• Toyota

Toyota Sunnyvale

898 W. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

  • New: 888-402-3667
  • Pre-Owned: 888-210-0091
  • Service: 888-261-4889
  • Parts: 888-699-8729

Why you need Three sets of Brakes on a Truck!


David Coleman
New Car Sales Director

I have been driving trucks my entire life. The first one I drove had a three speed manual transmission that was attached to the steering column. We used to call it a "3 on the tree."

For a long time trucks were anything but sophisticated. They came with "powerful steering and brakes." That meant you needed powerful arms and legs to steer it and to stop it. The brakes were front and rear drums, and if you had a load on the back it might take you as long to stop as it did to get up to speed.

Thank goodness, we have come a long way since then. We now take for granted the amazing engineering advancements that are commonplace in today's cars and trucks. Many of the most significant were first offered on high-end sports cars, such as fuel injection, double overhead cams, and disk brakes. Many of the mainline American brands were among the slowest to adopt these advances, due in large-part to the cost and the reluctance of consumers to embrace "new fangled" devices that they couldn't fix themselves.

Through the wisdom of our government and the lobbying of some great consumer advocates, many of these great features were forced upon the American manufacturers, and we now have some of the safest vehicles in the world, built right-here in the good ole U S of A.

Now I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but with this plethora of new advances, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has asked? do I really need all that?

Well, I guess I do need anti-lock brakes for better stopping in poor traction situations. And I guess I can see the value of air bags, not only in the steering wheel and dash board but in the sides of the seat and the ceiling too.

Here's one that made me ask the question I mentioned above? "three sets of brakes on the Toyota Tundra." My first thought was that if two set were good then three sets would be better, right? But then I started to scratch my head. Where did they put the extra set of brakes? I walked around my truck and could see the front disk brakes and the rear ones. I even laid on my back and looked underneath. Then I decided I'd just ask for directions.

It turns out the incredibly forward thinking engineers at Toyota added an additional set of disk breaks built right into the rear disk. This is a remarkable safety and convenience feature. This feature has been added to overcome an inherit shortcoming in disk brakes when holding heavy loads on a hills or inclines. Disk brakes are susceptible to what's known as "creep." That's when the weight of the loads is too much for the disk to hold, especially when wet or over heated. The additional drum breaks are engaged conveniently and simply, by applying the emergency brake.

I have experienced this "creep" first hand when unloading my boat at the lake in my old GMC. Once those back wheels get wet with river debris they tend to groan and slip ever so slightly while trying to keep my truck out of the lake.

It turns out that while disk brakes are better at stopping a speeding vehicle, they are not so great at holding heavy loads on steep inclines. In these situations drum breaks are superior. The Tundra was the First passenger vehicle to offer this advanced feature. With the extreme weights that trucks are able to tow these days, this is surely a feature that most truck owners should have, especially if they tow anything.

I say this because I have had the unfortunate opportunity to pull a friends truck out of the lake that did not have this feature on his truck. My Tundra not only saved his truck but his trailer as well. Now my friend is starting to think he needs three sets of brakes as well.

Some times you don't know what you need until you don't have it.

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