86 VRS slams brakes on wait times

Challil Kessler, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron shop supervisor (left) and Senior Airman Jacob Croushore, 86 VRS vehicle mechanic, prepare to conduct a brake test on a 86th Security Forces Squadron vehicle at Ramstein Air Base, Jan. 7.

The 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron implemented a new innovative brake testing system that saves time and ensures the safety of military and local national vehicles.

“The primary goal of our new brake testing system is to provide a means to show that we have safe braking systems on all of our vehicles before they leave the shop,” said Senior Airman Jacob Croushore, 86th VRS vehicle mechanic. “This new test allows us to do that in an efficient way and we get vehicles back to their units more quickly.”

Prior to acquiring the new brake testing system, it took approximately 30 minutes to test the brakes for one vehicle. The new system allows the 86th VRS to run a full brake diagnostic in less than five minutes.

“We used to have to drive all the vehicles to another location on Ramstein to test their brakes, sometimes delaying our task, but now we can stay in our shop,” said Challil Kessler, 86th VRS shop supervisor. “Our mechanics are more productive when we have the necessary tools available to them in house.”

With the extra time saved from this new innovation, Airmen are able to inspect more vehicles and complete additional tasks, ultimately allowing for shorter waiting periods for their customers.

Challil Kessler, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron shop supervisor, demonstrates the diagnostic read out of the new 86th VRS brake testing system at Ramstein Air Base, Jan. 7. The new system saves 86th VRS mechanics 25 minutes per vehicle and a total of 300 man-hours annually. 

“We’re allotted a certain amount of money each year for tools and equipment, so we requested funds for the new brake testing system, because we knew it would greatly benefit our shop and every squadron at Ramstein,” Croushore said.

The new system allows 86th VRS mechanics to test the shocks, wheel alignment; front, rear, and parking brakes of each vehicle, all in less than five minutes.

“This new system saves us about 25 minutes per vehicle, which reduces our labor overall, saving us around seven man-hours per week, 25 man-hours per month, and 300 man-hours annually,” Croushore said.

The new brake testing system is widely used throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community. All of the 86th VRS mechanics are trained on how to properly use the system as well as understand the diagnostics readings, which allows the 86th VRS to place Airmen in any auto shop, without having to retrain them on a multitude of tasks and equipment.

“This new brake testing system costs approximately $13,400, but with the amount of man-power it saves, and with our ability to quick-turn vehicles back to their squadrons, it pays for itself,” Kessler said.