Semi-trucks are used for hauling large loads across long distances. Given the size and weight of these vehicles, they require a powerful braking system to stop and start safely. Air brakes are commonly used on semi-trucks for this purpose.
Failed brakes are dangerous as they can cause a truck to lose control, leading to accidents. The air brake system is designed to be fail-safe, meaning that if one component fails, the others will still work. This reduces the risk of accidents caused by failed brakes.
A semi-truck works by using a system of air compressors, tanks, and lines to power the brakes. The driver controls the brakes by depressing a pedal in the cab. This pedal is connected to a valve that opens and closes, allowing air to flow into the brake system.
Read on to understand what air brakes are, how they work, and their advantages.
What Are Air Brakes?
These brakes work using compressed air generated by the truck’s engine. The air is then sent to the braking system through hoses. When the driver steps on the brake pedal, a valve releases the air and applies pressure to the brakes.
There are two main types of air brakes: service brakes and parking brakes. Service brakes are used when the truck is in motion, and parking brakes are used to keep the truck stationary when parked.
Benefits of Air Brakes in Semi-trucks
1. Air Brakes Provide More Stopping Power Than Hydraulic Brakes
Hydraulic brakes are great for smaller vehicles, but when it comes to big rigs, air brakes are much more effective. That’s because air brakes can generate much more stopping power than hydraulic ones. This is because air brakes use compressed air to create braking force, while hydraulic brakes rely on fluid pressure.
2. Air Brakes Are Less Likely To Overheat
Air brakes don’t have the friction that regular brakes do, so they don’t produce as much heat. This is good news for two reasons: first, it means your brakes will last longer; second, it cuts down on the amount of wear and tear on your brake system overall.
3. Air Brakes Are More Reliable
Reliability comes from having fewer parts that can fail. With air brakes, no fluid leaks, and no brake fade from overheating. Air brakes also last longer than hydraulic brakes, so you’ll get more miles out of them before they need to be replaced.
4. Air Brakes Are Less Sensitive To Variations in Temperature
Temperature variations occur when a truck is driven in different climates or moves between a hot warehouse and a cold parking lot. The fluids can thicken and reduce braking power when the brake system gets too cold. Conversely, when the system is too hot, the fluids can expand and cause braking problems. Air brakes are not as sensitive to these temperature variations because they use air, which is not affected by temperature changes like fluids.
Air brake failure will cause the truck driver to lose control of the truck’s braking. The air brakes on a semi-truck are essential to the safety of the driver and other motorists on the road.