Bendix offers tips for Brake Safety Week

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, supports the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Brake Safety Week, which this year takes place September 9-15.

Aimed at reducing the number of highway crashes caused by improperly maintained or faulty braking systems, the Brake Safety Week campaign—also known as Operation Air Brake—employs teams of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)-certified inspectors to conduct roadside checks of commercial vehicles and their drivers.

The program targets commercial vehicles in the United States and Canada, and is conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

To prepare for Brake Safety Week, Bendix advises fleets and drivers to familiarize themselves with CVSA inspection requirements and procedures. Operation Air Brake targets six items for inspection: driver license, registration, low air warning device, pushrod travel (chamber stroke), brake linings/drums, leaks/air loss rate, and tractor protection system.

Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB), said, “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- to 100-psi brake application, followed by a walk-around inspection of the vehicle, while listening for audible leaks. The CVSA inspection will also test the vehicle’s low air pressure warning device, and if a leak is detected, measure the air loss rate.

Brake shoes should be examined for cracks and checked to ensure they meet minimum lining thickness standards.

To measure the chamber stroke on each wheel-end, Bendix typically recommends checking the distance from chamber to 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 manufacturer’s instructions regarding adjustment of slack adjusters.

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,” said Ganaway. “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 non-compliance.”

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