How Truck Brakes Work

Truck Brake Diagram

Diagram of air-brake components
Diagram of air-brake components

Now let's put the parts together to see how truck brakes work as a whole. This diagram provides both a closeup view and an example of where the brakes are located in your vehicle.

Related ­HowStuffWorks Articles


  • "Air Brakes 101." (10/31/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. "Air Brake." (10/31/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • Bulk Transporter. "Bendix Spicer JV Promotes Air Disc Brakes." (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Commercial Driver License Handbook. Section 5: Air Brakes." (10/31/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • "George Westinghouse, Jr." (11/01/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • Grygier, Paul A. "Study of Heavy Truck Air Disc Brake Effectiveness on the National Advanced Driving Simulator." (11/03/08). pdf file downloaded from - 2007-04-05 (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • National Transportation Safety Board. "Lessons Learned from a Fatal Crash." (10/31/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • New York State Commercial Driver's Manual. (10/31/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • Thomas, Ed. "Retarders." (11/1/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation. "U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces FMCSA Rule Permitting Performance Brake Testing Technology." (10/31/08). (Accessed 11/5/08)