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CDL pre-trip inspections are critical to staying safe on the roads. During these inspections, truckers check on multiple aspects of the vehicle, including overall safety, major parts of the truck, and emergency equipment. Commercial drivers are required to inspect their truck and trailer every 24 hours while on the road and record the inspection. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your truck is safe for operation and defect free.
Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) § 396.11, a driver inspection report is required for commercial trucks and should cover at a minimum:
Further, Section § 396.13 offers further regulations that must be met with a CDL pre-trip inspection, ensuring that the vehicle is safe to drive and to prevent accidents resulting from vehicle defects.
Although these inspections are required by law, this preventative step is still a best practice as there may be a repairable defect to fix then and there. This is a favorable scenario compared to a vehicle breakdown that derails the driver from delivering or picking up your loads and forces costly roadside towing and repairs.
The Value of a CDL Pre-Trip Inspection
Your pre-trip inspection should take around 15-20 minutes. For the inspection to be thorough, you should take your time. Work your way through the list systematically so that you don’t forget anything. By inspecting your vehicle meticulously, you are also less likely to get any CSA violations. Finding a problem before an inspector does is always the better outcome. While you may have reservations about the time it takes to complete your inspection––time that could be spent on the road––it’s best to see the value of an inspection as being proactive in the care and maintenance of your truck.
Five Primary Parts of a CDL Pre-Trip Inspection
To further delve into the areas that need to be inspected, you should focus on five primary parts as defined in the CDL Pre-Trip Inspection Manual:
Engine components + 1 axle:
Side and back of truck + 1 axle:
Connections and trailers + 1 axle:
External light check:
As you make your way around the vehicle during, you must also inspect the brakes, tires, and wheel end components. This involves looking under the vehicle at the back side of the wheels to check for brake shoe thickness, leaks at the wheel seal, low tread on the duals, or damage to the wheels. These are glaring issues that are flagged frequently for Department of Transportation violations.
As one of the largest commercial tire dealers and retread manufacturers in the U.S., Bauer Built has been delivering services to commercial fleets since 1944 and can complete your pre-trip inspections and necessary repairs at most of our commercial locations. Today, we have locations in 10 states with almost 600 professionals. Commercial truck drivers and fleet managers have trusted us for over 75 years to provide quality products and service. Learn more about our commercial services today and how we can help you stay safe on the roads.