Figuratively, literally, and actually, a commercial vehicle’s wheels and brakes carry a lot of weight when it comes to safety. With the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 29th annual International Roadcheck starting tomorrow, June 7, 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 offers key points on inspecting and maintaining these crucial components.
This year’s Roadcheck runs through June 9. Approximately 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. Since 1988, the 72-hour event has included more than 1.4 million inspections. Roadcheck 2016 includes a special emphasis on tire safety.
“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 ensure the continued safe operation of your vehicle and reduce the likelihood of being placed out-of-service during a safety inspection.”
Knowledge Is Power
Keeping current regarding such regulations, as well as remaining knowledgeable about today’s ever-advancing commercial vehicle safety components and technologies, is an important part of keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely. Fleets aiming to equip their technicians with the most current and in-depth training and information can turn to a variety of options, including in-person, online and around-the-clock.
Bendix offers both its in-person Bendix Brake Training School, one of the industry’s longest-running training programs, and the popular Bendix On-Line Brake School at www.brake-school.com, with more than 50 comprehensive and interactive courses. Technical bulletins and service data sheets are available through bendix.com, along with free downloads of the Bendix ACom Diagnostics software, which helps technicians diagnose and repair antilock braking systems, automatic traction control and Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability systems. Bendix also develops and makes available tools such as the Remote Diagnostic Unit and the Trailer Remote Diagnostic Unit, which help simplify brake system troubleshooting.
All Bendix programs and components are supported by field-tested sales and service professionals, a 100 percent ASE-certified field technical support team, and the Bendix Tech Team (at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE), an expert technical support group providing service advice, brake system troubleshooting and product training.
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 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-compliant brakes, air disc brakes, full-stability and driver assistance systems such as Bendix Wingman Fusion.
“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.”
Bendix strives to deliver on areas critical to the success of fleets and owner-operators, including post-sales support such as preparation for Roadcheck 2016, safety, value and product performance. Success in these areas helps lower the total cost of vehicle ownership and strengthens return on investment in equipment, technology and technician training, moving the commercial vehicle industry forward toward its goal of safe highways for everyone.
For more information about Bendix safety systems, call Bendix at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE or visit www.safertrucks.com/solutions.