Braking systems are one of the most vital safety features of any vehicle. Because of diesel trucks’ massive weight and force, diesel brake systems must be in tip-top operational shape.
Experts recommend regular brake maintenance for all diesel trucks. But how do you know when your diesel brakes require repair?
Screeching and squealing sounds, warning lights, bad vibrations, and steering issues are common signs your vehicle needs brake maintenance.
If you think your truck needs diesel brake repairs, this article will explain how diesel brakes work and what diesel brake components are most likely to require regular maintenance.
How Do Diesel Brakes Work?
Hydraulic brakes function similarly to standard brakes. They use fluid to transfer force and create friction when you press down on your brake pedal.
Because it is impossible to compress fluids, hydraulic brake systems connect the braking mechanism to a brake unit on the vehicle’s wheel to stop its movement.
Hydraulic brake systems also use brake boosters, force multipliers, and special brake lines to slow and stop very heavy trucks.
Types of Diesel Brake Repairs and Services
The main components involved in a diesel truck’s brake system include brake fluid, brake lines, master cylinder, brake booster, and anti-lock brakes. These are all located under the hood of your diesel truck.
Components such as the calipers, brake pads, and rotors are located along with the truck’s frame and on the wheels. Each of these components plays an important role in the braking system.
The following is a breakdown of how each component works and why it is important to give each component regular maintenance.
Experts recommend a routine brake fluid flush every 30,000 to 45,000 miles. But it isn’t uncommon for diesel trucks to go years without having a fluid flush.
When you don’t regularly flush your brake fluid, it starts to absorb moisture. You’ll notice that when you have fresh fluid in your vehicle, it is clear in color. Over time, as it absorbs moisture, the fluid begins to darken.
The more moisture the fluid absorbs, the lower its boiling point becomes. When brake fluid starts to boil, you’ll notice a spongy feeling when you press down on your brakes. It can feel like there is air in your brake system.
The real bummer about moisture getting in your brake system is that it causes oxidation and corrosion of the metal components of your vehicle. Moisture can cause your master cylinder and brake calipers to fail prematurely.
Brake Pad Replacement
On average, the lifespan of brake pads is about 50,000 miles. Some brake pads can last up to 100,000 miles, but why chance it? It is best to have your brake pads checked every time you take your vehicle in for an oil change.
On the other hand, certain driving conditions (like city driving) can require a brake pad replacement every 10,000 to 20,000 miles; if you notice your brake pads squealing, it’s a good indicator that it’s time to get them replaced.
Brake Booster Repair
The brake boosters usually sit between the master cylinder and the brake pedal. When you press on the brake pedal, you also apply pressure to the hydraulic brake booster.
The brake booster gets pressure from the hydraulic lines that come from the power-steering pump. If you hear a whining sound when you press the brakes, it is likely coming from your power-steering pump.
The purpose of the brake booster is to add to the force your foot applies to the brake pedal and calipers. As the brake fluid exits the master cylinder, it travels through the anti-lock brakes.
If the brake booster fails, you will lose that extra braking assistance. It will make it much harder to depress your brake pedal.
Master Cylinder Maintenance
You will find the master cylinder on the back of your bulkhead or firewall. It is an essential component of your braking system. It is indirectly connected to the brake pedal.
When you apply pressure to the brake, it presses on a piston in the master cylinder. The master cylinder sends brake fluid to the brake calipers. The fluid then foes into two separate circuits.
That way, if one brake fluid line breaks, you still have another brake fluid line to help your truck stop safely. If you don’t maintain your master cylinder, you will severely impair your truck’s ability to slow down and stop.
The calipers are the part of the braking system that squeezes the brake pads toward the braking disc to slow down your vehicle. Although brake pads wear down with use, brake calipers are intended to last the life of your truck.
If your brake calipers fail for some reason, it will cause your brake pads to wear out more quickly than they ought to.
If you notice high-pitched squealing, leaking brake fluid, clunking sounds, or your brake pads are wearing unevenly, you likely have an issue with your brake calipers.
Rotors are directly linked to the lug bolts and the wheels of your diesel vehicle. Rotors are made out of cast iron so that they can handle very high temperatures.
However, excessive braking can cause extreme temperatures to cause rotors to warp. Once a rotor warps, it can never return to its original shape. This can cause a vibration when you brake.
When your rotors start to warp, you have the option to resurface rotors or replace them. Resurfacing your rotors will restore them to a flat, smooth surface. But it also reduces the life span of the rotors.
The best thing you can do to make your brakes last longer is to avoid aggressive driving and excessive braking.
Diesel Brake Repairs Takeaways
Diesel brake repairs are crucial to the optimal performance of your diesel vehicle. The most important brake system components to maintain are the brake pads, rotors, calipers, master cylinder, fluids, and brake boosters.
For all your diesel brake repair needs, contact Diesel Performance Specialists.