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Why do tractor-trailer brakes stop working?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2023 | Blog, Trucking Accidents

Because tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, brake failure often leads to catastrophic consequences. For example, according to reporting from NBC News, four people died in Colorado recently when a truck slammed into stopped traffic after its brakes stopped working.

If you suffer a life-changing injury in a collision with a tractor-trailer, one of your primary goals must be to determine precisely why the accident happened. This is imperative, as assigning fault for the crash might allow you to pursue substantial compensation.  Luckily, there are only a few reasons a truck’s brakes might not work properly.


Like many other mechanical components on a truck, brakes require regular inspections and maintenance. Indeed, many types of brakes work by wearing out slowly over time. If the driver and trucking company forego inspections or delay necessary maintenance, a devastating accident might be imminent.


Sometimes, oil and other fluids leak and drip onto a truck’s brakes. If this happens, braking components might not work properly. Nevertheless, routine inspections should identify contamination risks before they endanger anyone.


When servicing brakes, mechanics should use quality components that fit the truck perfectly. Then, to ensure the brakes function correctly, someone must calibrate them. If someone miscalibrates the brakes or skips the calibration altogether, of course, they might be sluggish, stiff or even incapable of stopping the vehicle.

Ultimately, if you can prove a truck’s brakes failed to function effectively, you might have considerably better odds of securing the financial settlement you deserve.