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When drivers are transporting tens of thousands of pounds of weight in a diesel truck, one of the most important components of that vehicle is the brakes. In big diesel trucks, buses and tractor trailers, the braking system consists of air brakes. Since
air is plentiful but hydraulic fluid could get lost in a leak, big vehicles rely on air-powered brakes to keep drivers and everyone else on the road safe.
Because they’re a critical component of diesel vehicles, diesel technicians need to know how air brake systems function and how to troubleshoot, service and maintain air brake systems.
How does an air brake system work? Brian Murphy, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Education & Development Program Manager, Curriculum, helps answer how do air brakes work, which is covered in the UTI diesel program.
Air brakes work using compressed air instead of hydraulic fluid. Air brakes can be either drum brakes or disc brakes, or a combination of both.
Air is pressurized by an engine-mounted compressor. The air compressor then pumps the air into the air storage tanks, which store the compressed air until it’s needed.
Air pressure is used to apply the service brakes and release the parking brake. There are multiple air circuits in the system. The parking brake engages by spring force in the parking brake portion of the spring brake chamber when the air pressure in
the chamber is released.
This also allows the parking brake to be used as the emergency brake system. If air pressure was to drop too low, the force exerted by the spring in the chamber will be able to overcome the force exerted by the air on the diaphragm and apply the brakes
on all wheels.
You might think of air brakes as working similarly to a hydraulic brake circuit. As with hydraulic brakes, when the driver presses the brake pedal, air pressure is applied, like hydraulic pressure in a hydraulic brake circuit to the wheel when applying
Here’s how a drum brake operation works.
For disc brake operation, the process is slightly different.
If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. UTI’s diesel program has an entire course on Diesel Truck Brake Systems & Chassis. Students learn how truck
brakes operate and the proper service and maintenance of the components.
You don’t have to have any prior experience to master subjects like air brakes at UTI. There are many graduates who entered the diesel program as complete beginners and leave ready to tackle entry-level diesel technician jobs.
“UTI will expose the students to manufacturer’s tools, manuals and diagnostic software, as well as provide hands-on experience on diesel equipment such as full-size trucks and running engines,” says Brian. “This allows
the students to hit the ground running once they get into the workforce.”
Request information on UTI’s diesel program online or call 1-800-834-7308 for information.
Ever wondered how diesel exhaust brake systems work? Click here to read our complete guide.
Rogelio Ruiz is a 21-year-old diesel technician working at New Mexico oil fields and farms. He's a UTI Avondale graduate and he loves his job. This is his story.
Three teenagers go on a road trip to interview some of the country's leading automotive and diesel technicians. This is their story.
It only takes a few minutes to learn about technician training opportunities.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, and to review the applicable Gainful Employment disclosure, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6) UTI graduates' achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is
an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
10) Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
12) Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2016-2026), www.bls.gov, viewed October 24, 2017. The projected number of annual
job openings, by job classification is: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 75,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 28,300; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 17,200. Job openings include openings due to growth
and net replacements.
14) Incentive programs and employee eligibility are at the discretion of the employer and available at select locations. Special conditions may apply. Talk to potential employers to learn more about the programs available in your area.
15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI’s Custom Training Group on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation.
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