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How Do Volvo Truck Brakes Work? (5 Critical Braking Systems)

If you are a truck driver, one of the most important things to check is the braking system. This ensures that there will be no problems once you are on the road already. 

Semi trucks have various braking systems that have to be effective in stopping such a large vehicle.

In this article, we talk about the different types of braking systems found in Volvo trucks and how they work. 

Here’s a short summary of How Volvo Truck Brakes Work:

Volvo Trucks braking systems include air brakes, engine brakes and exhaust brakes. Engine and exhaust brakes when activated creates exhaust back pressure that results in the deceleration of the engine and vehicle while air brakes activate brake shoes that slow down the truck by stopping its wheels.

How do Volvo Trucks Stop so Fast?

Volvo trucks nowadays are technologically-advanced.

They are equipped with an auto brake system to make sure that they can stop immediately after the system has detected a collision.

Usually, when the truck sees a pedestrian or other vehicle, it will automatically reduce its speed to 30 miles per hour. 

How Fast can a Volvo Truck Stop?

It will take 4 to 6 seconds in about 130 yards to stop a semi-truck, like the Volvo, running at 55 miles per hour. This calculation is based on a truck with good brakes and travelling on a dry road. 

Weather conditions, road conditions, and even the truck brakes and tire conditions will affect how fast the truck will stop.

That four to six seconds is very crucial during tight situations. You do not have to think about getting someone injured just because you can’t control the truck from colliding. The brake system will handle the situation just fine. 

What is the Braking Distance of a Volvo Truck?

The stopping distance of a Volvo truck is 130 feet when the initial speed is 50 miles per hour. The braking distance is affected by the truck’s speed when the brakes are hit or pressed. 

The braking distance is affected by the truck’s speed when the brakes are hit or pressed. Braking distance is critical because it determines the impact it will cause if there is a possible collision.

It can be life-saving to know the braking distance of your truck, as it may help you to avoid a collision if you know how much time you have to react once the brakes are activated.

What Brakes does a Volvo Truck Have?

The braking system that Volvo trucks use includes Air Brake, Engine Brake, and Exhaust Brake. 

They all have their way of stopping a Volvo truck running on the road. 

With each system, you will be amazed how they can slow down a truck with a load in just seconds, helping avoid any mishap.

  • Engine Brake

Engine brakes activate by setting the engine to the level of braking that you need. 

The Volvo engine brakes work at a speed of 950 rpm. If there is an instance that the truck will not stop at the cruise speed setting and the engine brake is in position A, the engine brake system will automatically engage, making the truck decelerate in speed. 

  • Air Brake

The air brake system uses air pressure instead of hydraulic fluids to activate wheel-mounted brakes. 

The engine-mounted compressor pressurizes the air and pumps it to the storage tanks. It will remain in the storage tanks until it is needed.  

  • Exhaust Brake

For the exhaust brake, it is a recommended braking system option for big vehicles like trucks. With a heavy load, stopping a big truck with just regular brakes will be hard. 

Diesel exhaust brake allows trucks to slow and stop without the wheel-mounted brakes. 

How do Volvo Truck Brakes Work?

A Volvo truck brakes are activated by pressing the brake pedal. Air brakes, use compact air to stop the brakes.

Engine braking will require you to utilize the accelerator, gear, and clutch while the exhaust brake works by trapping engine pressure to create back pressure to stop.  

Here’s how the different braking system work…

How does the Volvo Truck Air Brake System Work?

Air brakes work differently depending if it is a disc or drum brake. Furthermore, it works by using compressed air instead of hydraulic fluid. 

As mentioned, the engine-mounted compressor pressurizes the air and stores it in an air tank, ready to use when needed. 

If it is a drum brake operation, you press the brake pedal. The air from the tanks will now flow to the brake valves. Then it will travel to the brake chambers. 

The accelerators will transfer the pushrod force to the cam rotational force. The rollers will rise and force the shoes against the drum when the cam rotates. 

This allows the shoe linings to make contact with the drum to stop or slow down the entire truck. 

The operator needs to release the pedal so the delivered air will exhaust. After the brake pedal has been released, everything will return to its original position. 

Air brakes in a disc brake work in a similar fashion…

The only difference here is when the pressurized air reaches the brake chambers, the caliper will take action. 

The caliper will then slide to the guide pins. The bridge will move to the caliper, and the pad squeezes the rotor forcing the wheels to stop. 

How does Volvo Engine Brake Work?

The Volvo engine brake utilizes the Volvo Compression Brake and the Exhaust Pressure Governor to slow down the truck when a specific rpm range is reached.

This braking system allows for the pressure in the engine’s cylinders to be governed which in turn permits the application of a brake force towards the pistons themselves.

The Exhaust Pressure Governor allows for the control of the exhaust valve situated in the turbo exhaust outlet.

When activated, high back pressure in the cylinder chamber is created by shutting off the exhaust valve, which slows down piston movement and leads to a deceleration of the truck.

Volvo trucks typically come equipped with a multifunction control stalk that the driver can access and adjust preset settings on the engine brake.

How does Volvo Exhaust Brake Work?

The Volvo exhaust brake controls the exhaust pressure by regulating the Exhaust Pressure Govenor located at the turbo exhaust outlet. 

The exhaust brakes work by trapping engine pressure in the exhaust system.

Since the the pistons also travel upward in their cylinder bore to move the spent gasses out of the engine through the exhaust valve, the high back pressure created by shutting off the exhaust valve results in the pistons moving slower and deceleration of the engine and vehicle.

The control if the exhaust brake is done by the trucks computer once the brake is activated, but there are older truck models which have exhaust brakes that the driver manually operates. 

How does the Volvo Emergency Braking System Work?

Volvo emergency brake is the last braking system that will activate. It is a braking system that automatically starts the brakes when the driver does not respond to the collision warnings.

This ensures that the truck will stop based on the distance of a hazardous object for impact. 

The emergency brakes work with the help of the truck camera and the radar. The Collision Warning with an emergency brake monitors any object that hinders its way. 

When the radars detect a possible collision, it alerts the warning. Here, the driver will notice a red light reflected on the windshield. If there is still no response from the driver, a flashing light and an alarm will follow. 

The emergency brake will automatically activate if the driver does not respond. This feature increases the safety aspect to your braking system, especially if you drive a massive semi-truck.

Sometimes you will not see the overall picture outside due to certain factors, but with the help of emergency brakes, it will reduce the possibility of collisions. 

How does Volvo Active Driver Assist Work?

This forward collision avoidance technology, Volvo Active Driver Assist, helps truck drivers adapt to changing traffic situations to avoid and prevent any possible risk of collision. 

The combination of camera and radar technology made this excellent driver aid possible.

Because safety is a standard, Volvo improves this component for truck drivers; it helps by disengaging the cruise, reducing the throttle, engaging the engine brake, applying a service brace, and even downshifting.

Those reduce the impact severity in case of a collision, reducing road accidents and travelers’ fatalities. 

How does a Volvo Truck Braking Compare to Other Trucks?

Volvo has manufactured an amazing braking technology that can stop a semi-truck or any huge vehicle with a heavy load effectively.

With the help of this braking technology, Volvo trucks aim to provide a safe, accident, and collision-free journey for a semi-truck.

The elements that help the Volvo braking system are the camera, radar, sensor, collecting unit, and the system itself. The camera and the radar are responsible for measuring the distance of the objects nearby. 

On the other hand, the sensors assess if the objects nearby are collision risk or non-threatening items such as trash or rocks. 

Now the collecting unit will gather all these data and alert the collision warnings if the situation is dangerous. 

If the driver does not respond or address these warnings, the collecting unit will alert the braking system to decelerate slightly. Then it will decouple the gearbox before proceeding to a complete stop. 

The collecting unit may activate the parking brakes as well. And as a result, the truck will have a complete stop at 130 feet after arriving at 50 miles per hour. 

How do you keep Volvo Truck Brakes in Pristine Condition?

You must always check for broken parts, cracked, damaged, or worn linings to keep your Volvo truck brakes in good condition.

In addition, ensure to check if the pads, drums, or rotors and the air or hydraulic fluids are all good. If these things are good, then you will have no headaches along the road. 

Furthermore, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) holds a Safety Brake week every September in the US and Canada to ensure drivers maintain their brake systems properly. 

This is outstanding advocacy and initiative to ensure that there will be lesser accidents along the road due to brake failure and will prompt drivers to always check their brakes before and after every road trip.