How to Check Brakes on Semi Truck in 6 Steps – RoadPro

How to Check Brakes on Semi Truck in 6 Steps – RoadPro
Learn how to check brakes on a semi truck in 6 easy steps with this RoadPro guide. Keep you and others safe while driving! 🚛

Did you know that your semi truck brakes are the most important safety component? On the road, the reliability of your braking system is the line that separates you from an accident.

A brake failure can have devastating consequences, not only for you and your cargo, but also for other road users. That's why brake service and maintenance is crucial.

With this comprehensive guide from RoadPro, you'll learn in 6 easy steps how to check your semi truck brakes from a visual inspection to brake pad replacement. Plus, we'll give you valuable tips to keep your braking system in top condition and ensure your safety every mile you drive.

6 Steps to Check your Semi Truck Brakes

Take control of your safety and learn how to keep your semi truck brakes in perfect condition with these 6 easy steps:

  1. Get All You Need to Do the Revision

Make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment. Also, don't forget to take appropriate safety precautions.

Tools and equipment:

  • Wrenches and hexagon wrenches of different sizes.

  • Flat and crosshead screwdrivers.

  • Brake pad calibrator.

  • Brake cleaner.

  • Brake grease.

  • Hydraulic jack.

  • Wheel chocks.

  • Safety gloves.

  • Safety glasses.

  • Dust mask.


  • Choose a flat, level, well-lit work site to check the brakes on your semi truck.

  • Apply the parking brake and place the wheel chocks behind the rear wheels.

  • Make sure the semi truck is in neutral before lifting it with the hydraulic jack.

  • Wear safety gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from chemicals and dirt.

  • Do not smoke or eat while working on the brake system.

  • If you are unsure about how to perform any step, consult the semi truck's manual or seek help from a professional mechanic.

Once you have everything ready, you can start with the visual inspection of the brakes.

At RoadPro Assistance we specialize in providing reliable brake system maintenance and repair solutions. More details here 👆

Checking the brakes of your semi truck with a visual inspection allows you to detect potential problems without disassembling the braking system.

  • Start by inspecting the wheels and tires for damage or wear.
  • Look for cracks, breaks or deformations in the rims.

  • Make sure the rims are securely bolted to the hubs.

  • Verify that the tires are in good condition and have no cuts, wear or bulges.

  • Next, inspect the brake hoses and lines for leaks or damage.
  • Carefully observe the brake hoses and brake lines from the brake fluid reservoir to the wheels. This system is more extensive on 18 wheeler brakes.

  • Look for leaks or breaks in hoses and lines.

  • Make sure hoses and lines are not worn or cracked.

  • Next, check the brake fluid level.
  • The brake fluid reservoir is usually located in the engine compartment.

  • Look for the minimum and maximum level mark on the tank.

  • Check that the brake fluid is between the minimum and maximum marks.

  • If the brake fluid level is low, look for leaks in the system.

  • Finally, observe the brake pad wear indicators.
  • Wear indicators are small notches or grooves in the brake pads.

  • When the brake pads wear out, the indicators become visible.

  • If wear indicators are visible, it is necessary to replace the brake pads.

If you detect any problems while checking your semi truck brakes, it is important to have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

  1. Functional Test

The function test allows you to verify that the semi truck brakes are working properly.

To carry out the function test, follow these instructions:

  1. Start the engine and let the semi truck warm up for a few minutes.

  2. Apply pressure to the brake pedal smoothly and evenly.

  3. Pay attention to any unusual noises, such as squeaking, rubbing or vibrations.

  4. Observe if the brake pedal sinks too much or if it has to be pressed too hard to stop the semi truck.

  5. Verify that the brake lights turn on when the brake pedal is pressed.

  6. Back up and repeat steps 2 to 5.

  1. Disassembly and Overhaul of Brake Pads

If you have detected anomalies when checking the brakes of your semi truck during the visual inspection or function test, it is time to disassemble and check them thoroughly.

To remove the brake pads, follow these steps:

  1. Raise the semi truck with the hydraulic jack and place the wheel chocks behind the rear wheels.

  2. Remove the wheel bolts and wheels.

  3. Disconnect the brake hoses from the brake caliper.

  4. Unscrew the bolts holding the brake caliper to the caliper carrier.

  5. Carefully remove the brake caliper.

  6. Remove the old brake pads.

  7. Check the semi truck brake pads for wear, cracks or damage.

  8. Measure the brake pad thickness and compare it to the manufacturer's specifications.

  9. If the brake pads are worn, cracked or damaged, it is necessary to replace them with new ones.

  10. Clean the brake caliper and caliper carrier with brake cleaner.

  11. Apply brake grease to the brake caliper guides.

  12. Install the new brake pads in the brake caliper.

  13. Verify that the brake pads are properly aligned.

  14. Reinstall the brake caliper on the caliper carrier.

  15. Tighten the bolts holding the brake caliper to the caliper carrier.

  16. Connect the brake hoses to the brake caliper.

  17. Reinstall the wheels and wheel bolts.

  18. Lower the semi truck with the hydraulic jack.

  19. Repeat steps 1 to 18 on the other side of the semi truck.

Once you have disassembled and checked the brake pads, replace any worn, cracked or damaged brake pads.

  1. Changing the Brakes on a Semi truck

If after checking the brakes of your semi truck you have determined that the brake pads need to be replaced, it is important to do so carefully and accurately. This ensures safe and efficient operation of the braking system.

To replace the brake pads, follow the procedure below:

  1. Make sure you have the correct new brake pads for your semi truck model.

  2. Remove the old brake pads and install the new ones following the instructions in step 4.

  3. Lower the semi truck with the hydraulic jack.

  4. Pump the brake pedal several times to allow the new brake pads to sit on the rotors.

  5. Test the brakes in a safe area to make sure they are working properly.

  6. If the brakes do not work properly, recheck the brake pad installation and look for any problems in the braking system.

  1. Final Revision

Once you have completed the above 5 steps, it is essential to perform a final check of the brake system. Make sure all components are in good condition and that there are no leaks or damage. It is also important to check the brake fluid level and adjust if necessary.

Preventive Maintenance of Semi Truck Brakes


Preventive maintenance is crucial to keep your semi truck brakes in good condition and ensure their safe and efficient operation.

Here are some tips for preventive brake maintenance:

    Check the brakes on your semi truck regularly. A complete visual inspection of the brakes is recommended every month and a function test every three months.

    Replace brake pads when necessary. How often you should replace brake pads will depend on your driving habits and road conditions. Consult your semi truck owner's manual for specific manufacturer's recommendations.

    Have your braking system checked by a professional mechanic at least once a year. The mechanic will check all components of the braking system and help you identify and fix any potential problems.

    Maintain the correct brake fluid level. The brake fluid level should be between the minimum and maximum marks on the reservoir. If the brake fluid level is low, you can top it up with more fluid, although it is best to replace it completely.

    Use the correct type of brake fluid. Be sure to use the type of brake fluid recommended by your semi truck manufacturer.

    Drive carefully. Avoiding hard braking and aggressive driving will help prolong the life of your brakes.

Find more information and a bunch of useful tips to maintain and repair your semi in Our Blog!

Check Your Semi Truck Brakes with RoadPro!

Checking your semi truck brakes regularly is critical to keep them in good condition. If you need help with maintenance or repair of your semi truck brakes, our RoadPro experts are here to help. 

We have qualified mechanics and offer mobile mechanical services to reach you wherever you are. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we operate in Atlanta, GA and 100 miles around. Check out the complete list of cities where we operate here.

Remember! Keeping your semi truck brakes in good shape is essential for your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Contact us now, ask for a free quote and get 15% off in your first service!