Learn All Secrets About CDL Air Brake Test

Becoming a truck driver requires proper Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and if you passed this CDL Air Brake Test  you need to get proper endorsements for the load you are caring and for the type of truck you are driving. All these regulations exist to protect you and other drivers around you.

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These regulations exist to increase the safety on the road. Being a truck driver means that you need to be very careful when you inspect your trucks for malfunctions. Only one small glitch can cause disasters on the road.

To increase the safety on the road FMCSA from truck drivers for performance of the truck equipment such as air brakes. In that way, the drivers will learn how to manage every single action on the truck and catch the malfunction on time.

These endorsements are practical also for learning how to react in case some defect occurs. An important segment is CDL Air Brake Test that gives specific knowledge for one of the important parts for every commercial vehicle that is equipped with air brakes system.

What is CDL Air Brake Test

CDL Air brake test is required by the FMCSA and stays that vehicle with air brake system needs to be driven only by the driver that passed CDL air brake test. So you are not permitted to drive a truck if you don’t have this endorsement.

The faulty of the air brakes was cause for many highways crashes so Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducted Brake Safety Week and campaign called Operation Airbrake to reduce the road crashes caused by faulty of the vehicle breaking system by performing roadside inspections and educating of the truck drivers.

The CDL air brake test is measuring the understanding level of the driver to perform vehicle with air brakes. Why is this so important? One truck driver must be able to inspect the air brake system and know how to identify the problem if occurs.

cdl air brake test
Source: www.usafleetsupply.com

With defective air brakes, the truck is an unstoppable machine that will run over everything in front. Imagine one truck that is moving with 80 mph unable to stop! Too SCARY right!  That is why every Class A or Class B commercial driver needs to learn and pass the CDL air brake test beside Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements.

To pass the CDL air brake test you need to learn how air brake system works. You need to understand the purpose of every part of this system 100% of it because you never know what you will be asked.

cdl air brake test
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To pass CDL air brake test you need 80% correct performance. Without achieving 80% you will fail the test and would not be allowed to drive vehicles that have air brake system.

What are the requirements for cdl air brake test

The air brake system needs compressed air to work. Compressed air will be used as energy that the vehicle will use to apply pressure to the brake shoe. Air brake system is used in heavy vehicles like trucks, trailers, buses. Does not require hydraulic fluid and because of that, the air brake circuits can be removed or attached very easy by the truck drivers. It is easy, but only if the drivers were properly trained for that.

cdl air brake test
Source: www.dmv.ca.gov

To pass the CDL air brake test you need to know how to:

  1. Test the Parking Brake
  2. Test the Hydraulic Brake
  3. Test for Air Leakage
  4. Test the Air Warning Alarm
  5. Test the Spring Brake Activation
  6. Test the Buildup Rate of the Air Compressor
  7. Test the Shut-off system of the Air Compressor
  8. Test if the Spring Brake will come of Automatically
  9. Test the Service Brakes

Also, you need to:

  • Understand the air brakes components
  • To understand the air brake connections
  • To understand the performance
  • To learn and understand every step of the pre trip inspection to be able to spot any kind of air brakes issues

What to pay attention

Driving a vehicle with a hydraulic system is totally different than driving a vehicle with air brake system because the air brake system needs to be monitored every moment for suspicious air leakage. You need to remember that the air pressure is the source of energy for your brakes to work.

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The air brake system does not use hydraulic fluid to transfer the pressure from the brake pedal to the brake pads of the brake calipers, it uses air pressure and without required level of air pressure, your brakes won’t work.

cdl air brake test
Source: careertechonlineschool.org

Now you need to pay attention on this to be able to perform the CDL air brakes test in the right way.

  1. Put the seat belt on
  2. Start the vehicle and build pressure to 90-110 lbs
  3. To test the parking brake you need your engine to run, then apply parking brakes and put in gear. After you need to release the clutch slowly. After these steps are performed your truck need to stay stopped where it is (in the same position)
  4. Push one knob in and charge the air system
  5. Wait for the first fill
  6. Now you need to wait one minute to check for air leakage where the rate should not be more than 2 psi
  7. Apply 90 lbs pressure to the brakes and after that you need to hold for one minute
  8. The air leakage should not be more than 3 psi
  9. Pump the brake pedal until the light/alarm start on ; that would be in about 60lbs
  10. Keep to pump the brake pedal until the tractor protection valve pops out; that would be in about 20 to 40 psi
  11. Put your truck in a neutral position and test again how fast it will take for the air pressure to build up again. It needs to build 85 to 100 psi for less than 45 seconds.
  12. Continue to build up air pressure until air governor blows around 125 to 130 psi. You need to listen carefully for the air blow off sound

How to finish it successfully

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