Is it Time to Upgrade Your Truck Trailer’s Brakes?

By: Sloanebuilt Trailers

Knowing when to upgrade or replace your truck trailer's brakes is essential for safety. Driving a large vehicle comes with a responsibility not just for your own safety, but for everyone else on the roads as well.

This article will cover all the basics about what to look for, factors affecting your brakes and what your options are.

What to look for?
It is important to do regular maintenance on your truck's trailer to ensure everything is in working order. By doing this you can catch serious problems before they arise. Your brakes tend to have a life length of around 400,000-480,000 kilometres, but this can vary due to many factors.

There are 2 ways you can tell if your truck's trailer needs new brakes.

Use a wear gauge. The manufacturer of your vehicle will provide you with one to predict how long your brakes will last. You will be able to calculate this time only when the brake block is worn down to 50 per cent.

Do your own regular inspections. For this option, you will need a friend to help. One of you will need to apply the brakes while the other does an inspection of the brakes in action. Doing this will help to find other errors in the braking system besides worn-down pads.
Being proactive about your truck trailer's maintenance will help you avoid serious problems in the future.

What affects your brakes?
There are many factors that can affect your brakes besides how long you have used them. Here are a few common factors.

City vs coast driving
-As you might have guessed, the more frequent your stops, the more you brake pads will be worn down. This is the first factor you should consider when estimating your brake pads life cycle.

What season is it?
-Brake pads prefer a moderate climate, and this will help them last longer. But nobody can control the weather. Hot climates like Australia's cause pads to wear down faster, so you should keep this in mind when you are inspecting your brakes.

How you drive
-This is one factor where you can influence it yourself. Driving with efficiency in mind can help save fuel and your brake pads from being worn down quickly. Driving within the speed limit and slowing down early are both factors that can help you avoid overusing your brakes.

Common brake options
There are 2 common brake options for truck trailers, these are electric and hydraulic surge brakes. Here is a quick summary of them.

Electric brakes
These brakes are easier to use and provide greater control over the braking process. Electric brakes work through electromagnets and you can control the flow of electricity from your truck’s cabin.
When you master these brakes, they work particularly well when driving downhill and in adverse conditions like heavy winds.

Hydraulic surge brakes
These brakes use natural momentum to control the braking system. They are the most common braking system and work by applying pressure to the brakes through a hydraulic cylinder.
The only downside for these is that you cannot prevent your trailer from swaying in the same way that electric brakes can.