The hydraulic retarder is an important auxiliary braking device for the heavy vehicle, which has some characteristics, such as the big brake torque and long duration braking, when the vehicle is traveling in braking state. However, the transmission power loss will be produced when the vehicle is traveling in non-braking state. This transmission power loss is called Air-friction.Firstly, the air flow distribution characteristics of retarder cavity are studied by computational fluid mechanics, and the Air-friction characteristic in different conditions is analyzed. Then, according to the Air-friction characteristics for the condition of different filling density, a set of vacuum air loss reduction system is designed. Meanwhile, the test bench for retarder Air-friction is set up, the test data of the revolution speed, pressure in cavity and air loss resistance is obtained according to the test bench for hydraulic retarder. The feasibility of Air-friction scheme is verified by the test result, and the result is shown that this Air-friction reduction system has good effects on Air-friction reduction under the condition of ensuring the normal braking, and the transmission power loss can reduce 84%.