The Ins and Outs of Pre-Trip Inspections

Rushing through your pre-trip inspection to get on the road can cause you to miss issues that lead to breakdowns and costly repairs. Taking the time to conduct a thorough inspection will help you protect yourself and other drivers. Developing a routine so that every inspection is completed the same each and every time will help you more easily identify when something isn’t correct.

Check the Exterior

Pre-trip inspections are required whenever drivers switch trucks, or at least every 24 hours. Start with a visual assessment of the outside of the truck and trailer. Check for:

  • Dirty or broken lights
  • Leaking fluids
  • Underinflated tires with low tread
  • Wheel and rim damage
  • Mismatched license plates
  • Damage to coupling components

Pop the Hood

It’s crucial to check parts and systems under the hood, too. Record any damage or problems you find and any repairs you make in the Daily Vehicle Inspection Report.

Check fluid levels: Oil, antifreeze/coolant and washer fluid should be topped off to help your vehicle operate properly.

Belts and hoses: Check belts for proper tension, excess wear, as well as cracks or tears. Hoses should be free from bulges and abrasions. Hose clamps should be tight. Look for any signs of leaks.

Caps and dipsticks: Verify that all caps are tightened and that the engine oil, transmission and power steering dipsticks are secure and undamaged before each trip.

Wiring and connections: Check all connections – including battery cables – for fraying or corrosion.

Let It Idle

After checking under the hood, starting up your truck to listen for ticking, squealing and other noises that indicate a problem with your vehicle.

  • Read the gauges and test the clutch while your engine idles.
  • Test the brakes and emergency brake while driving forward and in reverse.
  • Check the brake shoes for excess wear and tear.
  • Test your lights and flashers.
  • Make sure the horn, windshield wipers, heat/AC and seatbelts are in working order.

Do You Have All Your Supplies?

Paperwork: Check the cab card for your permits, registration and other paperwork, like your medical card and CDL. Verify the load in your trailer with the bill before you hit the road.

Emergency equipment: Do you have your reflective triangles, fire extinguishers and extra fuses?

Tools and other supplies: Keep hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and wire and cable cutters handy. Extra chains, bungee cords, and load straps will keep your load safe while traveling. It’s also a good idea to store extra fluids, like oil and windshield wiper fluid in the truck.

Service provider locations: Do know where service providers are located in the territory where you are driving to minimize any downtime when the situation arises?

Bauer Built’s expert technicians provide a wide variety of mechanical services that will keep your fleet running smoothly. Schedule service at any of our convenient locations across the Midwest.

Categories: Bauer Built Blog, Car Care Tips