The importance of brake system maintenance for truck companies
Many drivers in California become anxious when they find themselves in close proximity to a semi-tractor trailer. These large commercial vehicles can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and they can cause catastrophic accidents when driven recklessly. Shoddy truck maintenance also endangers other road users, and problems with semi braking systems are particularly hazardous. Trucking companies may face ruinous lawsuits if an accident is caused by defective brakes, but these risks can be mitigated by strictly following inspection and maintenance schedules.
Semi-tractor trailer air braking systems should be inspected regularly for wear and damage, and a good supply of replacement parts should be on hand. Brake pads contain metal strips called wear indicators that begin to squeal as pads wear, and springs, bushings and pins should be changed along with the pads. Brake shoes and drums require less frequent replacement. Greasing slack adjusters is another important part of braking system maintenance. These adjusters can work either manually or automatically, and they are designed to keep brakes in alignment.
Semi braking systems use compressed air to generate incredible stopping power, but even minor leaks or holes can weaken these systems by robbing them of pressure. Linings and hoses should be checked for damage before every journey, and any sign of excessive wear should be reported and rectified. Drivers should also monitor braking system air pressure as they proceed. Pressure should remain between 100psi and 125 psi, and the vehicle should pull over if pressure drops below 60 psi.
Lawsuits against trucking companies resulting from accidents caused by poor maintenance of the vehicle sometimes hinge on how the technical information found in maintenance logs and repair orders is interpreted. Attorneys representing injured victims may call upon experts in commercial vehicle maintenance to explain why repair and inspection schedules that may seem quite reasonable for a car or SUV are far from adequate for an 80,000 pound articulated vehicle.