For all vehicles travelling on our roads, both light and heavy, a vehicle’s braking system is its single most important crash avoidance system!
With a recent spate of well-known accidents around Australia caused by faulty brakes, the importance of finding a solution to regular and effective brake testing is a hot topic that cannot be ignored!
The only way to ensure brakes are kept in the best possible working order is by regularly checking and effectively testing with a verifiable result. We are suggesting not just visually checking aspects of the brakes, such as the brake pads, but actually testing the performance of the whole braking system. There is a major difference between just checking brakes visually rather than testing them and producing a quantified and measurable result.
If we want the industry to get serious about the importance of effective brake testing as a regular maintenance item, we must find a way to make it easier and more affordable for a workshop to do so.
The most common method of testing brakes is to take the vehicle on the road, bring it up to speed, and then slam on the brakes! We can then measure stopping distance or use a decelerometer to measure the stopping forces created in %G. Whilst this method requires very little initial investment, it is a very time consuming (eg: costly) and arguably dangerous method especially if the operator has to use a public road and if the road is wet.
In my experience, many operators simply choose to shake the decelerometer to achieve a brake test result, not being fully aware of the risks and liability involved. It is therefore rarely used for maintenance or roadworthy tests.
The real issue with on-road brake testing is that it cannot measure the brake force distribution to each wheel.
For example: you could easily disconnect one or two brakes on a vehicle and it may still achieve the minimum deceleration required. In a real emergency stop, such a vehicle will undoubtedly take longer to stop than if all wheels/brakes are working to their optimum performance.
A low speed plate brake tester such as SafeTstop measures the brake forces on each individual wheel in Newton and a left to right brake imbalance in %.
This plate brake tester is simple to install, easy and safe to use, and very affordable – from only $157 a week.
There is now an opportunity for the industry to self-regulate and improve safety, profitability and performance. Regular and effective brake testing IS achievable, it is cost effective, and will make safer roads for all of us.
Already there are over 1000 workshops in Australia and New Zealand using this technology on a daily basis. For more information, call us on 61 2 9832 0045