When you press the brake pedal on your truck, you expect an instant response. Yet any number of issues can cause your vehicle’s braking systems to fail, increasing your risk of a serious accident while putting you and your cargo in danger. That’s why maintaining your truck’s braking system is so important and a major part of your Pre-Trip Inspection.
From August 20–26, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration (CVSA) will conduct its annual Brake Safety Week. Inspectors will perform Level I and Level V roadside inspections and look for any potential brake system defects that could put your vehicle out of service. This year, inspectors will pay particular attention to the condition of a vehicle’s brake linings and pads.
The CVSA offers these 10 tips that can help ensure your brake linings and pads will pass a roadside inspection:
1. Inspect all the parts of the brake linings and pads that you can see during pre- and post-trip inspections.
2. Check for signs of missing or damaged brake lining, such as grooves in the drum from rivet contact.
3. Look at the shoe-to-drum clearance and ensure that there is adequate lining on the shoe.
4. Try to find any signs of leaks from the hub or other components that may contaminate the lining or pad surface.
5. Look for any missing lining blocks.
6. Scan for visible cracks or voids in the lining block.
7. Check for any exposed rivets or lining blocks that look loose on the shoe.
8. On disc brakes, pay close attention to the condition of the rotor. Look for either metal-to-metal contact or heavily rusted rotors across the entire friction surface on either side.
9. Make any repairs in accordance with the brake manufacturer’s requirements and guidelines.
10. Note any brake lining or pad-related issues in your driver vehicle inspection reports and report them to the motor carrier.
In addition, always check for these brake-related items during pre- and post-trip inspections:
Any missing, non-functioning, loose or cracked parts
Audible air leaks coming from around the brake components and lines
Slack adjusters that are different lengths
Air pressure below 90-100 psi
Rust holes or broken springs in the brake housing section of the parking brake
Malfunctioning ABS warning lamps
Remember, a properly conducted pre-trip inspection will go a long way toward passing a brake inspection — and keeping you and those around you safe.