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17

Frozen Brakes

 
What Freezes? The brake lining freezes to the brake drum. 

Why? If you set your brakes when they're wet, and it is cold (enough) outside, they may freeze. 

How do you "unfreeze" them? If you do have frozen brakes, you will have to break them loose. Most often it is the trailer brakes that freeze not the tractor. First try backing up - quite often they'll break free on their own. 

If the brakes on the tractor are frozen, lock in the power divider and release the brakes. GENTLY try to back up, usually they will pop loose and release. DO NOT FORCEFULLY TRY TO MOVE THE UNIT OR DRAG THE TIRES, use a gentle rocking motion as you would if you were stuck. If the rocking motion does not work for you on the tractor then it is advised that you call for service and get help to assist you. On the tractor there would really be no safe way for you as a driver to release the brakes without assistance. Again in the case any of the above ideas fail call our 24x7 Portland, TN facility or your terminal to have assistance dispatched to you.

If the frozen brake is on the trailer, again GENTLY try to back up, usually they will pop loose and release. DO NOT FORCEFULLY TRY TO MOVE THE UNIT OR DRAG THE TIRES, use a gentle rocking motion as you would if you were stuck. If the trailer brakes do not release, set the tractor and trailer brakes, chock the wheels and release the TRAILER brakes only. Assuming you have identified the wheel that was frozen, gently hit the brake lining using a sideways motion - it should break free. You may also need to tap the slack adjuster and the drum if necessary. Although it would be best to have help in this situation, sometimes you may find yourself in a spot where there Is no other alternative. Again in the case any of the above ideas fail call our 24x7 Portland, TN facility or your terminal to have assistance dispatched to you. 

How do you prevent it from happening?
 When pulling into the truck stop after you've been driving on snowy and/or slushy roads, drive around just a bit with your foot over the brake slightly. This can help dry them out. 
In the winter especially, get into the habit that every time you leave a place, you look to see that all wheels are rolling. You could have one locked up and if you don't look, you may not know.

 

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