The Jake Brake is an invaluable, extra tool available for truck drivers. It is primarily used for slowing down a big rig, in certain situations.
It is not intended as a substitute for the service brakes. It operates using the diesel engine’s own power…. the same force that gives the truck power, is used to slow it down.
The general public seem to hate the engine brake. You’ll see NO JAKE SIGNS posted in various locations, forbidding the use of the Jake.
They have an overwhelming loud roar which can be quite disturbing to folks living near major highways. They are a great device to use in normal conditions.
Some drivers like to use the jake on snow-covered roads or more questionable surface conditions….. this is a much debated topic among truck drivers.
20 Tips & Tricks For Using the Jake Brake
1. The jake brake is not designed for use on ice and very slippery conditions.
2. On dry roads, the engine brake can be used at virtually any time when the driver wishes to slow down the truck.
3. On slippery roads or in winter conditions, if you do decide to use it, the tractor trailer unit should be lined up and straight before engaging the jake brake. This is to avoid jack-knifing.
4. Proper use of the jake in the mountains can add years to the life of the brake shoes of a truck. It will also save wear and tear on tires.
5. The engine brake can help prevent brake fires caused by too much reliance on the brake pedal, by leaving the top of the grade too fast.
6. Be sure the engine is at operating temperature and not running cold, before using it.
7. Be sure the engine isn’t low on oil.
8. I recommend operating the jake in the shifting range, about 1100-1400 rpm’s. It will certainly work at the higher rpm’s but the motor may suffer for it over the course of time.
9. The driver can utilize different strengths for the jake (different positions). Different engines have different positions of strength.
10. On a 3 position jake, position 3 is strongest and used most often. Positions 1 & 2 are used in less than favorable road conditions.
11. Test your brake at the beginning of the trip to ensure proper operation.
12. The Jacob’s Brake can be left on all of the time or turned on as required (old school style).
13. It operates in a ‘no fuel position’…. driver’s foot OFF the fuel pedal. To activate, the driver takes his foot OFF the fuel (when the jake is left on at all times).
14. It can be used in combination with the foot brake.
15. One thing MOST truckers can agree on with it’s operation…. it is NOT necessary to have the jake operating in a truck stop parking lot!
16. In mountain driving, I prefer to start down a grade in a gear low enough to allow the jake to do 90% of the braking. I prefer only to occasionally tap the brake pedal. This is a personal preference that has worked for me over the years.
17. Don’t use the jake when shifting gears, as it can stall out the engine.
18. It can be abused…. it is not meant for slowing down if the truck isn’t traveling at a controlled speed.
19. Jakes as a rule can be pretty noisy. Many communities have noise by-laws against the use of this device. Sometimes though, it’s necessary for the driver to use it for safety reason, which ought to trump a noise by-law.
20. The Jacob’s Brake is an extra tool available to a truck driver to utilize in particular situations.
WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR A DEMONSTRATION ON
HOW TO USE THE JAKE BRAKE
Truckers have their own personal preferences regarding when it comes to use of this specialized stopping device. The tips listed above are for reference only…. always follow the instruction from your CDL training school instructor or your safety director at your company.