Although tow bars are essential equipment for aircraft emergencies, tow bar maintenance is often overlooked. Just like with any other piece of equipment, tow bars should have a brief daily inspection and routinely scheduled thorough maintenance in order to ensure full functionality. Because there are many types of tow bars, it’s best to at least become familiar with some of the more common tow bar parts to ensure inspection goes smoothly.
Shear pins should be one of the first parts to be inspected because they carry the majority of the load when the aircraft is being pushed or towed. They are designed to have a breaking point, reducing the possibility of damage to the aircraft in the event of too much strain. The pins should be removed and checked for any sign of stress, indents, cracks, or other irregularities. The pin should be immediately replaced if any signs of strain are observed.
The head mechanism includes many moving parts which should be inspected on a regular basis. Each moving part should be carefully inspected and checked for lubrication. Improper lubrication can lead to premature wear and tear.
The tow bar body should be inspected regularly for any cracks. If any damage is observed, it should be taken to a certified welder for repairs following proper protocols and procedures. If there is any other severe damage to the body, the unit should be taken out to be serviced or replaced right away. Continued use will only result in further complications.
The wheels are typically not something that you might consider as needing inspections. The wheels have specific parts which could inhibit movement, so it’s important to make sure the lug nuts are tightened and checked for any cracks on the wheel. If any irregularities are noticed, it should be brought to attention and remedied.
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