Brake Safe® saves time and money, and makes vehicles safer, but some fleets still have reservations. Here are some of the key reservations and responses.
WHY DO I NEED BRAKE SAFE® STROKE INDICATORS WHEN I HAVE AUTOMATIC SLACKS ADJUSTERS?
Automatic slacks do not release a driver’s obligation to complete a mandatory pre-trip inspection of brake stroke travel. Brake Safe® allows for quick and accurate inspection of brake adjustment status. The majority of brake adjustment fines and out of service orders issued to fleets have been to vehicles equipped with automatic slacks.
Automatic slacks are good but not fool proof. They must be set up correctly during the initial installation and require regular maintenance and lubrication to work. Brake Safe® will show whether your slack is properly set up and working correctly. Slacks that frequently indicate an out of adjustment condition identified by Brake Safe® could be defective. Brake Safe® will also identify weak or broken springs in the emergency brake system and can point to other defects in the foundation braking system.
OUR DRIVERS WON’T TAKE THE TIME TO USE THEM, EVEN IF I PUT THEM ON SO WHY DO IT?
We understand that drivers are anxious to get on the road. Drivers using Brake Safe® have told us that they are able to perform the mandatory brake stroke inspection during a quick walk-around. They can start driving sooner with the knowledge that their brakes are in proper adjustment and whether the slack adjuster is properly set up and working correctly.
WHAT DOES THE DOT THINK OF YOUR BRAKE SAFE® PRODUCT?
The DOT is a strong supporter of visual brake stroke indicators and they’d like to see them on all trucks and trailers. While performing a Level 1 inspection, a DOT inspector can quickly see whether your brakes are in adjustment without having to get on a creeper and crawl under the truck and trailer. We receive phone calls every week from drivers who have gone through inspection stations and who report that when the DOT inspector sees the Brake Safe® sticker and the stroke indicators installed on their vehicle they realize that the company is making a commitment to safety. Drivers have told us that the DOT moves them through the inspection process faster. When you operate your equipment with Brake Safe® you know ahead of time whether brakes are in adjustment before being stopped for inspection.
WE HAVE A LARGE FLEET AND A SMALL BUDGET. WILL THIS BE AN EXPENSIVE RETROFIT?
Brake Safe® pays for itself quickly through dramatically reduced pre-trip inspection time for drivers and brake inspection for mechanics. The DOT “mark and measure” method can take 25-30 minutes per truck or trailer to do a proper inspection while Brake Safe® takes only 5 minutes for an accurate visual check. Time is money and using Brake Safe® will provide substantial savings. Elimination of unnecessary brake adjustments will result in significant savings through improved maintenance and equipment productivity. Many fleets will install Brake Safe® at the time of regularly scheduled maintenance spreading the cost of outfitting the fleet over the maintenance cycle.
WHY SHOULD I USE BRAKE SAFE®? I ALREADY HAVE A VISUAL MEANS OF CHECKING BRAKE STROKE (EG. “THE PUSH ROD IS PRE-MARKED”; MY AUTOMATIC SLACK HAS AN INDICATOR; I USE A PLASTIC DISK”).
The existence of other ways of visually checking brake stroke is proof of the fact that a fleet operator needs an effective tool to accurately inspect brake adjustment. Look at the accuracy and durability of the method that you are currently using and compare it to using Brake Safe®. For example, how long will markings on the push rod of a new chamber be easily visible before they are hidden by dirt, mud or grease? Plastic is famous for cracking in cold weather conditions or weakening and breaking from road debris and chemical contamination. Only Brake Safe® with its durable steel manufacturing and zinc corrosion protection will stand up year after year to the harsh operating conditions of the heavy duty trucking environment.
WHY DO I NEED BRAKE SAFE®? OUR FLEET IS CLEAN; I RUN A TIGHT MAINTENANCE SHOP; WHEN TRUCKS AND TRAILERS LEAVE OUR FACILITY THE BRAKES ARE FINE.
Even the best maintained fleets can have serious brake adjustment issues. Unfortunately, when the vehicles leave the yard they are out of your control. The amount of brakes stroke travel is directly related to the amount of wear the brake shoes have. As you know, this is a factor of two things: the weight of the load carried and how often you r driver is on and off the brake pedal. With today’s road conditions, congested traffic, and unpredictable weather, properly adjusted brakes can wear down and quickly become out of adjustment. Add to this the operation parameters of the equipment including long hours of operation, punishing long hauls though mountainous terrains, constant stop and go of city transport and the increased temperatures the brake shoes endure while being applied under these severe operating conditions, your fleet may well experience faster brake wear and a higher incidence of brakes out of adjustment.
Even the best run maintenance shops are looking for ways to improve productivity and save money. Brake Safe® ensures that your shop time is not wasted. The amount of time spent adjusting brakes that really don’t need adjusting can be better utilized on other maintenance and reduce driver and equipment down time due to needless adjustment.
Without Brake Safe® to determine brake status, you run the risk of being detained at a roadside inspection in the event that a brake has become out of adjustment. The result is facing the unplanned expense of dispatching one of your mechanics or sending a mobile service company out to a truck or trailer which has been detained because of an out of adjustment condition. In addition, fines and a black mark on your CSA record can result.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH BRAKE SAFE® KIT TO ORDER?
Brake Safe® is available in two universal formats: one fits all trucks and power units while a second fits all trailer axles. There are three legal limits for brake stroke depending on the brake chamber size. They are: 1.75”; 2.00” and 2.50”. Power unit and truck kits start with the identifier “PU” and 3 part numbers handle the legal limits and as a result almost all trucks and power units. Trailer kits start with the “TL” designation and 4 part numbers will outfit over 95% of trailers. An application chart with DOT legal limits, manufacturers’ stroke limits, brake chamber type and description, and the appropriate part number is available here on our website.