When it comes to maintaining your truck fleet, two categories of items stand above the rest in terms of safety: tires and braking components. While other parts and equipment failures can lead to inconveniences and lost revenue, brake and tire maintenance issues can put your drivers and others on the road in harm's way. For these reasons, it's imperative to make proper choices for both.
Selecting brakes for your fleet may seem straightforward, but there are many potential pitfalls. Maximizing your cost-benefit ratio without compromising safety is critical, especially when dealing with maintenance for a large fleet of vehicles. These three tips will help you choose braking components for your fleet to maximize safety, reliability, and affordability.
1. Understand Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) Requirements
Like most aspects of heavy trucking, the federal government regulates requirements for brake performance. These regulations ensure that trucks operating on public roadways can safely stop under normal driving conditions and emergencies. Make sure you understand the FMVSS stopping requirements, which specify minimum braking distances from various speeds.
Manufacturers test their components to meet these standards and may advertise performance that exceeds FMVSS requirements. Always choose brake friction materials that are adequate to meet regulatory standards.
2. Pay Attention to Payloads
A truck's payload can severely impact its braking performance. Most drivers understand this implicitly since heavier loads can noticeably affect how a truck performs on the road, but there's more going on behind the scenes. In addition to working harder to bring the vehicle to a halt, the additional force generates more friction, more heat, and more wear.
Brake manufacturers should specify performance characteristics for friction material under various weight conditions, so keep these in mind when selecting replacements for your fleet. If your fleet operates with heavy loads, favor brake pads and linings that offer longer life to counteract the greater demands on the friction material.
3. Work With a Reliable Supplier
If you're purchasing parts for a large fleet, few things are more critical than working with a trustworthy supplier. A truck equipment and parts distributor with heavy trucking experience can work with you to recommend the perfect brake components for your fleet. In addition to factoring in payload and wear performance, they can also help you select brake pads and linings for long-haul or local use.
There's no such thing as spending too much time or effort on brake selection for your fleet. Choosing the best parts for this essential safety system ensures your on-road operations remain safe for your drivers and other motorists.