Over the past several months I have come across many fleets that have the impression that disc brakes on trucks and trailer are maintenance free. This can be a very costly mistake as your disc brakes have mechanical and moving parts that need to be maintained.
Recommended practices advise that you should be taking a look at the state of your brake pads and rotors every 5,000km’s with your wheels mounted, and then after 12 months with the wheels removed. Some people like to go a little longer but a good rule of thumb is to check that stuff out every 5,000km’s to prevent any future issues.
Alignment of your axle should be checked every 32,000 km’s (about 3 months). In that interval, it’s also good to take a look at the brake pad thickness. That will help identify if any seizing is happening with the calipers or not. From there every 75,000km’s (about 6 months) be sure perform a thorough inspection of the entire disc brake unit itself. There’s nothing worse than taking a shortcut to save a buck and end up spending even more on fixing a problem that could have been prevented with a quick check-up.
It is also important to know when you need to inspect certain points of your axles, and if you need your wheels mounted or not. The following are a few examples of what needs to be inspected every 12 months: plugs and protective caps (wheels removed), thrust plate and guide pins (wheel removed), and the actuator or spring brake interface to the caliper with the wheels removed. This will ensure no water ingress to the calipers internal mechanism. These tips help make certain both you and your truck are safe.
Please be sure to review your vehicles maintenance recommendations, as these are just guidelines. Again, you want to prevent anything unwanted from happening while on the road.
– Rudy Wosing, Axle Guru