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Important Brake Maintenance

It is a big responsibility to be driving a 40 ton object down the highway at speeds reaching 70 mph. Nearly 500,000 semi truck accidents are reported each year, resulting in over 5,000 fatalities. One of the causes of accidents on the road is negligence of brake maintenance. Proper care of your truck is essential for, not only saving money in the long run, but also upholding standards of safety for you and the other drivers around you. In addition to the pain of a tragic accident, a subsequent lawsuit has the ability to cripple your business if evidence reveals poor upkeep on the truck.

Here are some maintenance suggestions to keep your brakes functioning properly.

  • Slack Adjusters

Whether your slack-adjusters are manual or automatic, they require grease to function. Check them regularly and apply plenty of grease (lithium is a good choice) to keep them in the best working condition. While you're at it, make sure the S cams are greased up as well.

  •  Part Replacement 

When the brake pads have been worn down to the point of needing to be replaced, it is a wise choice to go ahead and replace some of the other components as well, such as the pins, springs, and bushings. Shoes and drums also need to be checked periodically for wear.

  • Air Compression

Air compression is what enforces brake action in your truck; so if the compression is low (below 60 psi), the truck is not safe for operation until the brake system can be serviced. The right amount of pressure ranges between 100-125 psi. Your pressure gauge will tell you the level.

Check your hoses and linings for cracks or damage, and have them replaced if they exhibit either. The intense pressure of compressed air can turn a small crack into a blow-out.


It is a good idea to have the brakes inspected whenever you schedule an oil change. For more tips on basic brake maintenance for your heavy truck, check out the information at Safety first; and happy trucking!