Carl noticed something after he got a set of Air Scale on his truck. His readings were inaccurate and then, eventually, both Air Scale stopped working.
It turns out, even though Carl installed his Air Scale properly, what he didn't do was keep up on the maintenance of his air compressor system. As a result, the was a leak in his air system causing his air compressor to work for harder than usual causing damage to his air compressor and air system. The additional work his air compressor system was doing drained his Air Scale battery.
Air leaks in a trucks air lines can be hard to track down but if not done can lead to long term problems for the air compressor. If air is constantly leaking this means that the compressor will kick on more frequently to build air pressure back up which can wear the compressor down.
What can get damaged?
Aside from the Air Scale getting drained there are other parts of a truck that can get damaged if the air compressor system isn't well taken care of, which includes (but isn't limited to):
- broken intake filter
- air dryer damages
- compressor dies
Damages means an increase in your operational cost. A broken intake filter can cost anywhere from $50 to a few hundred. It depends on the brand, type, size, and company you're buying it from.
The air dryer is the part of the air compressor system that filter contaminants and water vapor and replacing it is in the same category as the aforementioned intake filter. It could be anywhere from $50 to a few hundred depending on the specs and the company.
When your air compressor dies, that's where you will incur the most cost. Depending on the type and size of the air compressor you're buying the range can go from approximately $400 to $1,500.
Sometimes the only maintenance needed is the air line. That's the cheapest route and usually paid for by the foot. Most of the time it can be purchased for $1-$5/per foot and you might need to purchase fittings, if yours are corroded or you can't reuse them.
How often should you check air lines?
If you notice your truck is taking more time than usual to build air compression, it may already be too late. And, unfortunately, there isn't a fault code reading to alert you to this problem. A truck typically runs between 85-100 psi.
There are times it's likely the unloader valve or the air governor which the driver can check on, then deal with, accordingly.
Depending on the type of truck a driver has, the amount they drive, and the age of the truck, doing routine checks on the air compression system every three to six months is a driver's best option for problem-prevention.
What are some solutions?
If the air compression system isn't working, checking to see if there are kinks in the line is the easiest troubleshooting step.
If there is moisture in the air line and there isn't damage to other truck parts as a result, simply change the air line or take it to a qualified mechanic to do it.
Spraying lines and fittings with soapy water will quickly identify any small leaks that are present. Once you have identified any leaks
Part of keeping operating costs low is preventative maintenance, as such, changing the filter and checking for leaks frequently can lower the chance the air compression system fails in the first place.