Now three years removed from the RSD amendment’s implementation, suppliers say customers have quickly grown to appreciate the benefits reduced stopping distances provide.
“Fleets are starting to see the economic and safety benefits of RSD technology, and drivers in particular are really responsive,” says Ganaway. “They have a vested interest in braking performance, and RSD [compliant] systems give them a lot more confidence out on the road.”
Adds Tom Rogers, senior applications engineer, Abex commercial vehicle friction at Federal-Mogul Motorparts, “Customers like the way they feel when they’re using them.”
It’s those benefits that distributors should focus on in selling RSD in the aftermarket, suppliers say. Once a driver gets used to reduced stopping distances, downgrading to conventional brakes can be problematic or downright hazardous.
“I think most fleets want to maintain a similar level of performance in their braking systems as they had when they first bought their vehicle,” says Dennis Griffin, product manager, commercial vehicle friction at Federal-Mogul.
“I think making a conscious decision to not maintain a consistent level of performance on a vehicle is becoming much more difficult,” says Randy Petresh, vice president, technical services at Haldex. “Years ago if something worked [customers] would it use forever, it didn’t matter if something better came along.
“Now you see more and more customers looking at safety and performance in the aftermarket, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Bendix says NHTSA estimates reduced stopping distances save approximately 227 lives and more than $169 million in property damage from accidents per year.
“Braking is one of those technologies where you don’t understand its full capabilities until you need it,” Ganaway says. “That’s why we spend a lot of time educating our [customers] and making sure they know what to ask for when ordering replacement parts.”
“We can save lives with this technology,” adds Fabio Jurchaks, director of sales and engineering, NAFTA at TMD Friction. “That’s one place where we’ve really tried to educate fleets; they need to be very conscious about the friction formulas they spec’ [in the aftermarket]. Spending a few cents more can ensure the truck always stops when it should.”
Today’s heavy-duty brake and friction manufacturers all offer RSD compliant aftermarket brake products designed specifically to meet the needs of safety and performance-focused fleets.
Simply put, turning to an inferior aftermarket component after using RSD technology compromises a tractor’s braking performance.
“When truck operators ask which part they should use, our district sales managers always reply, ‘Purchase the exact same part spec’ that came with the vehicle from the factory,’” says Craig Frohock, vice president, aftermarket and trailer at Meritor. “A component that ‘just fits’ a given make and model may not necessarily meet the customer’s need for performance, longevity and, especially, value.”