Brake Safety Week, also known as Operation Air Brake, targets six items for inspection:
1. driver's license
3. low air warning device
4. pushrod travel (chamber stroke)
5. brake linings/drums, leaks/air loss rate, and tractor protection system.
"For Operation Air Brake, pre-trip brake inspections take on added importance," said Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake.
"We suggest that drivers test for leaks, examine brake shoes, and measure chamber stroke in accordance with Technology & Maintenance Council and industry standard practices."
To check for leaks, Bendix suggests a 90 to 100 psi brake application, followed by a walk-around inspection of the vehicle, while listening for audible leaks. The CVSA inspection will also test the vehicle's low air pressure warning device, and, if a leak is detected, measure the air loss rate.
Brake shoes should be examined for cracks and checked to ensure they meet the minimum lining thickness standards.
To measure the chamber stroke on each wheel-end, Bendix typically recommends checking the distance from the chamber to the pin with the brakes released, and again after a fully charged brake application. Drivers can incur fines if the difference between the two measurements - the chamber stroke - is outside allowable limits on 25% of a truck's wheel-ends.
For foundation drum brakes, fleets should follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the adjustment of slack adjusters.
In conducting general wheel-end inspections, Bendix emphasizes close attention to the rubber boots on brakes, where cracks or tears could allow moisture to get inside.
As safety requirements evolve and commercial vehicles continue to advance technologically, regularly scheduled preventive maintenance, along with continued driver and technician training, will become even more vital to the industry.
"Proper brake adjustment and maintenance are more important than ever to commercial vehicle and roadway safety - especially with the first phase of new Reduced Stopping Distance requirements implemented in 2011, and the second phase set to take effect in 2013," Ganaway said.