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Tips for Pre-Trip Inspections

Great Tips for Your Trucking Inspection

The pre-trip inspection is one of the most important parts of any drive. If you get stopped or your vehicle gets inspected, you want to know that you thoroughly checked every single part of your vehicle before hitting the road. Since a pre-trip inspection can take a long time, it’s important to have a process that you can trust. Follow these tips to avoid common errors and overlooked parts of the inspection.

Check the Wheels

It’s easy to skip parts of the wheel inspection, which can lead to untimely delays when you start driving. Before you start the CDL pre-trip test and inspection, chock the wheels. With how much you’ll be moving around the truck, you do not want the wheels to start moving. When your wheels are secure, check the lug nuts and tighten them if needed.

Under the Hood

There’s a lot that can go wrong under the hood of your truck, so spend a lot of time on this part of the CDL pre-trip inspection.

  • Check all of the fluid levels, including power steering fluid, coolant, oil, windshield wiper fluid, and fuel. If something’s leaking, it requires further investigation. If levels are low, top them off.
  • Tighten all caps and covers.
  • Inspect the engine block. There should be no fraying, cracking, or wear on the engine hoses. Look for any leaks and figure out their source.
  • Look at the steering axle tires and check for uneven wear, nails, and other issues.
  • Inspect ball joints, shock absorbers, and king pins to ensure that all parts are properly lubricated.

Check Reflectors and Lights

Most people remember to check their lights during a pre-trip inspection, but few remember their reflectors (BigRoad, 2016).

Defective reflectors can be very dangerous when driving at night. In addition, having one or more reflectors out on your vehicle can lead to a ticket. While checking your reflectors, take a look at the reflective strips on your vehicle and make sure that they are in good condition.

Fluids, Mounted Components, and Bolts

If you are a new trucking student, you might be overwhelmed by all of the different components that you have to check during an inspection. If so, remember these that cover the vast majority of an inspection (C1 Training, 2016):

  • Make sure all fluids are within normal levels and not leaking
  • Check all mounted components; make sure they are mounted correctly and secure.
  • If a component has bolts, check each bolt to ensure that it is tight.

Cab Interior, Paperwork, and Seatbelts

While inspecting the mechanical parts of your vehicle, don’t forget the interior. Early warning signs are often indicated on your dashboard, and cleanliness is one of the first areas that inspectors check. Keep the cab clean and tidy. Don’t leave items loose to roll around on the floor. Make sure the seatbelts in the cab are in good condition, not fraying or wearing thin. Double-check your binders for all of your necessary paperwork.

Take Your Time

Throughout the entire inspection, don’t be afraid to take your time. Whether you’re taking your CDL pre-trip test or doing a standard pre-trip check, it is better to be too cautious than to rush through an inspection. This part of the driving process is all about safety—take a deep breath, take as much time as you need, and don’t drive until you are confident that your truck is in perfect driving condition.

The CDL pre-trip check is one of the most essential parts of any drive. With these tips, you can make sure that your truck is ready for the trip ahead of you.