Tire & Brake System Tips for CVSA International Roadcheck



Proper Maintenance Procedures and Pre-Trip Checkups Can Avert Issues Related to Tires, Brakes, and Wheel-Ends

ELYRIA, Ohio – (Trailer Technician) – In 2019, almost two-thirds – or 64.4% – of the vehicles taken out of service during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) International Roadcheck had violations related to brake systems, tires and wheels, and brake adjustment. The statistic emphasizes the importance of foundational maintenance, and its role in keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely.

With those results in mind, Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC) wants to make it easier for fleets and owner-operators to plan for and accomplish basic maintenance tasks with proactive advice on tire and brake systems in time for this year’s International Roadcheck.

The 2020 Roadcheck takes place Sept. 9-11, after being postponed from its original dates of May 5-7 because of the coronavirus pandemic. During the three-day inspection and enforcement initiative, CVSA-certified inspectors in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will conduct commercial motor vehicle and driver inspections at weigh or inspection stations, examining both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.

“During the 2019 Roadcheck initiative, nearly 18% of inspected vehicles in the U.S. were removed from service because of critical violations related to either drivers or vehicles. In fact, the majority of those violations were attributed to either braking systems, tires and wheels, and brake adjustment,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix director – demos, sales and service training. “This year, inspectors will again scrutinize braking systems and wheel-end components, while also putting a special focus on examining driver requirements. Still, it’s important to note that many of the issues that turn up in these inspections – such as improper tire pressure or brakes in need of adjustment – can be easily prevented with simple, routine maintenance. Also critically important is a caliber of technician training that ensures these procedures are performed properly and at the right time.”

Since its inception in 1988, International Roadcheck – the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle program in the world – has conducted more than 1.6 million total roadside inspections in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Some 17 trucks and buses are inspected every minute of the 72-hour period, with most of them undergoing the North American Standard Level 1 Inspection. This 37-step procedure includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.

With vehicle braking systems, wheel-ends, and tires under scrutiny, Bendix – the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles – shares key points on inspecting and maintaining these crucial components.

Checking the Tires

Roadcheck tire inspections highlight the importance of maintaining proper tire pressure: Industry research shows about 90% of tire failures can be attributed to underinflation, and nearly half of all emergency service road calls are tire-related.

“When tires are underinflated, it generates higher internal running temperatures, which can trigger tire blowouts, besides putting unnecessary stress, and wear and tear on the tires,” said Jon Intagliata, Bendix product group director, Trailer Controls. “In fact, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council estimates that 20% underinflation can shorten a tire life by 30%.”

Using a system such as the SmarTire® Tire Pressure Monitoring System by Bendix CVS – or the SmarTire® Trailer-Link TPMS by Bendix CVS for trailers – can help reduce risk by providing real-time pressure alerts to the driver. Bendix SmarTire systems use a wheel-mounted sensor that continuously monitors temperature and pressure, allowing for tire alerts that compensate for changing operating conditions. The alerts can also point to other potential wheel-end issues that lead to high tire temperatures, such as a dragging brake.

Tires also impact the performance of advanced safety components and technologies, including reduced stopping distance (RSD)-compliant brakes, air disc brakes, full stability, and advanced driver assistance systems such as Bendix® Wingman® Fusion.

Brake System Checkups

Brake systems and brake adjustment contribute to a range of issues that are easily averted through regular pre-trip inspections and preventive maintenance. Drivers should always conduct standard walk-arounds before hitting the road, looking for visible brake system problems such as loose hoses or damaged brake components – air chambers or pushrods, for example.

In the shop, air brake system inspections should include the following – all of which relate directly to items inspected during Roadcheck:

  • Conducting a 90- to 100-psi brake application and listening for leaks
  • Measuring chamber stroke at each wheel-end to ensure proper brake adjustment
  • Examining friction for good condition and minimum thickness
  • Measuring/inspecting each rotor and drum for wear and heat cracking and/or leopard spotting

Brake friction is another essential component to check for compliance, whether during maintenance or pre-trip. This means inspecting for issues including lining cracks, missing portions of the lining, oil or grease contamination of the lining, and compliant friction lining thickness.

“When you do need to replace air disc brake pads or drum brake shoes, select components that will ensure the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements are met, so that your vehicle remains compliant with the standards required of RSD braking systems,“ said Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB). “Not all friction that is marketed as acceptable under today’s RSD regulations will actually perform to that standard, so Bendix recommends replacing like-for-like OEM friction. This is the best way to maintain your vehicle’s braking performance in stopping distance and wear when replacing linings on vehicles equipped with RSD brakes.”

In addition, Bendix recommends remanufactured drum brake shoes that have been coined back to their OEM-engineered shape, as opposed to those that have simply been relined with new friction. Relining a shoe that’s been exposed to the extreme force and temperature changes of normal use without having been coined can lead to reduced stopping power and premature wear.

“Don’t let inferior friction or a twisted shoe undercut the stopping power of a high-performance brake. Using OEM-quality parts ensures you will achieve the best and safest performance from your braking system,” McComsey said. “Also keep in mind, there’s a clear link between the braking system and connected safety systems: A full-stability or collision mitigation system will be negatively affected if brakes aren’t performing at their peak.”

Fleets spec’ing drum brakes and incurring repeated violations due to out-of-adjustment brakes might consider air disc brakes instead, McComsey noted, citing the Bendix® ADB22X® air disc brake as an example. “The ADB22X includes an internal self-adjustment mechanism that can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring.”

Industry Training Resources

Keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely also depends on staying informed on regulations and remaining knowledgeable about ever-advancing commercial vehicle safety components and technologies. Fleets aiming to equip their technicians with the most current and in-depth training and information have a variety of options.

Bendix is known for its in-person, hands-on training efforts – including the long-running Bendix® Brake Training School, conducted at locations across the United States; on-site maintenance demonstrations and detailed system explorations; plus on-site technician training covering troubleshooting and system maintenance. This year, these have been postponed during the pandemic and will resume when it’s safe to do so.

However, Bendix’s robust distance-learning resources are an increasingly vital tool for keeping North America’s fleets and truck drivers rolling safely. At the Bendix On-Line Brake School (brake-school.com), participants can access more than 90 courses for free, including a curriculum covering the full spectrum of braking and active vehicle safety system product topics, all developed by the team at Bendix. Launched in 2013, the online resource recently surpassed 100,000 registered users.

And, the company’s popular podcast, “Truck Talk with Bendix,” is available via Google Play, Apple Podcasts®, and Stitcher. It’s always accessible as well on Bendix’s Knowledge Dock® (knowledge-dock.com), which also hosts continuously updated videos, white papers, and blog posts addressing maintenance and other critical topics for the commercial vehicle. In addition, the site maintains the company’s informative “Tech Tips” series archive.

Also part of Bendix’s training resources are its field-tested sales and service professionals, along with its veteran 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.

“Roadcheck demonstrates how being prepared and operating safe, well-maintained trucks is a year-round job,” Andersky said. “But, Bendix is here to support the industry with maintenance know-how and resources. It’s another way we are working together to shape tomorrow’s transportation.”

About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of Knorr-Bremse, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix® brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. An industry pioneer, employing more than 3,400 people, Bendix is driven to deliver solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance, and overall operating cost. Contact us at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-275) or visit bendix.com. Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos, and other resources at knowledge-dock.com. Follow Bendix on Twitter at twitter.com/Bendix_CVS. Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at brake-school.com. And to learn more about career opportunities at Bendix, visit bendix.com/careers.

About Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC

Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) combines and expands the complementary wheel-end foundation brake technologies of two global leaders – Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. The joint venture, formed in July 2004, is a single, complete source for OEM brake system design, manufacturing, hardware, and support for all foundation brake components and actuation systems, as well as all-makes coverage of nearly 50,000 medium- and heavy-duty aftermarket parts. Contact us at 1-866-610-9709 or visit foundationbrakes.com. Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos, and other resources at knowledge-dock.com. Follow Bendix on Twitter at twitter.com/Bendix_CVS. Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at brake-school.com. And to learn more about career opportunities at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, visit bendix.com/careers.