The Importance of Your Air Line System

The blue and red coiled lines that run from your tractor to your trailer are pretty to look at, but they also both serve extremely important functions. The red air line is for the trailer’s emergency brake, while the blue air line is for the trailer’s service brake. Having an air brake system ensures that coupled vehicle units, such as a tractor and trailer, both have braking capability.

Most in the trucking industry learn how to successfully attach and secure air lines to their corresponding couplers, but for truck and fleet owners that operate in winter climates, it’s important to know the potential hazards that bitter cold conditions can have on your air brake equipment.

Extreme Cold and Your Air Lines

Air lines and their components are parts that easily fall into that “set it and forget it” mentality. If it works, then it works, right? But if you’re working in extreme weather conditions, it’s critical to know your equipment.

For overall safety and regulation compliance, air lines are required to stretch and recoil properly. Ensuring that air lines stretch to a proper working length reduces the amount of stress put on the coupled gladhands, and when they lines recoil properly they are kept off the deck plate. If temperatures are too cold and drop beyond your air line’s working temperature, they can lose their ability to both stretch and recoil. While this may not seem like a big deal, lack of recoiling and stretching can cause:

  • More force on the gladhands, which can lead to the gladhands separate or pull away, causing air leaks
  • Air line kinking can permanently damage air lines and also block air to the brake system
  • Gladhands freezing together can cause drivers to accidentally apply too much force when pushing down or pulling up, potentially damaging the lines.

The Consequences of Damaged Air Lines

In addition to compromising overall safety if air lines or gladhands are compromised during extreme cold, these types of damages may also get you dinged by the CVSA during inspections. Having your air lines dragging on the deck plate or damaged by working improperly in cold temperatures can look bad for your business and potentially get you taken out of service.

Another bad look for your business is if the damage to your air lines causes your air brake system to malfunction. Winter driving is dangerous enough when all systems are at peak performance — when you’ve got a leak in the air system, taking the gamble and waiting for the spring brakes to stop the trailer can spell disaster and a damaged reputation.

How to Avoid Air Line Damage This Winter

This year marks one of the most intense winters on record, especially in areas like Texas that are unprepared for lingering snow and ice. Avoid unexpected downtime and air line replacement costs and get it right the first time around with coiled air lines and heavy-duty gladhands that are built tough to withstand the extreme cold.

Phillips Polar Air Coiled Air Lines. Made from proprietary blend polar air jacketing, Phillips Polar Air lines allow for coil expansion and contraction at temperatures as extreme as -85 degrees Fahrenheit — a significant difference from the industry standard of -40 degrees.

Phillips Latch-It Gladhands. Get a secure gladhand connection every time and prevent accidental disconnections with the best latch technology from Phillips. These gladhands meet SAE J318 specifications and have a patented latch to provide a positive lock.

Where to Buy Aftermarket Air Line Components

If you’re realizing you may be in the market for a tougher set of coiled air lines, gladhands, or other air brake system components, we can help. Our full haul of heavy-duty everything includes the Polar Air jacketed lines, Latch-It gladhands, and more from Phillips and other trusted names in the industry.

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Key Points: How Winter Affects Truck Air Lines

  • The red and blue air lines that connect your tractor to your trailer are important for safety and appropriate braking. These lines can be sensitive to extremely cold temperatures.
  • When air lines are in temperatures below their manufactured limit, they can lose the ability to recoil and stretch properly. This, in turn, can also put more stress on the gladhands. It is also possible for gladhands to freeze together, causing the driver to inadvertently damage the air lines.
  • Air lines that are dragging or damaged can cause leaks in the air brake system and can also receive a violation from the CVSA
  • Polar Air air lines and Latch-It gladhands from Phillips can help you ensure the safety and security of your air brake system

Weather the weather, no matter the weather with a little help from Phillips Industries and our haul of heavy-duty everything.