Can Tractor Trailer Brakes Catch Fire?

August 29, 2017 Published by Leave your thoughts

Tractor trailer brake smoking and overheating happens for many different reasons, such as damage somewhere in the truck’s braking system, a damaged brake part or hitting an object in the road. Regular maintenance can help prevent problems and keep you safe on the road, while ignoring regular tractor trailer servicing in Flagstaff, AZ can pose a danger to you and other drivers around you—especially if your truck catches fire. If you feel there is something wrong with your truck or you see sparks or smoke, pull over, turn off the vehicle and perform an inspection. Call for commercial roadside assistance if you find a problem.

Below, we’ll discuss the most common causes of tractor trailer brake fires and how to prevent them:

  • Improper braking: There’s a pretty big sign given before a truck’s brakes overheat. While in motion, the driver may smell smoke or see smoke through windows or mirrors. Smoking brakes are especially common in trucks driven by new truck drivers taking a downgrade—they might still be learning and are not familiar with proper braking methods. But whether you’re a new trucker or not, stop once you reach the bottom of the downgrade to inspect and let the brakes cool.
  • Dragging brakes: Hot brakes and wheel bearings can come about from dragging brakes that result in abnormal brake temperatures, as well as wheel grease fires that spread to the tires. Dragging brakes are known to occur on the rear trailer, where the air supply is often depleted, making it slower to recover after braking.
  • Poor brake balance: Sometimes, extremely poor brake balance leads to disc brakes overheating, which then causes the bearing grease to ignite. Poor brake balance occurs in situations in which not all of the trailers of a tractor trailer are braking properly.
  • Failing wheel bearings: Dragging brakes can be the result of failing wheel bearings. When there is excessive bearing wear or regular failure, the wheel axis has come a bit off the center line of the axle, leading to dragging brakes. Due to the moving metal fragments, one bearing failure can cause the degradation or failure of the second bearing.

Preventing truck fires is critical to avoid a potentially deadly situation. Inspect your truck’s brakes, wheels and tires and check for blown wheel seals before and after every trip. Check for lubricant, oil or grease buildup around the engine and on wheels and axles. Get service for electrical problems or brake concerns immediately.

If a fire starts anywhere in or on your tractor trailer or your brakes overheat, pull over, grab your fire extinguisher and spray at the base of the fire. Only if it’s safe to do so, unlatch the fifth-wheel to separate the tractor from the trailer and move the tractor away.

Are you searching for a commercial truck repair company you can depend on? Look no further than Maclin Truck & Trailer for professional and reliable tractor trailer servicing in Flagstaff, AZ. Contact us to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment!

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