The season’s dropping temperatures, snow, and ice are already impacting large parts of North America, so it’s time to make sure fleets are prepared.
This installment of the Bendix Tech Tips Series provides 12 pieces of air system, electronics, and wheel-end advice to help keep your vehicle in good operating condition as things get frosty.
1. Keep it dry — moisture in the air system can condense and freeze, increasing the odds of brake and valve malfunctions.
2. Check the dryer’s purge valve for corrosion or grit accumulation and replace it if necessary.
3. Manually drain the air tanks to start the season — Draining every three months is generally sufficient for typical line haul trucks, but more often—monthly or even weekly—is recommended for vehicles with high air demand.
4. Unless it’s an emergency, avoid using de-icing solutions on an air system — they can corrode O-rings and valve seals.
Electronics and Controls
5. Remember that driver assistance technologies – like stability and collision mitigation – rely on maintenance of lower level systems like tires, and the brakes to ensure performance in the field — maintaining these systems is especially critical in winter. Check tires for adequate tread depth and proper wear, and wheel-ends for tight bolts and cracks.
6. Run a diagnostic check to make sure tire pressure monitoring systems are operating properly — temperature swings, along with slick road conditions, make running on the right tire pressure exceedingly important in the winter.
7. Keep external cameras and radar sensors clear of snow and ice — check them immediately prior to getting on the road.
8. Check all connections to ensure they are secure and water tight.
9. Check air brake chamber housings for corrosion — or damage that could allow corrosive materials to take hold, and ensure that dust plugs are properly installed.
10. On drum-braked wheel-ends — lubricate the automatic slack adjusters, clevis pin connections, cam tubes, shafts and bushings.
11. On wheel-ends with air disc brakes — check the guide pins and inspect the boots for tears or punctures that could permit corrosion of the caliper within.
12. Ensure free movement of air disc brake pads in the carrier — remove them and clean the carrier surface with a wire brush, if necessary—and make sure that the brake moves freely on its guidance system.
Winter hazards can ruin a driver’s day—and they don’t always take the form of things like blizzards or icy roads. But maintenance and upkeep efforts in the shop and on the road can keep vehicles running smoothly and safely. Carolina Bus Sales, Inc., can help get your bus ready for winter conditions by checking off each of these tips!