Figuratively and literally, a commercial vehicle’s wheels and brakes carry a lot of weight when it comes to safety.
With the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 29th annual International Roadcheck just around the corner, now is the time for fleets and owner-operators to make sure their braking systems, wheel-ends, and tires meet safe operating requirements.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a leader in the development and manufacture of active safety and braking solutions for commercial vehicles, offers key points on inspecting and maintaining these crucial components.
This year’s Roadcheck is set for next Tuesday through Thursday, June 7-9. About 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial, territorial, and federal inspectors will conduct large truck and bus safety inspections in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
“During the 2015 Roadcheck, brake, tire, and wheel issues accounted for nearly 57 percent of the out-of-service violations,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs. “From improperly inflated tires to brakes out-of-adjustment, these are issues that are easily caught and remedied through simple, routine maintenance – but which can have seriously negative consequences if they lead to an equipment failure on the highway.”
Before hitting the road, drivers should always conduct pre-trip visual inspections to check for visible brake system problems such as loose hoses or leaks.
In the shop, regularly scheduled vehicle reviews should include conducting a 90 to 100 psi brake application and listening for audible leaks, as well as measuring the chamber stroke at each wheel-end. Drivers can incur fines under CVSA guidelines if more than 25 percent of a truck’s wheel-ends are beyond the maximum allowable brake stroke, or out of adjustment.
“Checking the condition of your friction lining for compliance is also an essential part of any inspection, whether during maintenance or pre-trip,” said Keith McComsey, Bendix director of wheel-end marketing and customer solutions. “Inspecting for lining cracks, missing portions of the lining, oil or grease contamination of the lining, compliant friction lining thickness, and more will help the continued safe operation of your vehicle and reduce the likelihood of being placed out-of-service during a safety inspection.”
This year’s Roadcheck focus on tires serves as a reminder of the importance of proper tire pressure: Nearly half of all emergency service road calls are tire-related, and industry research shows 90 percent of tire failures can be attributed to underinflation.
An underinflated tire experiences increased stress and generates higher internal running temperature, which increases the risk of a blowout. By using wheel-mounted sensors to continuously monitor temperature as well as pressure inside each tire, the SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) by Bendix CVS for tractors and SmarTire Trailer-Link TPMS by Bendix CVS for trailer systems can provide driver alerts that compensate for changing conditions.
Tires also impact the performance of advanced safety components and technologies, such as Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD)-compliant brakes, air disc brakes, full-stability, and driver assistance systems such as Bendix WingmanFusion.
“Safer highways begin with properly maintained vehicles that are operated by safety-conscious drivers and supported by well-trained technicians,” Andersky said. “Bendix aims to provide support on all three fronts – in addition to our continuous efforts to advance safety technologies – and in doing so, create a safer environment on the roads we all share.”