Brakes, News, Tech Talk

‘Regular truck brake inspections are critical’

With truck drivers facing numerous challenges out on the road, including having to travel on roads that aren’t necessarily designed for large vehicles, Bendix has issued a reminder about the importance of checking your brakes.

The manufacturer says that given the carrying capacity of trucks, especially in the heavier weight classes, their braking systems are critical. “Many of these trucks will be operating at near full GVM which could be 20t for smaller rigs, through to well over 60t GCM in the case of B-doubles,” Bendix said in a release.

“These hefty weights mean that commercial vehicles take much longer to stop and unfortunately many motorists are ignorant of this, treating trucks in the same way as they would regular passenger vehicles. Cars cutting in front of trucks on the approach to traffic lights or at T intersections are common gripes that professional drivers have because they can lead to dangerous braking situations.”

Data from Transport NSW indicates that a B-double travelling at just 40km/h can take up to 44 metres to stop. If travelling at 60km/h, that same truck would need approximately 90 metres to come to a standstill. In comparison, a car travelling at 40km/h needs around 27 metres to stop, or if travelling at 60 km, around 56 metres is needed.

Bendix says that because of these operating conditions, it’s vital that the braking systems of heavy vehicles are regularly inspected.

“Drivers should also be aware of the symptoms of poorly performing brakes, this may include: pulling left or right when applying the brakes, vibrations including through the pedal, hard or low pedal feel, unusual noises on application or an illuminated brake warning light.

Things to check for are:

  • Ensure brake fluid levels are correct and changed at OEM-specified intervals
  • Inspect brake pads, rotors and calipers for wear or damage
  • Check brake shoes and drums for wear, damage and adjustment
  • Check brake lines and air hoses to ensure there are no kinks, perished rubbers or other damage
  • Ensure that brake components are properly lubricated to prevent corrosion and to provide free operation
  • Clean brake components to remove corrosion and debris build-up as required

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