The most critical component of a truck is its braking system. Failing brakes don't just put the driver in danger, they also endanger every other motorist on the road. As a heavy-duty truck operator, it is imperative that you know how to properly maintain your braking system.
Inspect the Pressure Gauge
Make it a point to inspect the air-compression pressure gauge. Heavy-duty trucks use the power from the braking components and air compression to come to a stop. Even if all the other components of the braking system are working properly, if the pressure level has dropped too low, the truck won't be able to stop safely.
Routine inspections of the air-compression pressure gauge can help you avoid a significant safety concern. Since the proper pressure level can very between different manufacturers, review your manual to determine if the pressure reading is within safe limits. If it is below the appropriate level, you want to have the truck serviced as soon as possible.
Lubricate the Slack Adjusters
It's important not to overlook the slack adjusters. Slack adjusters are responsible for ensuring that the brakes stay in alignment at all times. Depending on your truck's design, your slack adjusters will either be automatic or manual. However, regardless of their design, it is imperative that you lubricate them.
When the adjusters aren't greased, this can cause them to lock up and cause the brakes to get out of alignment. Once this happens, this leaves the door open for brake failure and an increased risk of an accident. The ideal option is to use a lithium grease to lubricate the adjusters, as this grease is lightweight and long lasting.
Know When to Replace
Maintaining the different components of your braking system is important, but knowing when it's time to make replacements is even more critical. This is especially the case when it comes to the brake shoes. Brake shoes play a critical role in the stopping process. If they are worn, it becomes harder to stop.
Brake shoes have built-in indicator strips that wear over time. When the indicator strip has completely worn away, this is an indication that it's time for a replacement. As a general rule of thumb, whenever you replace the brake shoes, it's also a good idea to replace the bushings, pins, and springs, as they generally wear away the same rate as the shoes. For parts, contact a company such as King George Truck & Tire Center.
Make sure you are working with a part supplier to keep your truck's braking system performing efficiently.