How to Pre-Check Your Air Brakes

Posted on

If you are responsible for maintaining a diverse trucking fleet, you know that the bigger the vehicle gets, the more complex it becomes from a mechanical perspective and the more attention needs to paid in order to keep it running efficiently. With the largest rigs, you've got an even bigger challenge, as you have to keep the air brake system in top condition with all its various components. How can you make sure that you introduce a routine that checks the most important parts of this system so everybody is safe and your organisation is on the top of its game?


Before a vehicle of this type can be allowed to leave the yard or continue its journey if it is 'on the road', the operator will need to conduct several checks. At the bare minimum, the operating pressure has to come up to recommended levels, once he or she has finished a build-up pre-check. The air compressor governor will also show whether the cut-in and cut-out pressures are adequate.

Checking the Couplers

Individual parts of the system are connected through couplers, and these need to be inspected for consistency. In particular, the rubber seals that connect the coupler to the rest of the system are vulnerable, as a leak can develop here, prompting compressor failure.

Sensitive Adjustments

As any long trip unfolds, it will be necessary to adjust the brake sensitivity to counterbalance the load and adjust for a progressively lighter weight. This can be quite a delicate adjustment to ensure that the whole rig works just as well when it is empty as when it is full.

Attention to Valves

Air brakes can only work if the various valves are fully functional. You will find a number of these are scattered throughout the system, including a check valve between the air reservoir and reserve tanks, a safety valve and one which is located underneath the pedal in the driver's cab.

Knowing the Numbers

Not all vehicles are the same, and this is certainly the case when it comes to brake pressures. It's a good idea to record these levels on a check sheet and keep this within the cab so it can be referenced by the driver whenever needed. Should any of these pressures drop, then this will be shown on the dashboard gauge to prompt the driver to take action.

Fixing Issues

From time to time, replacements will need to be made, and it's crucial to get the best-quality parts from a recognised source. There is never room for complacency or confusion during these checks, and you must make sure that all of your staff are well trained for the purpose.

For more information, get in touch with a company that services parts such as Hino truck parts.