We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Telma Retarder?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A Telma retarder is a type of auxiliary brake that can be fitted to a vehicle to handle much of its braking needs. Such brakes can be installed on light to heavy vehicles that experience frequent stop-and-go traffic like garbage trucks, buses, and fire equipment. They do not replace the service brakes on the vehicle, but reduce wear and tear on the original braking system to keep the vehicle running smoothly for a longer period of time. A technician can install Telma retarders on a vehicle and test them to make sure they are operational.

These brakes operate frictionlessly, a departure from traditional drum or rotor brakes. When a vehicle is in motion, two rotors move harmlessly past each other, allowing the wheels to freely rotate. When the operator applies the brake, it generates an electromagnetic field that pulls the rotors against one another to slow the vehicle. The Telma retarder can be used in a variety of conditions, and may replace service brakes for a substantial component of the time.

Telma is a specific brand name; other companies make other versions of retarder brakes for a variety of vehicles. Auxiliary brakes like a Telma retarder help prevent dangerous situations caused by brake failure. Heavy equipment is hard to stop with conventional brakes, and the brakes may see considerable wear and tear while the vehicle is in service. There is a risk that the operator might feel for the brake while going down an incline or in an emergency and get an inadequate response because the brakes are so worn.

The eddy current system used with these brakes can take some getting used to for drivers. Operators may need special instruction in how and when to apply the braking system to get the best effects and reduce the risk of injuries. As with other braking systems, regular maintenance is critical. The brakes are most safe and effective when they are properly maintained and regularly checked for any signs of problems that might pose a threat to drivers or passengers.

A service technician can evaluate a vehicle to determine if a Telma retarder would be a good fit. If it is not, other retarder brakes may be available and could be used for similar effect. Telma retarder distributors have their own personnel who can provide assistance with installation, service, and education for drivers who want to learn how to use the system safely.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
By Soulfox — On Jul 23, 2014

@Markerrag -- I can remember growing up and hearing about vehicles full of families getting crushed by big vehicles with brakes that failed on those mountain highways.

The Telma retarder and other clever braking systems may not sound exciting, but the things have saved a lot of lives. Thank goodness for them.

By Markerrag — On Jul 22, 2014

These are also great for heavy vehicles that go long distances down deep grades. There was a time, not long ago, when the service brakes that came on big vehicles were the things that kept them from stopping. Those proved to be only so-so for slowing big vehicles down on steep grades because one could burn through them fairly quickly under heavy use.

You can still see a lot of those mountain highways with special ramps on hills for runaway vehicles. The scary thing is those used to be necessary. They aren't needed so much anymore and that is a good thing.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.