Source: Commercial Car Journal post
GREENBELT, Md. – The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold its annual Brake Safety Week Aug. 23-29, the first major truck component inspection blitz since the coronavirus pandemic postponed CVSA’s International Roadcheck from May to Sept. 9-11.
Inspectors will be on the lookout for critical out-of-service brake violations, along with other OOS (out-of-service) violations. While there are plenty of things to inspect, odds are high that if a truck is pulled OOS that it’s going to be brake-related.
The numbers really don’t change much year to year. During last year’s three-day Roadcheck blitz in June, braking systems topped the list at 28 percent of OOS citations, followed by tires and wheels at 19.3 percent and brake adjustment at 17.1 percent.
It’s no secret that sound maintenance is key to cutting brake violations and keeping trucks on the road but judging by the high percentage of OOS brake violations, some fleets can benefit from changes in shop practices, as well as revisiting how drivers are handling pre-trip inspections.
CVSA Brake Safety Week Set for August
Homer Hogg, director of technical service at TravelCenters of America, pointed out a common shop approach to brake maintenance that can lead to costly problems down the road at a time when the industry is up against rising insurance rates, costly litigation and a shaky market brought on by the coronavirus.
“Don’t make the mistake of extending your lubrication intervals too far,” Hogg said. “The tendency is to align chassis lubrication with engine oil drain intervals, however, this can lead to slack adjusters getting dry and not operating properly. Additionally, have your foundation brake parts inspected before the vehicle is lubricated. Worn brake foundation parts will prevent the slack adjusters from maintaining the proper stroke.”
Cutting corners on brake maintenance can lead to costly failures.
“When doing an overhaul on drum brakes it is as important to check the drums as it is the brake shoes,” said WABCO’s regional director of marketing Collin Shaw. “The drum and the brake shoe are both important parts of the friction equation on a drum brake. Putting new shoes on a damaged drum will be a waste of money for a fleet and potentially dangerous and more costly in the long-run.”
Fleets looking to increase brake efficiency may want to invest in disc brakes. Besides offering shorter stopping distances and a reduction in ‘hot runners,’ disc brakes have internal adjuster mechanisms which, according to Shaw, result in far less out of stroke issues than drum brakes. There are other benefits as well.
“Outside of CVSA violations, disc brakes can also offer significant improvements in maintenance costs,” Shaw said. “In a study performed by WABCO it can take as little as 25 minutes to replace brake pads on disc brakes, versus up to 55 minutes to replace brake shoes on drum brakes. When dealing with four to six wheel-ends on a truck or trailer, this can mean a difference of two to three hours per truck or trailer. As maintenance costs continue to rise, this can mean real savings for a fleet.”
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