by Chad Westfall

When it comes to towing, brakes are key role in how safe the truck is. Generally when we are towing a trailer, they are loaded down with thousands of pounds that tend to test the brakes on the truck.

Over the years the OEM’s have increased their load ratings substantially to the point where some 1 ton trucks require a commercial license to actually tow what the truck is capable of. As the weight of the trailer increases, the driver’s driving style needs to change to compensate for the extra momentum all of that mass has.

It used to be that people who towed a lot, opted for a manual transmission in order to better control the gearing and thus, use a lot of engine braking. What has happened over the years, as more and more automatic transmissions have gotten better, is that people aren’t buying manuals. In fact, there are OEM’s that don’t even offer a manual anymore.

Sure, automatic transmissions are doing a better job at downshifting and using the engine to slow the vehicle down, but you generally still need to be on the brakes. One way to get around riding your brakes for an extended period of time, is to install an exhaust brake.

Exhaust brakes are, basically, exhaust waste gates (much more sophisticated) that block the exhaust from exiting the exhaust system. By blocking the exhaust, pressure gets built up between the turbo to the exhaust brake.

Once the turbo starts backing up, the exhaust manifold backs up and then the pressure in the cylinder stays high. As the pressure in the cylinder stays high, it acts like a force against the piston, slowing down the piston.

As the pistons slow down, the vehicle slows down. This is an old technology that was developed many, many years ago to help over the road truckers reduce their maintenance costs and make the trucks safer. Today, systems have gotten much more sophisticated, but to the end user, they work basically the same.

After a system is installed, they are relatively maintenance free, but they also, reduce the maintenance on your truck by reducing wear and tear on your brakes.

We, recently, came across one of our partner’s sales and figured we would pass along the info. Pacbrake is currently offering $250 off one of their PRXB exhaust brake kits through the end of this month.

Pacbrake has been around for over 50 years and they have been producing and refining their auxiliary brakes since then. They are well known for being a leader in this market and they don’t run sales very often.

If you are interested, check out their page today.