Mechanical maintenance can be very costly and especially when the vehicle in question is a large truck. Fleet managers may be looking for every help they can get in order to keep these costs down, and will often turn their attention to the braking system. If you're in this position and are thinking about upgrading the drum brakes to air disc brakes across your fleet, what else do you need to bear in mind as you make your decision?
Big Picture Analysis
In a straightforward comparison, a heavy-duty truck equipped with air disc brakes will be more efficient than one that is kitted out with drums. This system will tend to overheat less, and the design of the disc brakes will be able to displace energy more efficiently. Yet the cost of the friction material may be higher, and additional measures may need to be taken to ensure that they do not wear out too quickly.
Before any final decision is made, it may be advantageous to think about fitting each vehicle with an engine retarder as well. As you may know, this type of device uses the vehicle's transmission as a braking tool, and this can certainly augment the standard braking system fitted to the truck.
It is also important to bring the drivers into the equation and make sure that they are doing their bit to help with overall costs. They'll need to learn how to use the retarder efficiently and make sure that their habits are adjusted accordingly. For example, they should be dissuaded from "standing" on the brakes at the last minute or using them too much when descending a steep gradient. When properly timed, they can use the engine retarder to do most of the work and this will help to prolong the life of the friction material fitted to the air disc brake system.
Dealing with the Demand
Remember, you may not have much choice when it comes to the overall weight of the vehicle or the type of terrain that the driver may encounter. However, you may be able to fit some aerodynamic aids to reach truck, and can certainly do your best to cut down on those braking costs if you make a smart decision now.
The Smart Choice
Talk with your component supplier about fitting both an air disc brake system and a retarder to each vehicle.
For more information, reach out to an auto part supplier that offers components like Hino truck parts.
My name is George. After working as a teacher for two decades, I retired, and now, my heart, hands and time are wrapped up in restoring a vintage car. I love it, and I want to share some of the minutia of that passion with others. My wife doesn't always want to hear about auto parts, but they are always on my mind. I want a place where I can share buying tips, restoration tips and repair tips, and this blog is the perfect place. I plan to write about my own restoration work as well as general info on auto parts. Thanks for reading.