Tips for Better Brake Maintenance on Semi Trailers

Tips for Better Brake Maintenance on Semi Trailers

April 14, 2021

Semis traveling at highway speeds can take the equivalent of a couple football fields to come to a complete stop—and that’s assuming their brakes are fully functional. Given this stopping distance, it’s extremely important for owner-operators and fleet managers to ensure the brakes on their trailers are in good condition at all times when the vehicles are heading out on the road.

Brake problems may be responsible for as many as a third of all large truck accidents. Staying on top of brake maintenance and getting any necessary truck and trailer repair in Centre County, PA should be a top priority for truck owners.

Here’s a quick overview of some important brake maintenance tips for semi trailers:

  • Regularly check air pressure: The brakes on your trailer will rely on proper air pressure levels if they are to function properly for the long term. Proper air pressure readings will generally be between 100 and 125 psi. If the pressure doesn’t fall within that range, you should ensure the tires are refilled appropriately.
  • Make sure everything is greased: Grease is important for keeping the brake system operating as smoothly as possible. You should grease up your slack adjusters, which see usage every time the semi’s air brakes are applied. These adjusters help to maintain proper alignment. You’ll also need to inspect and grease all of the S cams in between brake shoe changes. S cams are designed to push the brake shoe into the brake drum, which is what brings the vehicle to a halt. This action needs to occur smoothly, and there should be nothing that gets in the way of it happening.
  • Replace parts as needed: Certain parts of the brake system may need to be replaced now and then to keep everything in good condition. Semi trailer brake shoes do wear down over time, which results in them needing to be replaced. These brake shoes often have wear indicators built in, which will make it easy for you to inspect the system yourself and determine how much time you have before a replacement will be needed. But the brake shoe isn’t the only part that will need to be replaced—the springs, bushings, pins and brake drums may also see wear and tear or other forms of damage that necessitate replacement, especially when exposed to a lot of heat.
  • Inspect the anti-lock braking system: The anti-lock braking system on the trailer is a safety feature that prevents your wheels from locking up while braking and keeps them in contact with the ground during brake application. This should be inspected at least once a year to ensure the system is in good condition.
  • Inspect linings and hoses: During your inspections, you should also check brake linings and hoses. Brake linings should not be soaked with lubricant, and should not feel like they’re coming loose. They should be at least a quarter of an inch thick—otherwise, they need to be replaced. Hoses should not have any cracks or significant wear—if they have damage, they should be replaced as well.

For more information about truck and trailer repair in Centre County, PA, contact the team at S&R Repairs Towing & Recovery Inc. today.

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