A truck driver opens the door to his red truck

All About Semi-Truck Brake Issues

The brake system is one of the most essential components of a semi-truck. Imagine the amount of weight being hauled that, when needed, must be able to come to a quick and safe stop. 

That’s why the brakes should be inspected regularly for wear and tear. However, like all things in life, unexpected brake issues can arise when you’re on the road. In that case, it’s important to know how what to do to keep you and every driver as safe as possible.

Semi-Truck Brakes: Troubleshooting

If your truck’s brakes are imbalanced this causes them to wear out unevenly. One side of the system becomes weaker than the other, increasing the chance of dangerous issues. If you hear squeaking or scraping noises, or the brakes aren’t as responsive as they once were, it’s time to get them checked!

Here are some of the most common brake issues:

  • Brake locking: Sometimes a brake shoe can get stuck, which causes a slower acceleration as the brake struggles to release. 
  • Improper maintenance: Your truck should be inspected and maintained on a regular basis to stay on top of wear and tear.
  • Improper loading: Loads should be distributed evenly throughout the trailer and kept as low as possible. If some areas are heavier than others, this can impact how efficiently a truck can brake and accelerate.
  • Brake fading: This occurs when a driver pumps the brakes too much, which can lead to overheating. Short, hard pushes are ideal instead of holding the brakes down for a long time.
  • Airline issues: If the truck’s airline becomes cracked or damaged, the air is no longer pressurized, resulting in faulty braking.

How to Safely Handle Brake Failure

Brake failure is a scary and dangerous situation that no driver wants to find themselves in, but if this does happen to you there are some ways to try and stop your truck safely. 

One way is to downshift and use the emergency brake. If your truck has hydraulic brakes, start to gently pump to slow down gradually. Seek out an escape route or utilize an emergency ramp if it's available.

All About Semi-Truck Brake Issues
Courtney L.
February 1, 2022

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