ASA Adjustments Jeopardize Safe Brake Operation


Source: Accuride Corporation announcement

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Despite Automatic Slack Adjusters (ASA) being mandated in as standard equipment in 1994, technicians continue to “adjust” them manually which can lead to premature wear, according to Accuride Corporation.

ASAs, Accuride produces under the Gunite brand, are a safety component that keep a commercial-vehicle’s brakes functioning properly.

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Overriding the automatic adjustment method can cause premature wear on the internal components and eventually result in an early end-of-life condition. Accident investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have shown worn and improperly adjusted ASA’s to be a contributing causal factor in some accidents.

“Proper brake function at each wheel is critical to the safety of a truck and trailer driving down the road, but brake balance within the system is often overlooked,” said Carlisle Daniel, product manager at Accuride. “A new ASA will perform more consistently than a worn unit and ASAs with different adjustment methods may not adjust at the same rate as brake shoes wear.”

Brake adjustment is one of the most common Out-of-Service (OOS) conditions identified in DOT roadside inspections. While this condition can be caused by a variety of reasons, an improperly installed or maintained, or worn-out ASA is not an uncommon culprit.

Whether caused by the slack adjuster or another component, these violations can lead to costly fines or freight delays, neither of which fleets can afford in the age of competitive rates and high customer expectations.

The main functions of the ASA are basic: to transmit brake force and to control the gap between the brake drum and shoe; yet ASAs remain the most misunderstood brake component in a drum brake system.

 “Long life and high performance of your ASAs come down to three important factors – proper installation, preventative maintenance, and routine inspection,” said Daniel. “To make life easier on your technicians during installation, our unhanded design has the smallest footprint of any ASA on the market meaning a Gunite ASA can be used on either side of a truck or trailer.”

The entire announcement can be viewed by clicking HERE.

About Author

Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Senior Editor for The BRAKE Report. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.