Importance of Performing a Heavy Equipment Brake Inspection

  • Editorial Team
  • Heavy Construction Equipment
  • 27 July 2022

Although you will not be traveling at high speeds with heavy equipment like bulldozers or excavators, it is very important that operators are able to stop these machines quickly and efficiently whenever they need. Being able to stop equipment reliably is also a necessary safety requirement of OSHA. Their guidelines specify that earthmoving equipment should have a braking system that can stop and hold the machine even when it is fully loaded.

Problems That Can Arise if Brakes Are Not Maintained

Usually brake problems do not become obvious until they start affecting the performance of the equipment. Brake problems can arise due to numerous reasons such as excessive wear and tear, imbalance, or timing issues. If the system does not get enough engagement or is disengaged improperly, it can cause a brake failure. Whether you are working with a 140G motor grader or a wheel loader dealing with sudden break failure can be quite dangerous.

You can spot a faulty brake system from any unprecedented squeaking or squealing sounds or vibrations. If the brakes fail to engage or disengage, it is also a sign of a faulty brake system. Sometimes, simply adding fluid or bleeding the brake lines to remove the air can fix the problem. Replacing any worn-out shoes or pads may also be able to ensure the safe operation of your equipment. No matter what the issue, you need to use genuine brake parts for your machine.

Perform a Heavy Equipment Brake Inspection

Brake failures can turn out to be seriously damaging for construction work, so it is important to perform a heavy equipment brake inspection frequently. Make sure to always monitor your equipment’s hours so you will know when it is time for service. Remember to inspect the undercarriage and look for any signs of a leak. Other things that you need to look at include the following.

Brake Pads

Check for any excessive or uneven wear on the brake pads. If there is excessive wear and tear on the brake pads, it may be time for a replacement. If you notice that there is uneven wear on the brake pads, it indicates that the caliper or some other component is malfunctioning. If you hear any squeaking or squealing, it could be due to dirt or worn-out parts.


When you are inspecting the calipers, make sure that the pistons and sliding pins are operating smoothly. If the calipers are faulty, your brake pedal will feel spongy.


Inspect your rotors and look for any burn marks, corrosion, or excessive wear. If you hear any grinding noises when you engage the brakes, it could be due to a worn rotor.

Hoses and Tubing

Check the hose for any signs of cracks, chafing, or kinks and make sure that it is positioned properly and has smooth connections.


Be careful not to contaminate the system with dirt when you are inspecting the fluids. If your braking system is connected to the machine’s hydraulic system, you can use a gauge to check its fluid level.


By ensuring that the slack adjusters and cam shafts are always greased, you can prevent any rusting or corrosion. By greasing your slack adjuster, you will be able to protect its clutch and gear set from wearing out prematurely while also pushing any unwanted water, contaminants, and old grease out.

Parking Brake

Inspecting the parking brake is quite simple. All you have to do is engage the parking brake while your machine is in neutral gear on a slope. Newer machines have features that can alert you if there are any parking brake issues or if something else is wrong with the braking system.