Why Air Brakes On A Truck?

If you’re thinking about driving a truck for a living you’ve probably noticed that those big rigs all run with air brakes.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered why these trucks use air instead of hydraulic for their brakes, here are a few reasons why.

Those things are simply a lot more reliable and also a whole hella of a lot stronger.

As you know, big ass trucks are huge and usually carry a lot of weight. Trucks carrying concrete, garbage, passengers and tree service company trucks carrying around a bunch of tree trimming can carry a whole lot of weight. All of this weight needs a whole lot stronger braking system.

Air brakes work pretty much the same way as hydraulic brakes do but without the hydraulic fluid. There is nothing but air in the lines. When you press on the brakes in your car, you send hydraulic fluid through the system in your car that applies pressure to either the brake pads that squeeze the disc on the wheels or spread out the pads inside the drums in the wheels.

Well, the same is true with a truck’s air brakes. The only thing is that trucks only use drums for brakes and they are huge compared to even the biggest pickup. So with air being in the lines instead of fluid creates more power to apply the pressure.

Inside a big rig, however, is an air compressor very much like the compressor you’d see at a gas station to fill up your tires with air. A truck has that built into the truck and also has two air takes to store the air it produces. The truck will constantly keep these air tanks filled with air to always have a steady supply of air needed to apply air pressure.

Understanding air brakes are one of the biggest reasons people need to educate themselves to have a CDL, or commercial drivers license. They need to understand how they work and how to know when they are not working properly.

Checking Air Brakes

There are some simple tests anyone can do to check and make sure air brakes are working properly.

The very first one is to make sure the air takes and the entire air brake system does not have any leaks. This is done by simply applying pressure onto the brake pedal. There should be two air take gauges on the dash of the truck, even on old trucks built in the 80s will have these gauges.

Check to see if the needles displaying the amount of PSI in the takes drops at all as you press on the brakes for 30 seconds. If it drops at all, you got a leak. If you don’t see it drop, you’re golden.

Another test is checking the compressor and make sure it works. The cool thing about this test is that it checks and tests two components of the air brake systems.

For this, simply tap on the brakes over and over again to drain the air out of the takes it has. Watch the gauges and you’ll see them slowly drop off. Keep doing this until the gauges reach about 50 PSI. At this point, this check the emergency air brake alarm system on the truck. All truck signal an alarm once the air pressure in the air tanks reaches around 50 PSI. This is done to make sure the driver is aware of the low pressure.

Once the air pressure gets that low and the air compressor in the truck kicks in and starts to fill the tanks as quickly as possible. If you see the needles in the gauges start to go up, you’re golden. This means the compressor is working just fine.

The final test is checking the parking brake. The parking brake on a big rig is extremely powerful. It is held down by huge springs and air pressure. When a driver truck pulls the yellow knob on the dash for the brake, it releases the air pressure on the springs to engage the brake. Yet, another reason truck uses air brakes.

All trucks come equipped with a system to release the parking brake on its own. Once the pressure in the air tanks reaches 30 PSI and below, the parking brake will engage on its own. This is by design.

The reason is just in case the air brake system is malfunctioning, has a leak, or just is not working, the truck will not be able to move. No one wants a big rig on the road with bad brakes. That is why all trucks are designed this way.

So there you have it.

A quick rundown as to why trucks use air brakes.

How To Shift Gears On A Truck Like A Pro

Shift gears are something you’ll need to learn if drive a truck for a living

When you first start off driving a truck, you are going to suck at shifting gears.

It’s just the way it is.

When you learned to walk, all you did was fall down. You fell down over and over again. Same when you learned to ride a bike. You failed miserably at first and then fell down over and over again.

The same will hold true when you start to learn how to shift gears on a truck. In the beginning, you will be just terrible.

Oh, you will be worst than terrible! You are going to be-be godawful and stall the truck all the time!

Every New Trucker Sucks At Shifting

I’m sure when you first saw someone gracefully shift through 8 speeds, 10 speeds, or 12 speeds, you thought to yourself…”I will NEVER be able to do that!”

Of course, you thought that! How could you not? You’ve never done it before so how could you possibly be good.

The weird thing about truck drivers is that they think they are SO good at what they do. It’s almost as they have forgotten how terrible they were at the beginning. They all were! Don’t ever think that wasn’t true.

The thing with big trucks is that they do not shift like a standard car where you need to push the clutch to change a gear. In a truck. It doesn’t work that way. It is only required to start moving in the first place. And here is the cool thing with that little fact. If you slowly let off of the clutch in a truck in first gear, the truck will start to get rolling with only that. There is no need to hit the gas pedal and balance it out like a car.

That is a huge difference between a car and the first thing you will quickly realize and learn.

Once you let off the clutch and get the truck rolling, you simply need to accelerate the truck in first gear almost to as high as it will rev up in RPM’s

Let off the gas pedal and pull the shifter out of gear. You will hear the RPM’s start to go down pretty damn fast and at that point, you shift into the second gear. Let the RPM’s go down for a split second and push in the shifter to that gear. It will probably grind as you listen to the RPM’s go down and the shifter simply falls into the gear on its own.

Next, hit the gas again and rev it up to almost as high as the RPM’s will go again. Pull it out of gear. Listen for the RPMs to drop again and get ready to go into third gear now. Shift into third and again, you’ll more than likely hear some grinding. Don’t worry! You’re going to be grinding a lot and for a long time till you get the timing and feel of it all.

Keep repeating this process for all the gears.

Like I mentioned before, learning how to shift is going to take you a very long time.

If you happen to miss a gear, you will know when the grinding is way too slow and you will not be able to push the shifter into the new gear. At that point what you need to do is rev the engine back up and get the RPMs going up high again to allow you to shift into the gear.

With some practice and patience, you will start to get it down.

Downshifting Is Harder Then Regular Shifting

Now when you have to downshift the whole works in reverse. Let’s say you are driving 10-speed truck.

As you are driving, you begin to slow down. At this point, you will notice your RPMs will start to drop. In order for you to downshift into 9th gear what you’ll need to do is to quickly tap the accelerator to be able to pull the shifter out of gear.

Next, you need to rev up your engine and increase the RPMs. You need to make sure that you increase the RPMs high enough in order for you to downshift into 9th gear. All of this will take your understanding and start to feel the truck out. Once you get the RPMs High Enough to move the shifter into 9th gear.

The RPMs on the truck will be high once again. As you continue to slow down they will drop. You will need to tap the accelerator again and pull the shifter out of gear. Rev up the engine to increase the RPMs and now slam it into 8th gear.

Continue to do this until you no longer have to downshift to slow the truck down.

At that point, you’re just going to need the brakes.

Learning how to upshift and downshift a commercial truck will take you a long time. Other trucks will probably try to make fun of you and think they are super duper truck drivers. Do not let them disrupt your learning process. They all had to go through it and that they think they didn’t they are lying right through their teeth.

Millennials Looking For Work? Get A CDL & Get A High Paying Job Today!

With so many of you youngsters coming out of school, and a lot of you with debt up to your eyeballs, finding a decent paying job has been proven to be quite a difficult task.

Sucks to say, but a lot of you have gotten pretty much some worthless degrees that don’t offer any type of high-income employment. And, believe it or not, driving a truck can make you a decent living.

Here is the thing…

I am not talking about over-the-road, gone seven days week, type of truck driving jobs. I am talking about a normal 40-hour week5 days a week, with benefits, vacation pay, and overtime pay type of job.

You see, every single town in this country is always looking for good reliable commercial drivers for their local businesses and a lot of these jobs pay in above normal wage. The reason that they pay better is that finding a good reliable CDL driver is a very difficult thing to do.

Let me give you a very simple example.

And the local Lowe’s store in my town of Paso Robles California, the average employee there earns about $13. Not too bad really. What you get to some management levels you can start earning around $15 to $17 an hour. Give it a few years and you might eventually start hitting the $20 an hour mark. Not too bad right?

But get this.

Let’s say that you are 23 years old and currently have your CDL license, you can drive the Lowe’s commercial delivery truck that runs 5 days ago, full benefits, vacation and holiday pay, and immediately start earning over $20 an hour and even have the opportunity to earn overtime which is not allowed to all other Lowe’s Associates other then management.

You can start earning that type of money with having little to zero retail experience.

Now check this out,

Every single town in the United States of America has one of the highest paying jobs a person can get and is extremely needed and will be around forever. These guys are garbage truck drivers. Yet another job that desperately needs good CDL drivers. These workers get holiday pay vacation pay and usually good health care benefits. A lot of these companies also have their own roll-off trucks. Again, a much-needed service and another a reliable job.

There are also a lot of other companies that constantly require CDL drivers. There are septic tank cleaning trucks that need to be driven, electrical supply trucks, plumbing supply delivery, roofing supply delivery, a cleaning company, and all sorts of different construction delivery trucks that all need good quality CDL drivers.

There are construction companies that will hire you even though you know nothing about the construction that you are in simply because you have a CDL license to drive their big rigs around. This puts you in an immediate position of value and therefore are paid a much better rate of pay and just a regular run-of-the-mill work that starts off at the very bottom learning a trade.

So you see, for all you Millennials out there that are thinking about what type of work you guys could do right off the bat that will earn you a decent income.

Do not glaze your eyes over the career of becoming a CDL driver. There are many school programs out there that can get you a CDL driver’s license for around $5,000 these days. When you really think about it, that is really a remarkably small price to pay for a license that will make you rise out amongst the crowd. Check out this driving school in union NJ and see what they offer.

It is a job that requires skill. It is a job that’s going to be here for the Long Haul. Can’t really say that a lot of these CDL driving jobs will be gone in the near future by self-driving trucks.

Maybe a lot of those long-haul cross-country trucks but one day be driven by robots. But it’s going to be remarkably difficult to have one of those robots deliver Concrete in the concrete mixing truck, or deliver propane out into the country and a small propane delivery truck.

So get out there, and grab up a CDL license. Doing this, will pretty much guarantee you a decent-paying job if you want one tomorrow.