HGV Truck & Trailer Testing

ask-expert-icon-650x4002In order to establish that your HGV fleet is in a well-maintained state it is important to conduct regular assessments of vehicle safety systems to ensure that they are functioning correctly.

From a brake testing perspective, regular checks ensure that vehicle braking performance is maintained and in order to analyse and record those checks most operators use a brake meter, or decelerometer to use the correct terminology, with a printer to perform that function.

Bomwonk Decelerometer
A modern brake meter decelerometer and printer

The testing of driven vehicles is straightforward but for trailer brake testing a slightly different testing procedure is required.

To perform an trailer brake test we must first benchmark the tractor unit. In the first instance therefore a complete set of data from the tractor unit itself must be acquired. These data sets are for the Parking Brake the Service Brake & Secondary Brake.

To conduct the test you normally proceed on a metaled road at around 10kph and apply the braking system to be analysed. During the retardation phase the decelerometer is using gravity to calculate braking efficiencies, exact test speed and even brake imbalance!


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With these benchmark efficiencies in hand we can now look to test the trailer so it is hooked up to the tractor and the test procedure is repeated to gain a second set of data for the 3 braking systems.

In order to establish the braking efficiency of the trailer we are comparing our results to establish that the overall braking efficiency is approximately the same for the tractor and the tractor & drag. In simple terms we are looking to see “if the trailer is doing its share of the braking”.

Should a significant deviation be found between the two sets of results then this indicates that there a problem with the trailer braking system which will need a more detailed examination on a roller brake tester.

In summary, a braking meter gives an indication of the overall braking efficiency of the vehicle. It does not negate the requirement for further and more detailed examination on a roller brake tester, however when one considers the costs of these brake testing kits complete with printer and then compare that to the costs associated in testing using a roller brake tester at a local ATF then it is obvious why the Bowmonk Truck Stop Kit is the preferred method of checking fleet brakes at regular intervals.

In order to see a Bowmonk Truck Stop kit, or to buy one online, visit our dedicated Truck & Trailer Testing Page by clicking HERE.

Don’t fail at the roadside!


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