Stop for Maintenance, Part 2

Certain standards for medium duty vocational brake replacement are in place for a reason. Our experts offer tips on how to make brakes last longer, and what to keep in mind while shops create maintenance and replacement schedules.

No matter how religious a shop is with preventative maintenance (PM), brake systems will eventually have to be replaced. Randy Petresh, vice president of technical services for Haldex Brakes, says the problem with brakes and tires is fleets are constantly wearing them out, so replacement...

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Eberling reinforces that whatever you do to one side you do to the other. "It would also probably be a good idea to check ABS sensors to make sure they are in proper adjustment as they are doing the brake job."


As the bulk of the maintenance continues to be done in-house, here are a few things to keep in mind, according to our experts.

Kevin Pfost, technical service at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, says, "An important thing when you acquire a new truck, whether it is brand new or it is acquired as a serviced used vehicle, check the brakes upon receipt of the vehicle just to make sure that everything is there and that it is working."

"There are many things that are apart of the brake system that are set up upon first installation, like a slack adjuster. It's the preverbal kick of the tires before you take it out on the road on both new and recently purchased vehicles," Pfost says.


Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake's Caggiano said, "The one thing that comes immediately to mind is the myth that the automatic slack adjuster is automatically adjusting-it needs to be set up properly and it needs to be maintained."

Andrew Hess, marketing manager of hydraulic parts for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, wants to remind fleets, "Most guys who work on trucks are very well trained; however, in smaller shops where it isn't as controlled of an environment, they may receive a driver complaint concerning a truck and notice that a slack adjuster is out of adjustment. They may be tempted to manually adjust the slack adjuster into its correct operating range and send the truck its way.

"The problem with this approach is that, usually when an automatic adjuster is out of adjustment, it is due to some other issue in the foundation brake. If you just manually adjust it back to the correct position, the problem is going to present itself again. So, you have to do a little bit of analysis when you see something out of adjustment, because generally that's an indication of a problem with another foundation brake component,"says Hess.


There are always indications that can be measured to evaluate the wear on the components. Whether it is listening to the driver's complaints to diagnose a problem, or physically getting under the truck to take a look, no amount of effort will be wasted when proper maintenance and replacements schedules are followed.

Petresh's take on brake systems is that it is crucial to reinforce strict PM practices. He also reminds fleets to utilize items like organizations, technical manuals and other publications. Component providers and professional associations put a lot of resources into producing these materials, which can often be wasted because no one takes advantage of them.

ASE's Hornicek encourages fleet shops to take advantage of the technical manuals offered by various company websites. Many of these manuals are free of charge and will download instantly. The following websites offer technical service information and brake maintenance tips: Literature Center Products and Services Commercial Vehicle Systems North America

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