Sometimes your airbags don’t inflate or the brakes don’t release in freezing temperatures. It could be that your brake shoes are frozen to the drum or that an air line or air valve is frozen somewhere – and that’s an easy fix.
Start by draining the liquid out of your air tanks, which you should be doing daily, anyway. Then you can simply pour a little air-line anti-freeze into the red air line’s gladhand on your tractor, connect it to your trailer, charge your trailer air, and then pump your service brakes to get it into the air system.
Once you see the airbags inflate or you do a tug test to see that your brakes have released, your problem might be solved.
Remember to drain your air tanks of liquid once you have fixed your problem.
The air system is meant to pump air, not liquid, so adding too much air-line anti-freeze could damage the air valves. This could also cause air-line anti-freeze to blow out into your face when disconnecting gladhands.
Avoiding this hazard is easy: Using the proper amount of air-line anti-freeze is as simple as: Glug, glug, and you’re done.
If you do feel like you have poured too much air-line anti-freeze into your tractor’s red air-line gladhand, place it securely on your catwalk, away from anyone’s face, and charge your trailer air to exhaust the fluid. Then try again with, “Glug, glug and you’re done.”
Less is more when it comes to air-line anti-freeze. In addition to damaging your trailer’s air valves, it could force you off the road, keep you from logging miles and leave you waiting on an expensive service call. So remember: glug, glug, and you’re done!
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