Engaging Air Brakes In Winter/freezing Conditions

Topic 12174 | Page 1

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Paul W.'s Comment
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I saw a you tube video where one driver trainer mentioned about not engaging the red knob or trailer air brakes and only using the tractor brakes when the weather is freezing. The reason behind this was supposedly the brakes would be frozen in place the next morning and thus preventing the driver from being able to drive off. I'm parked in Illinois right now and it's in the late 20's with wether reports saying possible drop to the teens over night. So is it wise to just engage my tractor brakes and keep the red knob pushed in?

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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It certainly won't hurt anything if you release the trailer brakes. It's going to be cold and there's plenty of moisture in the air. At some point though, you have to initiate yourself to the thrill of laying in the snow, trying to beat the brakes off after freezing up.

SouthernJourneyman's Comment
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Just use the tractor brakes. I was spent the night up there at the J on exit 2 off I80 last night. I only pull the tractor brakes as a rule and still took a bit to get going. They were froze up pretty good. Hate to think how long I would have been beating on trailer brakes.

Paul W.'s Comment
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It certainly won't hurt anything if you release the trailer brakes. It's going to be cold and there's plenty of moisture in the air. At some point though, you have to initiate yourself to the thrill of laying in the snow, trying to beat the brakes off after freezing up.

Initiate myself eh?? My my, haha why do I so not look forward to that,......

Thanks guys for your input. I really do appreciate it.

Pat M.'s Comment
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What this does is give the trailer brakes time to cool. Sometimes they freeze but since the parts are not touching they do not stick together.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
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Just get in the habit of always setting the tractor brakes only. That's more than enough to hold you in place.

I only ever set the trailer brakes when I'm dropping the trailer. Otherwise that red knob always stays in.

Carl A.'s Comment
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You might wanna re-think that allways only use your tractor breaks especially when being loaded or unloaded. In the summer time I apply all breaks. I do understand about the brakes freezing in the winter time. For safety reasons if I am being loaded or unloaded in the winter time I only set my tractor breaks however I double chaulk my trailer, yep carry a extra one. Be carefull when and if you have to take your sledge to your break drums because stuff can break or crack when its cold. Sounds odd and some might think it sounds crazy but I use to carry a spray bottle with de icer in it and I would carefully and safely spray a mist on my drum and break. Normally they would release by the time I got back in the truck, or I would give it a tug (very slightly) and they would release. One driver did say that if your tractor breaks wont hold both truck and trailer in place, then you might have a problem with your tractor breaks. I only mention what I did because of safety reasons.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
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You might wanna re-think that allways only use your tractor breaks especially when being loaded or unloaded.

Maybe its different for vans backed up to loading docks, but I'm pulling a flatbed so most of the time I'm loading/unloading from the side. I've never had any problems or concerns with my trailer brakes not being set while loading.

In fact, with flatbeds I would argue that it's probably better not to set them. Flatbeds have a natural arch in them when empty, and the weight of the load flattens them out. This will actually push tractor and trailer axles apart slightly while loading. If you had both sets of brakes engaged, that would prevent the spread from happening and put undue stress on the braking system.

TailGunner (Ken M)'s Comment
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There is no need to put the trailer brakes on when you are parked, unless maybe you're on the side of a cliff. And the brakes can/will freeze up in cold weather, and you'll wish you hadn't had them on. The air dryer/alcohol injection keeps the air pretty dry, but not 100%. Even getting loaded, unless they require it, the 6 brakes on the tractor are enough to hold, along with the tire chocks.

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Winter Driving Tips
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