Semi-trucks can weigh over 40 tons, and because they regularly travel at highway speeds, they experience a significant amount of wear and tear on their brakes. Like any quality semi-truck part, brakes are remarkably strong and durable, but they do require regular maintenance and careful attention. These maintenance tips will help ensure your vehicle will keep you safe when it matters most.

3 Brake Maintenance Tips for Truck Drivers

1. Replace Worn-Out Parts

It’s critical to replace brake pads on the average vehicle regularly, but even more so with a semi-truck. It should be no surprise that bringing an 80,000-pound vehicle to a stop is hard on your brakes.

Most semi-truck part manufacturers include metal strips inside the pad. This design construction will make a screeching sound as the pad’s carbon material wears down—a sign to drivers that it’s time for a replacement. When you have the pads replaced, it’s also a good idea to replace the pins, bushings, springs, and brake drums.

2. Lubricate Slack Adjusters & S Cams

semi-truck partsThe slack adjusters control the brakes' alignment and regulate the force applied against the S cams. The S cams push the shoes—or brake pads—against the drums to bring the vehicle to a stop. Without proper lubrication, these parts can seize up, leading to brake failure. To keep them working effectively, apply a liberal coat of lithium grease every six months or 50,000 miles.

3. Check Linings & Hoses

The air lines and hoses on your truck should be relatively dry and free of visible cracks. Examine the brake system before taking a trip and check for ruptured lines or hose walls less than a quarter-inch thick. If any of your truck’s parts look suspicious or worn-out, have them checked by a mechanic before taking the vehicle out on the road.


Since 1972, Northwest Truck Repair has been helping truckers throughout the Flathead County area keep their vehicles safe on the road. As a local and family-owned business, they pride themselves on delivering quality work at affordable rates, using only the best semi-truck parts on the market. Visit their website for an overview of their services, or call (406) 755-9762 to make an appointment today.