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Air Brakes - Inspection Week 2019 | Semi Truck Repair

Air Brake Inspection

It’s approaching quickly, that wonderful week in September where the DOT will get down and dirty under your trucks measuring, among other things, the pushrod stroke on all your air brakes.

Since 1994, and the dawn of automatic slack adjusters, you’ll find less and less people manually adjusting the air brakes on their trucks. But while self adjusting slack adjusters take most of the heavy lifting out of the process, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be checked and maintained. Additionally, while there is tons of talk on that particular subject, your pushrod stroke certainly isn’t the only component of your brake equipment that Inspectors will be looking for. In fact, since last years 35,080 inspections during brake check week netted nearly 5,000 out of service vehicles, we’d guess the opposite is actually true.

Here’s the scoop, if you are mashing the brakes to the floor to get your truck to stop? Something is wrong. If you are hitting the brakes and it’s taking a way longer than usual time to get your equipment stopped? Something is wrong. If you’re hitting the brakes and hearing some crazy rubber on road sounds and your truck is taking longer to stop? It’s probably because you’ve got one brake left doing all the stopping, and SOMETHING IS WRONG.

However, even if the obvious signs of issues aren’t there – our advice is to get your mechanic under your equipment BEFORE an inspector does it. On the off chance that you find a small infraction, you can still correct it, before you¬†have to¬†correct it roadside (at an extra expense) and pay the fine that goes along with it.

If you’ve got a shop or mechanic, below is the “cheat sheet” the CVSA put out. It serves as a good list of things to check on your brake before the Inspections start. And as always, if you don’t have a mechanic to take a look? Give us a call and we’ll check into it for ya.

  • Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system.
  • Check for S-cam flip over. Be alert for audible air leaks around brake components and lines.
  • Check that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa).
  • Inspect for non-manufactured holes (e.g., rust holes, holes created by rubbing or friction, etc.) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake.
  • Measure pushrod travel.
  • Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air pressure warning devices.
  • Inspect tractor protection system, including the bleedback system on the trailer. Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer.


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