What to look for in a pre-trip inspection? 

Inspector looking at chart

Pre-trip inspections are extremely important to keep you and our roads safe. As a truck driver you are required by law to check your tractor and trailer at the start of every trip, and every 24 hours. 

A good Pre-Trip inspection allows you to fix any problem before heading out on the road. This inspection allows you to identify safety concerns, save money on repairs, limit downtime, and reduce liability for you and your truck company.  All vehicle inspections have to be documented on the driver’s vehicle inspection report. If anything, unsafe is discovered during the pre-trip inspection, it must be fixed immediately. Follow these steps when doing your pre-trip inspection:  

  • Review the last driver’s DVIR and confirm any repairs needed were done. As the truck driver, you need to go over the last driver’s vehicle inspection report to verify that any pending repairs were done. If the truck didn’t need any repairs, you don’t have to worry about that, but if the defects were not listed by an authorized person, you shouldn’t drive the vehicle until the repairs are made.  
  • Verify that the truck’s documentation complies with DOT requirements. For this part, you must confirm that you have all the documents needed, from shipping papers to insurance cards, registration, and any additional documents the DOT requires. 
  • Conduct a general overview of the truck following the pre-inspection checklist, which includes:
    • Engine compartment: check all the fluids, and confirm there aren’t any leaks. Go over belts, pulleys, AC compressor, alternator, and hoses.  
    • Front of the tractor: linkage tires, slack adjusters, pushrod, steering box, among other things.  
    • Driver/fuel area: mirrors, doors, fuel tank, and cap. 
    • Rear of Tractor and Coupling system: driveshaft, catwalk, frame, locking pins, fifth wheel, mounting bolts, among other aspects to review.  
    • Side of Trailers: landing gear, release pins tires, slack adjusters, chambers, drums and brake shoes, pushrod, and hoses.
    • Trailer Suspension: joints, shock absorbers, airbags, and mounts. 
    • Lights and Reflectors: lights working properly. 
    • Engine Start-in cab: safety belt, wipers, mirrors, horn, parking and service brake check, safety emergency equipment, lighting indicators.   

This is a general overview of the different pieces that form a pre-trip inspection. Although it’s extra work, you don’t want to overlook this crucial part of your trucking journey. You want to ensure you have a safe truck to drive before you hit the road.  

We hope this helps you prepare for your next pre-trip inspection!