Check Your Brakes for Safety, Tips from CVSA

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March 31, 2014 by Minuteman Trucks

Information brought to you by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance


After a long winter you should check your brakes to make sure they are still up to safety standards. Out of adjustment brakes and brake system violations combine to represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial vehicles on the road. Brake systems that are improperly installed or poorly maintained can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks or buses, a serious safety risk.

Drivers can inspect their brake systems every day. Even if you can’t go under the vehicle, you can listen for air leaks, check low air signals, and look for component damage. If you can go under your vehicle, you can measure pushrod stroke the same way a CVSA-certified inspector does, and compare the results to the pushrod stroke limits set by regulation.

Important components to check on your brake system:

  • Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts
  • Check for “S” cam flip over
  • Be alert for audible air leaks around brake components and lines
  • Check that the slack adjusters are the same length (from center of “S” cam to center of clevis pin), and that the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Check brake adjustment
  • Ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90 and 100 psi
  • Measure pushrod travel
  • Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamps and low air pressure warning devices

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