How ExhaustBrakes Work

Exhaust brakes are used to slow a diesel truck with less wear on the actual brake system. Exhaust brakes are used in any and all conditions but are most helpful while traveling in hilly terrain and while towing heavy loads. They help to reduce brake overheating, brake fade and increase the lifespan of the brake components. We’ll take a look at how an exhaust brake works below.


Most commonly exhaust brakes are installed on the outlet side of a turbo on a diesel engine. The most simple way to put it is that an exhaust brake holds pressure in the diesel engine which slows the crankshaft and in turn slows the truck. A butterfly type valve is what closes when activated and restricts the diesel exhaust from flowing out. Most units come with an on/off switch should you decide not to use the exhaust brake for performance or low wear conditions.


Exhaust Brakes should not be confused with engine brakes or jake brakes which use a pressure released system for exhaust to escape which cause the loud blat-blat-blat noise you often hear from semis on the interstate. Jake Brakes have been outlawed in a lot of areas because of the loud disturbing noise. Exhaust brakes make no additional noise and are legal to use anywhere anytime.