Everything You Need to Know About Semi Truck Brake Failure – Affordable Heavy Truck Parts

Semi-trucks are huge and can sometimes be intimidating. Many drivers try their best to stay away from semi-trucks on the road and with good reasons. Given the size of the vehicle, an accident can be catastrophic. The danger posed by these types of trucks is why strict regulations are in place to guide the drivers, operation, owners, and types of heavy truck parts used during maintenance and servicing. If you have ever driven past a semi-truck and wondered how these large vehicles can stop when the driver needs them to, you’re probably wondering about the brake system.


A brake system is a safety feature in vehicles to bring them to a halt. Semi-trucks are no different as they are fitted with a braking system that, when maintained, functions accurately to bring the vehicle to a stop when applied. 


What Type of Brakes Do Semi-Trucks Use?


Semi-trucks use air brakes. Air brakes are a combination of three different types of brakes; air brakes, parking brakes, and emergency brakes. Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks, manufacturers have brilliantly designed the braking system such that they work amazingly when applied.


The air brakes in the semi-trucks are designed to utilize friction to bring the vehicle to a halt. The friction is applied to the brake pad which then compresses the air stored within the truck’s storage tank. A governor sets the pressurized air which is then applied to the brake pad. 


The parking brakes are designed to keep the rig in place and prevent it from rolling away when it is parked. The emergency brake, on the other hand, is designed to bring the rigs to a halt. Depending on the type of semi-trucks, you may encounter an automatically engaging emergency brake.


How to Tell If You Are Having Brake Issues


Semi-truck brake problems are estimated to cause about 145,000 injuries annually according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Department of Transportation further reveals that about 29.4% of all semi-truck accidents are caused by brakes out of adjustment, brake failures, and other related problems. 


The alarming rate of these accidents requires all road users, especially semi-truck drivers to know the signs of brake failure. Below are some of the common signs of brake problems in semi-trucks.


Loud Thumping or Screeching Noise


The braking system in semi-trucks is designed to engage seamlessly and lower the truck’s speed or bring it to a complete halt, depending on the goal. However, a failed brake system, a brake system that is out of alignment, or a brake that has disconnected from the truck’s tire may produce a loud screeching or thumping noise as a symptom.


Forward Jerking


Depending on how and where the semi-truck braking system was engaged, you should expect a seamless reduction in speed until the truck comes to a halt. However, when the braking system is forcefully applied, it may create a loud noise due to tires screeching. In the absence of such an occurrence, a forward jerk is an indication of a building braking problem. 


Rapid Downhill Acceleration


A fully functional braking system is expected to counter the effect of gravity, especially if you are driving downhill. However, if you have noticed uncontrolled speed downhill with your braking system doing little to halt the speed, you may have a braking problem on your hands. Leaving such a problem unattended is a safety risk to both the driver and other road users. 


Why Semi Truck Brakes Fail


The braking system is one of the most used systems in a semi-truck. As a mechanical system, it is prone to wear and tear and eventual damage. Training drivers to pay attention to their braking system can help save lives and prevent accidents on the road.


Some of the common reasons why a semi-truck’s braking system may fail are;


Bent or misaligned brake linings: Improper rig loading and poor wheel alignment are some of the leading causes of braking problems. Poor wheel alignment can lead to reduced braking efficiency, poor fuel efficiency, and can also put undue pressure on the suspension components.


Contamination: The presence of contaminants in the braking system can cause the brake pads or the system to lock up. This lock-up can usually be attributed to the presence of solid contamination. Moisture can also lead to rust and sticky callipers.


Rusts: Moisture is the leading cause of rust in metals. The braking system, when exposed to moisture and the right conditions, may begin to rust. Rust makes it harder for the callipers to activate and can lead to brake failure.


Leaky or Short Fluid Lines: Brake oils are crucial in all vehicles for a good reason. The fluid lubricates the braking system and prevents friction. When the fluids become short or leak, friction may occur thus leading to braking problems.


Imbalanced Brakes: Brake shoes come in pairs and are meant to experience even wear and tear throughout their use. The problem arises when the brake shoes are not balanced thus causing one to wear faster than the other. In such a situation, one side becomes weaker than the other and may begin to give creaking, scraping, or squeaking noises.


Improper Loading: Semi-trucks have recommended weights they can carry. However, loading your semi-truck improperly can cause the brakes on one side to wear faster. This can lead to problems with stopping and other issues.


Over-braking: It is recommended that drivers only apply their brakes when necessary. Improper braking can cause the brake pads or shoes to wear out faster. Braking should also be done gently.


Improper Maintenance: Maintenance is a huge part of safety precautions. Semi-truck drivers and owners should pay more attention to their vehicles and their maintenance needs. Proper maintenance can catch brake problems early and address them.


Brake Lock: This is common when the brake shoe or pad becomes stuck. Brake lock often offers a few signs including slow acceleration which may suggest that the truck is finding it difficult to beat a barrier.


Paying attention to your brake system and other safety systems in your heavy truck can save lives and help to prevent accidents. Visit https://www.affordablehtp.com for genuine heavy truck parts.

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