Every professional truck trailer driver is required to do a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle whether it is bobtail or it's a tractor-trailer combination. It is a compulsory verification process of the truck and the trailer’s condition.
First, it is required by law and, secondly, it prevents acquiring tickets, saves you and your company’s time and money by preventing sudden breakdowns, and ensures the public safety on the road.
Shortly, a pre-trip inspection is a tool that helps the driver to ensure that the truck is in a roadworthy condition.
So, if you want you to want to have a good driver record follow a truck trailer inspection checklist to check each part of your truck.
The trailer truck inspection checklist
Documentation and Stickers
Your truck will require a variety of documentation, stickers, and licenses depending on your area. These will include:
- Valid license plate.
- Maximum loaded weight of the complete unit or Gross Vehicle Weight.
- Truck weight only (TARE weight).
- The condition the wheels and tires. They should not have cuts, damages, or open cords.
- The tire pressure. If the tire’s PSI level is below 20% then the tire is considered flat and it should be replaced. In the case of dual tires, the PSI level shouldn’t be below 10% PSI of each tire.
- Check if no external object stuck in the tire rubber.
- Check if the valve caps are well-secured.
- Check if the tire has proper tread depth.
- Check for tire cuts and bulges in the sidewalls.
- Ensure that the wheel lug nuts are well mounted.
Vehicle breaks condition
- Always check brake adjustments when brakes are cold. Stroke measurements will be longer when brakes are hot due to heat expansion of the brake drum.
- While the wheel is off the ground, check the brakes, if there are any.
- Check the breaks on all the axles of the vehicle.
- Drain the water from the inside hoses of the air tanks to prevent the rod of the air break system.
- Check the mirrors for tightness and proper alignment.
- Ensure wipers are properly installed with spring attached and rubber that is in good condition.
- Inspect the windshield for cracks or chips.
- Check that door handles and latches are secure.
- Note all problems or repairs.
Check the components of the engine
Ensure each piece of the engine is properly attached.
This should include checking the:
- Steering column.
- Tie rods.
- Leaf springs.
- Wiring harness.
- Check for cracks in the frame or inside of the hood.
- Clean or replace the air filter.
- Brake pad and hoses.
- Engine mount bolts.
- Fan belt.
Tow hitch check
- Check if the hitch is well lubricated.
- Make sure there is no wear on all the parts.
Trailer and Connections
- Check the trailer and truck frame for cracks, missing bolts, loose supports, rust, or other signs of failing structural integrity.
- Secure hanging objects and landing gear.
- Check lights.
- Check reflectors.
- Check reflective tape.
- Ensure license plate is clean and legible.
- Check license plate light.
Trailer lights and wiring
- Check if the truck and trailer lights lenses are not too dusty. If so, clean them up.
- Check if the wires and connections are good and clean.
Check the liquids on the truck
- Steering fluids.
- Washer Fluid.
- Ensure vehicle displays required fuel stickers.
- Check fuel levels visually.
Always ensure your vehicle is well stocked with necessary spare parts including:
- Open-ended wrenches.
- Air brake parts such as fittings and airbrake antifreeze.
- Before each trip ensure the fifth wheel is greased.
- Free of cracks or missing bolts.
- Tight and secure.
- You have visually checked that the jaws are closed.
The truck trailer is legally required to have operational signal lights while on the road. To prevent tickets or delays, check each light before setting out.
Check the following:
- Head lamps.
- Running lamps.
- Signal lamps.
- Clearance marker lamps.
- Back-up lamps.
- Hi-low beam indicator.
- All reflectors.