Brake defects are another issue that will arise in a trucker’s career time. Some causes of brake failure are defective brake parts, truck driver error, improper truck loading, poor road conditions, and poor vehicle maintenance. To an owner-operator, their truck represents a crucial investment, a source of income, and even a home during long road trips across the country. It is vital to prevent mechanical issues from compromising these roles. Brake defects left unattended can put you at serious risk and cost you a small fortune to repair.
Poor Brake Maintenance and Improper Use
Even if there are no brake defects, brake failure can occur. Be sure to have your trucks serviced regularly. Always follow manufacturer’s specifications when using brake products.
Trucks that do not have their brakes changed frequently become a danger to everyone on the road. Brakes that are not correctly installed or not correctly set will have excess wear and tear and will not last long.
A trucks braking force should be distributed evenly between the left and right wheels. An unequal balance will cause your truck to pull toward one side when the brakes are applied. Brake imbalance may indicate that one or more of the brake drums have become too smooth to provide the necessary friction for stopping. Brake drums often become smooth because of overheating during periods of intense use. Overheating can be caused by driving in the mountains and descending downhill. It can also indicate problems with hoses or fittings running between the brake chambers and valves. If any of the hoses have a different diameter, the hose will not exert the same amount of force.
When Imbalance Becomes Noticeable
- The speed at which the imbalance manifests
- Application pressure of the load
- Pavement conditions
- Load weight
Order of Operations
The brakes on a tractor-trailer rig operate in a specific order. The brakes on the trailer apply just before the brakes on the tractor. This order of operations prevents the tractor from bumping against the trailer. If the trailer brakes do not release quickly enough, the rear wheels could lock up and go into a skid. If a truck is having issues with brake application, timing issues often result in a pushing sensation when the brakes are engaged. This pushing involves the trailer butting up against the back of the tractor.
If a truck driver ever notices that the brakes are showing signs of wear and tear, contact an experienced repair technician as soon as possible. Having the brakes checked for brake defects will minimize the safety risks. It will also significantly reduce the costs of repairs if caught early enough.