The pre- and post-trip inspections are a normal part of the truck driving job. Experienced drivers know that there are certain things they have to check as a matter of regulation, and other things that are checked just because it makes good sense. We remind our drivers to make basic, routine inspections part of every trip.
While there are over 100 parts that need to be inspected, in this post we want to address three areas: lights, tires, and fluid leaks. These are fundamental to the basic equipment check because they also tend to be the most common areas where problems arise. Keeping track of these three things goes a long way toward keeping your truck on the road.
Inspecting the Lights
Lights on both tractors and trailers need to be inspected prior to beginning your journey. It is also a good idea to check them after every break. Keep in mind that a basic check shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete. There really is no good reason to not check the basics, especially the lights.
Most late-model trucks have a switch in the cab design specifically for testing the lights. Flipping the switch causes all the lights on the rig to blink. You can then walk around the truck to make sure everything is functioning properly. Stand in front of the truck and observe headlights, turn signals, etc. Then walk to one side, to the back, and then up the other side.
In addition to making sure all bulbs are actually blinking, check to make sure headlights and tail lights are not cracked. If you do have a cracked lens, get it taken care of before you hit the road.
Inspecting the Tires
Inspecting your tires is a matter of looking for proper tread depth and any signs of wear. Tire inflation is also a concern. Stand at the front of the truck after you have checked for wear and tread depth; standing back far enough to notice any leaning. A leaning rig may be the result of one or more tires not having enough air.
Obviously, never hit the road if there are any questions about your tires. It only takes one blown tire to create huge problems. If the police ever stop you for a roadside inspection that reveals tires you shouldn’t be driving on, you could be cited. Tires in extremely poor condition are even reason to park your truck.
Checking for Fluid Leaks
Checking for fluid leaks is a simple matter of bending over and looking underneath the cab of your truck. Why do this? Because leaking fluids indicate there’s a problem under the hood. The sooner such problems are identified and fixed, the easier it is to avoid serious damage to critical engine components.
Any leaked fluids underneath your truck could indicate you have a problem with your transmission, engine oil, cooling or any of the hydraulic systems built into your rig. As a side note, you should never drive a truck that is leaking fluids. Get things checked out instead.
Complete Your Inspection Reports
Each of the three items listed above should be noted on your pre- and post-trip inspection report. These reports are critical for ensuring that maintenance staff take care of any issues you might have before you get back on the road and to ensure your truck is it the best condition to keep you safe out there.
The whole point of pre- and post-trip inspections is to make sure your truck is as safe as it can be whenever it is rolling down the highway. That’s why inspections are part of the truck driving job.