How the Right Trailer Brakes Improve Safety & Save Money

A trailer technician inspects the underside of a Great Dane trailer

The summer months are stretched out ahead of us, and spec’ing your trailer with dependable brakes will help keep your drivers safe as they travel the blistering roadways. It will also help get their cargo to its destination on time.

Drum brakes have long been favored in the industry, but air disc brakes are gaining traction for their safety and efficiency. Air disc brakes are less likely than drum brakes to go out of adjustment, saving you a costly time-out while your trailer is out of service.

That’s just one reason why the industry is trending toward air disc brakes. Let’s take a closer look.

Why Having the Right Air Disc Technology Can Help

Spec’ing the right trailer brakes can result in across-the-board benefits, such as:

  • Shorter stopping distances
  • Improved trailer in-line braking stability
  • Less frequent maintenance
  • Shorter downtime when it is time for a tune-up

Additionally, numerous maintenance items can be cut from your inventory, including:

  • Brake drums
  • Brake shoes and bushings
  • S-cams
  • Slack adjusters

And with the omission of drum brake shoes, rust jacking in your fleet is cut to a fraction. There may be a higher initial cost for air disc brakes over drum brakes, but the long-term benefits make air disc brakes the better value.

For example, the Hendrickson MAXX22T™ air disc brake system saves 100 pounds per tandem trailer compared to a similar drum brake configuration.

Additional weight savings can be achieved with Dura-Light Hub. The HendricksonMAXX22T™ is also less susceptible to brake over-stroke and the potential compliance problems that accompany it, making these brakes an increasingly attractive option.

Hendrickson offers a full range of air disc brakes for wheel sizes varying from 17.5 to 24.5 inches for trailer commercial vehicle systems.

Safety Begins with the Right Brakes

While there is plenty of attention today on advanced transportation solutions like collision mitigation and roll stability, safety starts with spec’ing the right brake for your application. While drum brakes have been the tried and true brake of choice in the North American trailer industry, advancements in air disc brake technology can offer improved stopping distance and reduced maintenance costs in the long run.

The Hendrickson MAXX22T™, for example, has been specifically tuned to match the performance needs of a typical North American trailer and is approved for brake performance in 20,000-pound applications or up to 23,000-pound applications with the appropriate tire static-loaded radius.

The optimized design makes the MAXX22T™ brake less aggressive when the trailer is empty, maintains high-speed torque levels for a positive brake feel, and is not overly aggressive during panic stops when the load shifts to the tractor, which lessens the probability of ABS cycling.

Air Disc Brakes Do Their Job

As more semi-trucks employ air disc brakes on the road, the most important benefit is that these brakes stop vehicles faster. Efficiency, dependability, and cost savings are all attractive, but safety is paramount.

Interested in learning more about this transportation solution? Check out this blog on the many benefits of air disc brakes.

Read the Blog