Overlooking the brake system on your truck is a mistake you don’t want to make. Often we just press the brake pedal and hope all is well. Unless there is a problem such as an air leak or brake slack adjuster out-of-stroke, we keep on trucking down the road. Unfortunately, the brake system on a truck is very needy.
The air compressor can run above 240 degrees, so we run coolant from the engine in an effort to control these high temperatures. The problem is this: when the air compressor is hot, so is the air it is generating. This air must be routed to the brake system, but must be cooled by air lines, the air compressor and the air tanks before reaching brake valves and components.
This cooling process causes condensation resulting in moisture in the air system. The air dryer is working hard to help dry and condition the air, but it just cannot keep up with the massive shift in temperatures. These temperature shifts create large amounts of moisture.
So, it is critical for drivers to drain their air tanks daily. This alone will help extend the life of brake components such as dash valves and relay valves.
When you drain your air tanks, pay close attention to the amount of water and contaminates that drain out of the tanks. Too much water gives you an indication that your air dryer may not be functioning correctly. Too much oil may be an indication that the air compressor is worn excessively.
Finally, don’t forget your air filter. If your engine’s air filter is too restricted, the air compressor will pull oil from the crankcase and/or your air compressor may have a difficult time building air.
Remember to drain those air tanks and keep your truck’s air filter maintained and your air brake valves will reward you with many years of good service.