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Keeping Your Trucks Brakes in Check

March 23, 2015
By Jeffery White

Brake systems are vital to every vehicle. However, due to their size and the momentum they can build, semi trucks’ brakes must be fully functional.

Every vehicle must have certain elements in order to function correctly. That being said, no one wants to get in a car or truck if the brakes aren’t working properly. This is especially true when it comes to semi trucks. Due to how big and heavy they are, to say nothing of the momentum they can build, you must ensure that your brakes are optimal every time you get behind the wheel.

Brake systems are an essential part of helping your truck slow down and come to a complete stop. Fortunately, brake pads these days come with indicators that will tell you when they need to be swapped out. Any time you take your semi truck in to have your pads replaced, make sure the mechanic also looks at your drums, spring pins, springs, bushings, slack adjusters and brake systems. There’s a good chance one or more components may need to be replaced as well.

It’s probably a good idea to have the drums replaced whenever you go in for new shoes too. They can wear down so much that they become dangerous. Cracks that develop from heat are a common problem as well.

Slack adjusters are in charge of keeping your semi trucks’ brakes in alignment. Depending on your specific truck, the adjusters are either manual or automatic. Either way, they must be greased well and regularly. However, those with automatic adjusters tend to run into more problems, simply because they don’t regularly use them. This neglect is how adjusters end up seizing up and no longer working.

The slack adjusters work in tandem with the truck’s “S” cams. These “S” cams push the brake shoe into the drum in order to slow down and stop the truck. They are outfitted with bushings that help with the job. Even if you don’t replace them every time you switch out the shoes, you should at least give them plenty of grease.

One thing you can do every time you use your truck to ensure the brakes are safe is check the gauge. It should show that you have more than 60 psi at your disposal. Ideally, though, you want between 100 and 125 psi. If you find that your psi is constantly low, you need to bring your truck in for servicing.

Without brake systems that do their job, you, your truck and everyone on the road is in danger. The good news is that the simple steps above will keep everyone safe.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it and is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual professional advice. If you’d like to establish a relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official.