A Truck Repair Shop in Wytheville, VA Explains the Different Types of Braking Systems

October 24, 2016 10:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s a gas pedal and a brake pedal on every big rig, and both are meant to have gradual pressure applied to either gain speed or to reduce speed throughout a trip. But slam down on them and you could end up fishtailing, tipping the trailer or losing complete control of your rig. To ensure your truck is in good working order, schedule a routine check-up with a local truck repair shop in Wytheville, VA today. And while you’re there, ask the mechanic to take a close look at your braking systems.

There is so much that goes on internally, whether you’re pushing the brake pedal or not. For a better understanding, here’s a breakdown of the three specific types of braking systems commonly found in semi trucks.

Air brakes

Air brakes are considered the most common braking system used for daily driving. For semi trucks, S-cam brake mechanisms are typical—it’s called this because the mechanism that pushes the brake shoe against the brake drum is shaped like an S. Less common types of these brakes are wedge brakes and disc brakes.

So, how do air brakes work? This type of air dependent braking system is activated using pressurized air to bring your truck to a stop. When the brakes are applied normally, your stop is not so rough. But a hard stop can set the system in motion too fast, causing the wheels to seize up, which is why newer semi trucks are equipped with antilock brakes to prevent such a violent reaction.

Spring brakes

Also called parking brakes, a spring brake system is activated when there is a loss of air pressure—like air pressure loss from an air leak or another kind of emergency occurring with the semi truck’s brakes. The way to describe it is as follows: During normal driving conditions, air pressure is supposed to hold spring brakes open. But in the event the applied pressure to the springs goes beyond the average pressure for proper operation, the spring brakes activate in order to stabilize the system. Spring or parking brakes can also be manually operated from inside the cab in an emergency, or to keep your truck stationary while in park.

Emergency brakes

A semi truck’s emergency brakes will kick in and activate the spring brakes when air pressure in the air brake system’s storage tanks drops below 20-45 psi. At this point, for safety, the truck will come to a stop. But it will not be out of the danger zone—or it’ll remain immobile—until a separate air tank is engaged. The emergency brakes will unlock when the semi truck’s air pressure is back up to normal levels. On the other hand, emergency brakes can be manually engaged during an unexpected brake failure.

Should you suspect your semi truck’s brake systems have issues or have sustained damage, it’s important that you bring it into a specialty truck repair shop in Wytheville, VA immediately for an inspection and repairs. We hope you’ll choose Complete Truck Service Inc. when the time comes for brake repair and more!

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