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ZF: This is why brake checks for commercial vehicles are so important, especially before winter

  • The air brakes of heavy commercial vehicles can freeze or corrode due to condensation
  • High-quality WABCO air dryer cartridges not only reduce moisture, but also separate oil and fine aerosols
  • TRW brake pads ensure that the vehicle dynamics control systems function at their best even in winter road conditions

The braking systems of trucks and buses need special care during the colder seasons. This is because moisture can form in the compressed air circuit due to the large temperature differences. This can lead to corrosion or, in the worst case, freezing at temperatures below zero and thus putting the brakes out of operation. High demands are also placed on the brake pads in winter conditions. With WABCO and TRW brand products such challenges can be mastered, which ultimately benefits road safety.

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ZF: This is why brake checks for commercial vehicles are so important, especially before winter

As winter approaches, so do the long nights with temperatures around or below freezing point. While the truck driver spends a pleasant night's rest in the heated cab, his truck is at the mercy of the cold without protection. In extreme cases, the night frost can even prevent the truck from continuing its journey the next morning. If the dryer cartridge of the compressed air system needs replacing, it no longer sufficiently binds the moisture in the air. When the temperature drops, it condenses; the resulting condensation freezes and paralyses the brake system.

Winter is an extremely demanding time for the entire vehicle. Fleet operators should therefore make sure that all systems are operating efficiently - especially in the particularly safety-critical areas of the commercial vehicle. WABCO air dryer cartridges help them do this. This is because the cartridges reach saturation faster, especially in vehicles which have a high air consumption due to their application profile.

Commercial vehicle workshops should communicate this problem to their customers and ideally ask them to come to the workshop for a winter check, where the condition of the air system can be checked and worn parts replaced before failure occurs. An unplanned broken-down vehicle will present fleet operators with major challenges, which usually also has negative economic consequences.

Several quality levels of air dryer cartridges are available under the WABCO brand. ZF experts recommend fleet operators to use cartridges from the Air System Protector product family. This is a further development of the standard cartridge, which not only dries air, but also separates oils and aerosols. This ensures the best possible function of the compressed air system - even under heavy duty conditions such as in urban areas with much stop-and-go.

TRW brake pads ensure reliable braking performance

ZF recommends commercial vehicle workshops also to check not only the compressed air system but the brake pads as well at the beginning of winter. This is because, in winter road conditions, the ESP and ABS driving dynamics control systems are particularly dependent on the friction linings having exactly the product characteristics which the vehicle manufacturer's developers envisaged. If ESP intervenes, for example, because the commercial vehicle gets into a critical driving situation, then the friction build-up on the brakes must occur as quickly as possible - but also evenly enough so that the tyre does not lock. A further challenge for brake pads in winter is contact with wet brake discs or those covered with salt and grit. TRW brake pads ensure that full braking power is quickly restored under such conditions.


Fabiola Wagner

Head of Aftermarket Communications

+49 9721 4756-110

Patric Roos

ZF Aftermarket External Communications International

+49 9721 4756-516