Prep Your Aftermarket Air Brake System for the Winter
Winter is coming (or perhaps it's already arrived in your neck of the woods). With the colder weather comes different maintenance concerns for your air brake system. Here, we examine how you can prepare your aftermarket air brake system for the cold winter months ahead to ensure consistent performance.
The biggest concern for air brakes in the winter time is having them freeze over. Since a by-product of compressing air is moisture, you must take care to remove that moisture from low spots in the tanks where it will collect. If that moisture stays in the air brake system, it can turn to ice and render the air brake system inoperable.
Most systems do have an air dryer in place, which helps to remove moisture from the air and keep the system from freezing. Each air dryer will have a cartridge or filter that should be inspected and maintained to ensure it will continue operating properly in freezing temperatures.
In addition to air dryers, most systems have automatic drain valves (ADV) installed in each tank. Check these valves now and have them replaced or serviced if necessary. Pneumatic and electronic ADV's replace the need to manually drain the system, meaning you will longer have to worry about doing the draining yourself - the system is automatically set up to take care of it for you.
It should also be noted that you need to check the pressure of your aftermarket air brake system regularly, but particularly in the winter months. The air pressure needed to lock brakes on icy surfaces can go down to as low as 10 psi, so only a gently touch is needed on the brake pedal itself.
When it comes to winter driving, keeping your aftermarket air brakes dry is your most important step to giving them a long (and happy) life.