Ensuring the safety of everyone on our roads is a big concern for trucking companies, drivers, and fleet managers alike. Regular pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the vehicles can go a very long way in this endeavor. So, how to conduct a proper pre-trip inspection and post-trip inspection?
First up – Why are they important?
More specifically, all drivers of commercial trailers, tractors, and trucks with a gross weight of over 4.5 tonnes must carry out a daily Schedule one pre-trip inspection. This involves conducting a thorough check of the vehicle, ensuring that everything is in working order. The goal of a pre-trip inspection is to detect and report any malfunctions, defects, and other safety concerns.
A daily post-trip inspection is also equally important and, more crucially, required by the law. If done correctly, it’ll give the operator and shop an opportunity to address any defect or safety concerns that have been identified before the vehicle hits the road on the next trip.
Identifying and remedying problems with thorough vehicle inspections can help commercial trucking companies and drivers avoid costly HTA violations, which often result in hefty fines and lawsuits. Aside from complying with the law, they also help cut vehicle downtimes and reduce the frequency of out-of-service repairs.
Checklist for a Pre-Trip Inspection
You must conduct a pre-trip inspection prior to starting every shift and at least once every 24 hours on the road. This should take 20-50 minutes.
1. Check outside the vehicle
Even if you’re the only person driving the truck and it ran perfectly on the last load, it still important to inspect it before you hit the road. Tire pressure, the vehicle lights, engine compartment, brakes, chassis, fuel tanks, and trailer connections are some of the items you’ll want to check.
- Check exhaust unit for leaks.
- Check the fuel tank area, making sure there are no leaks.
- Inspect all windows and mirrors, ensuring they’re secured and free of damage.
- Inspect every wheel fastener and hub; they should all be leak-free, undamaged, and properly secured.
- Inspect all tires, including the sidewalls & treads, for wear or damage. There should be no air leakage, flat, or exposed cords.
- Make sure all cargo is undamaged and properly secured with securement devices and load covering.
- Check all doors (sleeper, cab & compartment); they should all open & lock securely.
- Check all reflectors and lamps.
- Check suspension system for spring leaf, broken/loose/missing fasteners, or air leaks.
- Check coupling devices for missing, broken, or loose fasteners.
- Identify and report any general vehicle deterioration, defects, or damage.
2. Vehicle interior
- Check the driver’s seat for any malfunction or damage; it should be adjustable and remain in position. The seat belt should be secure and can be fastened.
- Check the cargo body and frame for sagging, shifting, or any other sign of damage.
- Make sure the horn is in proper working order.
- Ensure the defroster or heater is functioning properly.
- Ensure safety equipment and emergency devices are undamaged and accessible.
3. Tractor-trailer controls
- Ensure windshield wipers are performing correctly and there are NO damaged/missing blades
- Ensure headlights are performing properly, including brake lamps, turn signals, tail lamps, and low beams
- Ensure the air brake system is working, making note of any air pressure loss, air leaks, or non-working emergency/parking/service brakes
- Ensure the parking brake is performing correctly
- Ensure the steering wheel is functioning properly, secure, and has a normal wheel lash range
- Ensure all driver controls are in working order, including indicators, gauges, clutch, and accelerator
Checklist for a Post-Trip Inspection
A post-trip inspection is similar to a pre-trip in almost all aspects, but you must fill out a Detailed Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). At a minimum, this will cover the following components and parts:
- Emergency devices
- Wheel & rims
- Coupling devices
- Rear-vision mirrors
- Windshield and wipers
- Tires (including threads and sidewalls)
- The steering system
- Reflectors, lamps, and other lighting devices
- The braking system – service, parking, emergency brakes
Note, however, that intermodal equipment post-inspections call for additional steps.
If you have questions about the pre- or post-trip inspection of your vehicle, contact our Safety Manager: tel. 416-907-8101 ext. 5