There are varying schools of thought on ‘how to use the jake brake’ in a truck.
Some drivers switch on the jake when they start the truck at the beginning of the day and leave the jake switch on all day.
I use the jake when needed. I have found that when I shift the truck without the clutch the jake would interfere with my shift because it would engage in the middle of my shift.
Before electronic motors came around, if the switch was left on, went into the truck stop for coffee, it would sputter away and eventually kill the engine. So, as a result, I got into the habit of only switching it on when needed. With electronic motors, the switch can easily be left on without issue.
I leave the brake in the on position also when I downshift and use the clutch as I downshift, in order that I don’t mess up my shifting.
I like to bring my motor down low when shifting. My truck has a Cat engine and Cat’s are a low revving engine. It really drags the truck to a stop, very efficiently.
If you are on ice with a very ‘strong’ brake, you ought to be careful. There are varying positions of strength so it can be used in high, medium or low. When I engage it, I almost always use it in the ‘high’ position, to aid my stopping.
However, in slippery conditions, the driver can simply use a lower setting to aid in slowing the engine down.
- Always make sure your engine isn’t low on oil. If you throw your brake on when the truck is low on oil, you can do damage to the engine.
- Also, don’t use it when it’s cold, as that can do harm to the engine as well. Be sure the engine has had ample time to warm up first.
- Be sure your truck and trailer are lined up straight… don’t use it on a corner.
I use the jake brake often when I’m driving. It’s a very handy tool to aid in slowing the truck down….. I couldn’t do without it.