When to Replace the Brakes on Your Semi Truck

Semi trucks and their cargo are integral to the supply chain in America and around the world. Almost everything you can purchase in a retail store got there on a semi truck. This fact makes semi truck maintenance and repair that much more important.

If you’ve ever taken a road trip, you’ve likely noticed the abundance of semi trucks on the road. Their ability to function is crucial not only to the supply chain but to the safety of their drivers and other motorists that are sharing the road.

This article will touch on semi truck repair and outline when you should replace the brakes on your semi truck.


Unlike civilian vehicles, semi truck brakes can last as long as 250,000 miles to 300,000 miles. This is because they aren’t used as often as brakes on a normal vehicle. Semi truck drivers may only make two stops on their way to their destination, saving the brakes from wear and tear.

You should be scheduling regular inspections, and if your semi truck’s brakes have over 250,000 miles on them, you can consider replacing them.

Loud noises

Often, if you need semi truck repair or brake replacement, the brakes themselves will tell you through the noises that they make. If, upon braking, you hear shrill squealing or screeching sounds emanating from your brakes, you’ll want to have them inspected.

From there, you can decide whether you want certain components to be repaired or you want to replace the brakes entirely.

Brake fade

Pushing the brake pedal down should engage the truck’s braking system almost immediately. Brake fade occurs when you’re required to push the pedal down farther than you normally would to engage the brakes.

This can also present as a soft brake pedal or a non-responsive or squishy brake pedal. Brake fade is a telltale sign of worn-out brake pads and may require semi truck repair or brake replacement.

Brake shudder

If you feel vibrations through the brake pedal or steering wheel while braking, then you’ve experienced what’s known as brake shudder. Also called brake judder, this usually happens when you apply the brakes at high speeds.

There’s no single underlying cause to this problem, but it can stem from damaged or uneven brake rotors, defective brake calipers or new brake pads that aren’t broken in yet. Semi trucks can be susceptible to malfunctioning or malformed rotors due to the heavy loads that they often carry.


One possible sign that you need semi truck brake replacement is when your vehicle veers or pulls to one side while braking. This shouldn’t occur, as your truck should continue on straight ahead any time you apply the brake.

Pulling or veering to one side can be caused by brake pads that are unevenly worn or an issue with the air brake hose. For safety reasons, you should have your truck inspected as soon as possible after you experience this problem.

Call for your semi truck’s new brakes today

For new brakes for your semi truck and general semi truck repair, give us a call at J & M Trailer Repair. We have over two decades of experience servicing commercial semi trucks, and we’d be happy to help you with a new set of brakes to get your truck road-ready.