Each year, more than 4 million roadside inspections are conducted for commercial vehicles. While it is critical to the safety of yourself and others to keep your truck up to code at all times, many drivers get hit with brake-related violations more than anything else. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will conduct their annual Brake Safety Week from August 23rd to the 29th.
How truck drivers can prepare for Brake Safety Week
Brake-related violations account for almost 15% of all commercial vehicle violations in 2019, and an ounce of prevention will keep your truck on the road rather than being parked by inspectors. The first step is knowing what to look for. These are the top six brake issues that truckers come across…
1. Brake imbalance
Simply put, imbalance in your truck’s braking system is when one or more brakes are exerting more or less force than the others. This happens when you have mismatched parts, or an error in the pneumatic system applying air pressure unevenly. Brake imbalance is one the most common causes of jackknifing your vehicle
2. Brake overheating
Overheating of your brakes can sometimes be a result of the above point, but the top culprit is drivers using poor braking techniques while traveling downhill. This greatly reduces the life of your brakes, and can cause temporary malfunction to control your vehicle speed.
3. Faulty suspension
A misconfigured suspension system can wreak havoc on your brakes by causing similar issues to brake imbalance. Softening your suspension could reduce stress on brakes and also result in a smoother driving experience on the road.
4. Trailer overload
Even the best kept, newest brakes on a truck cannot withstand excessively heavy loads. The breaking distance required becomes far too great, resulting in unnecessary on your braking system. Even one trailer overload is enough to cause brake failure. Don’t risk endangering the public highways for a load larger than your truck can handle.
5. Hose chafing and kinking
Last year, the CVSA discovered chafing and kinking of brake tubes as a top violation.
- 2,567 units had chafed rubber hose violations.
- 1,347 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
- 2,704 violations included chafed rubber hoses.
- 1,683 violations that included kinked thermoplastic hoses
Any vehicle that undergoes a harsh winter should reapply lubricant both before and after the season. Inadequate lubrication of your caliper pins, clips, mounting tabs, and brake back sides can make your brakes wear much sooner than expected.
Truck maintenance is ongoing
Faulty breaks don’t happen overnight. It’s often due to an oversight. Make truck maintenance a regular procedure so that you are always in the clear with DOT regulations. Violations can increase your CSA score by as much as 10 points, becoming a not-so-pretty ding on your record. Fleet managers can take the initiative as well, by implementing a more robust fleet safety program. Checking your breaks with each oil change is a great habit that’ll save you big time down the road.