Top Tips For Studying for the Air Brakes Test
Why Should I Get My Air Brakes Endorsement?
If you're looking into getting your commercial driver’s license, you may discover that the general knowledge test isn't the only test you need to take if you want a full Class A license. In many states, failing the air brakes test means that you get a restriction placed on your license. This restriction keeps you from driving trucks with air brakes, and as more fleets move to newer trucks, a growing number of trucks do come equipped with air brakes.
Adequately preparing for and passing the air brakes test is the only way to get this restriction off of your license and be free to drive any vehicle in your license class.
Keep in mind that removing restrictions and adding endorsements can be good for your career. Truck driving job openings may swell 5% between 2014 and 2024, and the average salary in this field is an impressive $39,520 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). To qualify for as many openings as possible, you need to have as few restrictions as you can.
Whether you're taking the air brakes test for the first time or retaking it, the process is the same. Learn more about what to expect below and give our practice test a try.
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How Should I Study for My Air Brakes Endorsement?
There are two ways you have to study for your air brakes test. You must study for the written test, which is typically administered first, and you must be ready for the practical test.
Although the general knowledge is the same from state to state, each state creates its own tests and focuses on different information. For that reason, you should make your state's CDL manual your biggest resource during your study time.
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department covers the following topics in their air brakes section:
• Components of an air brake system
• Dual air brake systems
• Inspecting air brake systems
• Using air brakes safely
For the practical exam, you must be able to safely drive a vehicle with air brakes. If you are taking your initial commercial driving test, this is part of your road test. If you do not test for your license in a vehicle with air brakes, you cannot get the restriction removed from your license (FMCSA, 2016).
Requirements for Air Brakes Endorsement
As noted, air brakes is one of the few endorsements or restrictions that requires you to take a skills test. If you get your CDL first and then go back to remove your restriction, you need to complete an additional skills test in a vehicle with air brakes. Since this is a federal requirement, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia require both a written test and a skills test.
Fees vary from state to state; the Department of Driver Services of Georgia charges $5.00 (2016). The Oregon Department Of Motor Vehicles charges $10 for the written test and $56 for the practical test (2016).
Passing the air brakes test when you first get your commercial driver’s license is probably the quickest way to move this restriction from your license, since it saves you from having to take a second road test. For that reason, you may want to ensure that you have access to a vehicle with air brakes for your road test. In addition, make sure that you feel completely comfortable using air brakes by the time you finish your trucking course. They are completely different from hydraulic brakes, and your road test may involve using them multiple times in different situations.
Start getting a feel for air brakes and this endorsement with a practice test. It's a great way to find out what you still need to study and how you can improve.