Air brake system components are commonly used in trucks. Although hydraulic fluid brakes can also be found in trucks, air brakes are employed more often for their low maintenance requirements. 

Hydraulic brakes are just as reliable as air brakes if maintained properly. However, the simple fact that air is almost omnipresent while hydraulic fluid isn’t always available, makes air brake system components more appealing to truck manufacturers and users. 

Early use of air brake system components 

Some of the earliest vehicles to use air brake system components were trains. In 1869, US engineer George Westinghouse developed the triple-valve air brake system components for railcar use. The brake system is meant to replace the primitive brake system that trains used to have that required an operator in each car to operate. 

5 basic air brake system components

Air brake compressor

This component maintains the amount of air pressure required to operate the air brake system and other air-utilizing components in the truck. This component is important as it determines the consistency of the performance of the air-powered accessories of the truck.   

The air brake compressor, which runs as the truck’s engine runs, is either driven by belt or gear. Some models may depend on their lubrication from the truck’s lubricants, while some may require to have their own lube. It is also either air-cooled or cooled by the truck engine’s cooling system. Some air brake compressor models may also have their own air-filtration system or may be dependent on the engine’s intake system. 

Maintenance: Some air brake compressor models may have their own filtration system and lubrication. Simply make sure they are cleaned and lubricated regularly. 


Reservoirs are among the most basic air brake system components. The reservoir stores compressed air and ensures that the amount is sufficient once it is required to be circulated for braking. These components are tanks that store air. Air is then drained through its valves called draincocks

Maintenance: The reservoir should be drained at least once a day to get rid of the pollutants and moisture that may negatively affect the performance of the air brakes.

Brake shoes and drums

The brake shoes and drums are air brake system components that generate the friction necessary to stop the truck. Once the brake pedal is pushed, the brake shoes are forced outward towards the drums to create friction to stop the wheel. The brake shoes have brake lining material on them to ensure the consistency of the amount of friction being applied during braking. 

Maintenance: The lining on brake shoes may wear out over time, causing less braking power. The brake shoes must be replaced once weaker braking power is felt.

Brake chambers 

Brake chambers turn the compressed air of the air brake system components into mechanical energy that is powerful enough to bring the truck to a halt. This component has a clamp that holds the chamber together.

Maintenance: Make sure that the pushrod stroke is operating in a normal range. Refer to your truck’s manual to know how to properly do maintenance on the brake chambers directly. Make sure that the pushrod stroke is operating in a normal range. Neglecting these parts may result in the failure of the air brake system components.

Brake pedal

We are now at the front end of the air brake system components. The amount of foot pressure applied to the brake pedal determines the amount of air pressure that the air brake system will apply at the moment of braking. 

Proper use: Truck drivers should also know how and when to properly brake. Once compressed air has circulated the braking system, the components will take a while to refill the lost pressure. Improper and overuse of brakes is bad for the health of your truck’s air brake system components. 

Air brake system components available at Truckstop

Need replacing air brake system components for your truck? Head to Truckstop Parts and Accessories by Autokid Truck Solutions. We have an extensive inventory of spare truck parts and accessories. Give us a call at +639176530000