So many trucks are placed out of service during annual blitzes and inspections.

According to a recent article in the Commercial Carrier Journal and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, of 67,072 inspections during the 72-hour International Roadcheck inspection blitz in June, more than 12,000 trucks were placed out of service – an alarming 17.9% vehicle OOS rate. Be Prepared: Brakes Among Top Violations

Of those 12,00 trucks, 28% had brake-related violations, with 19.3% having tire issues, 17.1% with brake adjustment problems and 12.1% with cargo securement issues.

With Brake Safety Week around the corner – Sept. 15 – 21 – it’s important to be ready. This year’s inspection focus will be on brake hoses and tubing.

Brake hoses and tubing needs to be properly attached, undamaged, leak-free, and flexible, says the association that governs roadside truck inspections.

Vehicles with critical brake or other critical vehicle inspection item violations will be restricted from traveling until those violations are corrected. Vehicles without critical vehicle inspection item violations are eligible to receive a CVSA decal indicating that the vehicle passed inspection.

The large amount of trucks placed out of service during these inspections can be reduced if daily inspections are performed by truck drivers and owner-operators.

Tips for Daily Inspections

Tools You Need to Inspect Your Brakes:

  • Blocks/chocks to place behind tires
  • Chalk to mark push-rods
  • Small ruler to measure push-rod travel and brake linings
  • Brake application device (to apply brakes) or a “second” person to assist

Before You Inspect:

  • Park on a level road surface
  • Block/chock the tractor wheel(s) and trailer wheel(s), if hooked
  • Confirm air pressure at 90-100 psi
  • Shut off engine – Remove keys from ignition
  • Release spring (parking) brakes
  • Check each brake to confirm normal released position
  • Listen for air leaks

Inspect for:

  • Chaffing/rubbing air hoses against other hoses and/or other components
  • Hoses that are worn to second color or nylon braids are visible
  • Damaged, broken, or missing components; i.e. broken brake chamber bracket, missing clevis pin, hanging slack adjuster
  • Brake pads/linings; Air Drum brake pad, measured at the center, must be above ¼ inch. Air Disk brake, must be above 1/8 inch.
  • Cracked pads/linings or rust-jacked lining from shoe (upper & lower)
  • Excessive up/down & sideways movement on the camshaft (worn bushings)
  • Rusted drum due to inoperative brake
  • External cracks on the brake drum
  • Rusted (holes) brake chamber

Measure the Push-Rod Travel Stroke by:

  • Check air pressure gauges are holding 90-100 psi
  • Make certain spring (parking) brakes are fully released
  • Confirm you’ve made a chalk mark on each push-rod at the rear of the brake chamber
  • Via the brake pedal apply full (service) brake application (approx. 80 psi)
  • Measure distance from the chalk mark to rear of brake chamber
  • Confirm travel is within DOT Standards via brake chamber size & if short or long stroke: