ELYRIA, Ohio — The North America-wide Roadcheck enforcement blitz will be held this week and with that in mind, Bendix is offering tips on how to pass roadside inspections.
It’s expected tens of thousands of trucks will be inspected during the 72-hour blitz June 3-5.
“Last year, one in five vehicles inspected was placed out of service due to a violation serious enough to be considered an imminent safety hazard according to CVSA,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs. “Bendix shares the CVSA’s commitment to safer vehicles, which is why we strive to equip fleets, drivers, and technicians with the tools they need to run safely on our roadways.”
Brake maintenance priorities
Bendix stresses two levels of brake maintenance. One is preventive maintenance – the regularly scheduled, thorough review of the vehicle. The other is the pre-trip visual inspection, in which drivers check for loose hoses, leaks, and other obvious problems.
Bendix encourages fleet owners and owner/operators to pay careful attention to braking systems. In 2013, braking systems accounted for nearly half – 49.6% – of the out-of-service violations issued during Roadcheck. Brake system violations made up 30.1%, while brake adjustment violations totaled 19.5%.
“A thorough examination of brake lining thickness and condition is vital to both safety and regulatory compliance,” noted Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB). “Cracked or worn linings may not provide the stopping power necessary to maintain effective braking power, and brake lining inspections play a role in Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring.”
Correct chamber stroke is just as important as compliant brake linings. Wheel-ends beyond the maximum allowable brake stroke are considered out of adjustment, and under CVSA inspection guidelines, drivers can incur fines if 25 percent of a truck’s wheel-ends are out of adjustment. During Roadcheck 2013, approximately 3,700 vehicles were removed from service due to out-of-adjustment brakes.
“If you’re a fleet or driver operating vehicles with automatic slack adjusters, remember this: Do not manually adjust the adjuster,” said Mark Kromer, engineering and product manager for slack adjusters at BSFB. “While there are several factors that can cause a brake stroke to be beyond the maximum allowable value, none of them can be fixed by manual readjustment of the automatic slack adjuster. The key is to discover the cause.”
Choosing replacement parts
Bendix suggests fleets and technicians to maintain vehicles using proper replacement parts – ensuring that they meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements – for best performance and compliance results. Commercial vehicle components function at their best when replacement parts are held to the specific standards engineered by OEMs.
Performance issues and other problems often occur when parts not meeting OEM standards are introduced into a system.
“Relining today’s higher performing drum brakes is an important example,” Ganaway said. “Replacing with high performance friction – designed to meet federal RSD requirements – is essential. Incorrect or inferior replacement friction material is likely to reduce performance, wear out faster, and create a safety hazard.”
Because not all replacement friction marketed as acceptable under RSD will actually perform to the standard, Bendix advises fleets to ask for evidence of compliance from their friction supplier when replacing the friction on their RSD-equipped trucks.
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