Bendix offers brake care tips in advance of Brake Safety Week

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ELYRIA, Ohio — Brake Safety Week runs from Sept. 9-15, and with that in mind, Bendix has offered some tips on how to best care for commercial vehicle braking systems.

During the CVSA Operation Air Brake initiative, more than 30,800 vehicles were inspected last year. More than 30% of vehicles inspected were placed out of service for brake-related defects, the agency reports.

To avoid that scenario, Bendix offers a few helpful tips and reminders for commercial vehicle operators.

Fleets and drivers should familiarize themselves with the CVSA inspection requirements and procedures. Operation Air Brake focuses on six areas, including: driver’s licence; registration; low air warning device; pushrod travel: brake linings/drums; leaks/air loss rate; and tractor protection system.

“At Bendix, we emphasize the importance of conducting regularly scheduled preventive maintenance and pre-trip inspections,” said Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB). “For Operation Air Brake, pre-trip brake inspections take on added importance. We suggest that drivers test for leaks, examine brake shoes, and measure chamber stroke in accordance with Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) and industry standard practices.”

To check for leaks, Bendix suggests a 90-100 psi brake application, followed by a walk-around inspection of the vehicle while listening for audible leaks. CVSA inspectors will also test the vehicle’s low air pressure warning device, and if a leak is detected, measure the air loss rate, Bendix warns.

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 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, Bendix advises.

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.

 “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. “We also strongly advocate maintaining brake systems with original equipment replacement parts specifically engineered for today’s higher performing drum brakes. Choosing non-OE replacement brake lining or slack adjusters, for example, can significantly reduce performance, creating a safety hazard or leading to noncompliance.”

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