Everyone who owns a vehicle knows the importance of brakes, but brakes on a truck are a very different system than what you’d find on your average car. Truck braking systems rely on air rather than hydraulic fluid, which makes them much more reliable since they can never leak or run out of fluid and lose effectiveness. This doesn’t mean they last forever, however. Even air brakes can wear over time because of the strain of stopping the tremendous weight of a tractor-trailer. This is especially true of the brake pads and rotors. Read on for signs that you need to add brake pads to the shopping list when buying truck parts. The safety of your rig is at stake.
General Brake Maintenance
Air braking systems need general maintenance just like standard braking systems, and it is not something you should put off any longer than necessary. If your brakes aren’t working their best, you could be putting yourself and everyone around you in danger. The two main components of the braking system that usually need attention are the pads and the rotors. Pads gradually wear over time, and when they’re gone, the rotors can wear down because they scrape against the calipers. Regularly replacing the pads is key to preserving the rotors longer, since refinishing or replacing the rotors is very expensive. Pads should usually be replaced every 50,000 miles. They may need to be replaced more often, however, if you carry a lot of very heavy loads, do more stop-and-go driving than highway driving, or drive in hazardous weather. Road grime can also cause parts to wear more quickly, especially salt spray from winter weather.
Signs to Look For
You know how your rig feels when it is well-maintained and everything is functioning right, so pay attention to anything that feels off, specifically pulling, vibrations, and softening of the brake pedal. Pulling can indicate any number of issues, including tire alignment, but it can also indicate that brake components are wearing out. If your truck seems to want to veer right or left instead of rolling straight, it is time for maintenance at your trusted service provider. Similarly, vibrations when you press on the brake pedal can indicate a rotor problem, at which point your pads are likely already toast – get your rig in ASAP. Finally, if you have to push the brake pedal further down, or it feels like there is less resistance, that is another sign of wear you can feel.
Signs to Listen For
The major signs to listen for as you’re driving and engaging the brakes are high-pitched squealing and grinding. Squealing is almost always a sign to replace your brake pads, while grinding usually signals that your pads are gone, and your rotors are at risk. Either way, you need to get in and get those pads replaced.
Baltimore Freightliner-Western for all Your Trucking Needs!
Whether you are looking to upgrade your fleet to tow trucks or simply interested in the latest trucking technology, you can rely on Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star. We have provided top-notch service for the trucking industry for 30 years and would love to assist you in buying a new top-of-the-line truck, finding the specialty parts you need, or repairing your truck. Give us a call toll-free at 800-832-7278 or locally at 410-685-4474, or contact us online. To find out more about what we are up to, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.