ELYRIA, Ohio – Commercial vehicle braking systems are vital to driver and highway safety year-round – but even more so in winter, when road and weather conditions across North America make it even more imperative to have properly maintained components at the wheel-ends. This installment of the Bendix Tech Tips Series focuses on preventive maintenance practices to keep brakes in good working condition when cold, snow, and ice are the order of the day.
“Safety systems like full stability and collision mitigation can be valuable on winter roads, but they perform at their best only when the brakes at the wheel-ends are also in peak condition to deliver stopping power,” said Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions, Wheel-End, at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. “The right preventive maintenance practices can make all the difference.”
Take a Good Look
Inspect air brake chamber housings for damage or corrosion and ensure that dust plugs are properly installed and seated. On air-disc-braked wheel-ends, check for cuts or tears on the protective boots.
“What you’re looking for here is anything that could allow corrosive materials to take hold,” McComsey explained. “Not just water, but things like harsh chemicals used to treat winter roads. Excessive corrosion of the chamber can lead to failure of the housing, and ripped or punctured boots can allow contaminants and moisture to get into an air disc brake caliper, causing corrosion and long-term damage.”
Air disc brake guide pins should also be inspected for slidability, and the shear adaptor cover needs to be in place and fully seated. Preparing air disc brakes for winter weather also means checking that the pads move freely in the carrier – if not, remove them and clean the carrier surface with a wire brush – and making sure the brake moves freely on its guidance system, which should be replaced if movement is restricted.
About the Bendix Tech Tips Series
Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of leading-edge active safety, air management, and braking system technologies, is committed to helping keep commercial vehicles on the road and in good working condition. The Bendix Tech Tips series addresses common commercial vehicle maintenance questions and issues concerning the total range of components found within foundation and air brake systems, as well as advanced safety systems.