensure they remain in top condition as your drivers explore the warmer parts of North America.
Hiring Heavy Truck & Trailer Parts as your semi truck mechanic in Duncan, OK means better brakes for the conditions that try them. Keep your trucks running smoothly and your drivers safe by arranging for brake maintenance today.