Anyone who regularly drives HGVs, whether for work or leisure purposes, will understand the importance of having a reliable vehicle. This is particularly true if your livelihood depends on it. Regular maintenance is vital, and there are some parts of your truck that need to be kept in good working order every time you take to the road. Your brakes are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Yours, or someone else’s life may depend on them working effectively.
If you drive HGVs for a living, you will probably have a fairly comprehensive knowledge of your vehicle. For many drivers, that knowledge extends to them being able to carry our regular maintenance and repairs themselves. For others, the help of an expert is required.
If you are able to do much of the work yourself, is it a good idea to replace your own brakes?
Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of replacing your own truck brake parts.
What Are The Main Parts of a Truck Braking System?
Although your truck brakes consist of many parts, the main components that need to be changed are the callipers and expanders, the brake pads and discs.
How Long Does it Take to Change These Parts?
For a standard brake pad and disc replacement you can expect to need 1-3 hours. For more complicated repair and maintenance it can take up to 8 hours. These are the estimated times for a professional mechanic to get the job done. It may take longer if you’re doing it yourself.
How Do I Know If My Brakes Need Changing?
Regular truck brake maintenance is vital, as we’ve already mentioned. But how do you know when the components need to be replaced? In general, if you notice any squealing, squeaking or grinding noises coming from the brake system then it’s a good indication that maintenance is due. If the steering wheel has started to shake whilst you’re driving, that is another sign that you need to take seriously.
What Are The Pros of Replacing Your Own Brakes?
One of the greatest benefits of being able to change your own brakes is the cost savings. Not having to pay a professional mechanic to do the job, if you are capable, will save money on labour charges, and bring the overall cost down considerably.
Booking into a service centre isn’t always straightforward. It can be frustrating if you can’t arrange for your brakes to be replaced at a time and venue that makes your life easier. By doing the job yourself you will be in control of when and where your brakes are dealt with, and you can work it to fit in around your daily routine.
By choosing to carry out the maintenance to your brakes yourself, you will have the opportunity to choose the parts that you want to use. You won’t be constrained by the brands the garage has to work with, and instead you will be able to select the components that you prefer. Not only will this allow you to use the best parts for the job, you’ll also be able to tailor the spare parts to suit your financial situation.
Are There Any Downsides to Replacing Your Own Brakes?
There’s always the possibility that a simple job can turn into a much more complicated one, and you could find yourself out of your depth.
Unless you are well versed in the service and maintenance of your truck, you might mis-diagnose the problem. This could be costly from both a time and financial perspective.
It’s tempting to spend money on tools and equipment when you’re an avid DIY’er. Just make sure you don’t end up being the ‘expert’ with all the gear, and no idea!
In the process of changing your brake components there is a risk that you’ll do damage to other parts of the vehicle if you are not fully aware of what you’re doing.
And it might not be just the truck that gets damaged, you could be on the receiving end of an injury yourself, if you’re not careful.
If you don’t feel fully confident in changing your truck brakes by yourself, but you still want to have some control over the process, there’s always another option. If you have a particular brand of components that you favour, there’s nothing to stop you from supplying a professional mechanic with them, and paying them to do the fitting for you.
However you prefer to keep your truck in good working order, it’s advisable to put safety first. Particularly where your brakes are concerned. Knowing you are behind the wheel of a well maintained truck, and trusting the brakes to do their job effectively, gives you one less thing to worry about when you’re on the road.