Required Components to Check During Pre-Trip Inspection on a Truck
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and state agencies have specific regulations regarding the components that drivers must check during a pre-trip inspection. These components include:
1. Body and Structures: Check for any loose panels, damaged bumpers, or other visible defects that could affect safety.
2. Brakes: Drivers must check the brakes during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are working correctly. They should check the brake pedal, air pressure, brake lines, hoses, and drums or discs for wear and damage.
3. Tires: Drivers must check the tires during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are in good condition and correctly inflated. They should check for punctures, cuts, and other damage, as well as the tread depth and wear patterns.
4. Lights: Drivers must check the lights during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are working correctly. They should check the headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights.
5. Horn: Drivers must check the horn during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that it is working correctly.
6. Steering: Drivers must check the steering during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that it is working correctly. They should check the steering wheel, steering column, and steering linkage for damage or wear.
7. Windshield Wipers: The driver must check the windshield wipers and washers to ensure that they are in good working condition.
8. Mirrors: Drivers must check the mirrors during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are correctly adjusted and secure.
9. Coupling Devices: Drivers must check the coupling devices during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are secure and in good condition.
10. Emergency Equipment: Drivers must check the emergency equipment during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that it is present and in good condition. This includes items such as spare fuses, triangles, and fire extinguishers.
11. Brake Check: The driver must perform a brake check to ensure that the brakes are functioning properly.
Additional Items to Check During Pre-Trip Inspection on a Truck
1. Exhaust and Fuel Systems: Drivers must check the exhaust and fuel systems during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are functioning correctly. They should check the exhaust system for leaks, damage, and proper mounting, and check the fuel system for leaks, damage, and proper connections.
2. Battery and electrical system: Check the battery terminals for any signs of corrosion and ensure that the battery is securely fastened in its bracket. Check the wiring for damage or loose connections.
3. Wheels and Wheel Lug Nuts: Drivers must check the wheels and wheel lug nuts during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that they are in good condition and properly secured. They should check the wheels for cracks, rust, or other damage, and check the lug nuts to ensure that they are tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.
4. Suspension: Drivers must check the suspension during a pre-trip inspection to ensure that it is in good condition and functioning correctly. They should check the springs, shock absorbers, and other components for wear, damage, or leaks.
5. Driveline/Driveshaft: Visually inspect the drive shaft for any signs of damage or wear, including dents, cracks, or missing components. Also, check for any loose or missing bolts or other fasteners that secure the drive shaft to the transmission and rear axle.
6. Tug Test: Drivers must ensure the trailer is securely attached to the truck by performing a tug test. A tug test is a method used by truck drivers to ensure that the trailer brakes are functioning correctly, and the trailer is securely attached to the truck. It involves applying the trailer brakes and moving the truck forward slowly and pulling against the trailer brakes.
Adopt a Systematic Approach When Conducting a Pre-Trip Inspection
The order in which a driver performs a pre-trip safety inspection can vary depending on their personal preference and the specific requirements of their company or organization. However, here is a suggested order for performing a pre-trip safety inspection:
1. Start with the truck’s exterior. This includes checking the tires, wheels, brakes, lights, exhaust and other important safety features.
2. Move on to the trailer, if applicable. Check the trailer’s tires, wheels, brakes, lights, other safety features and cargo. Also, perform a tug test to ensure that the trailer is properly connected to the truck.
3. Check the hitch/coupling device to ensure that it is secure and functioning correctly.
4. Check the truck’s engine compartment, including the oil, fluids, belts, hoses, and other components.
5. Perform in-cab checks, including checking the seatbelts, gauges and instruments, mirrors, horn, windshield wipers and washers, and emergency equipment.
6. Finally, perform a brake test to ensure that the brake system is functioning correctly.
Some drivers may prefer to perform the brake test and tug test at the end of the sequence as a final check to ensure that the trailer is securely attached, and the brake system is functioning correctly.
By following logical and consistent order, drivers can ensure that they cover all the important safety features and equipment logically and efficiently. However, it is important to note that the order can be adjusted as needed based on the driver’s personal preference and the specific requirements of their company or organization. The key is to perform a thorough pre-trip safety inspection every time before starting a journey to ensure the safety of the driver, passengers, and other road users.
Tools Required for a Pre-Trip Inspection
Performing a pre-trip inspection requires specific tools to ensure that you can inspect all parts and components of the truck. Here are some essential tools you should have on hand:
1. Flashlight: A flashlight is essential for inspecting the truck’s underside and hard-to-reach areas, such as the engine compartment.
2. Tire Pressure Gauge: A tire pressure gauge is necessary to check the tire pressure accurately. Incorrect tire pressure can impact handling and fuel efficiency.
3. Coolant Tester: A coolant tester is used to check the condition of the coolant. Coolant is essential for regulating engine temperature, and the wrong type or condition can cause engine damage.
4. Brake Adjustment Tool: A brake adjustment tool is used to adjust the brakes on the trailer.
If there is a Fault, Defect or Deficiency
If you discover that the truck is unsafe during a pre-trip inspection, you should take immediate action to address the issue before starting your journey. Here are some steps that you can take if they discover that their truck is unsafe:
1. Report the Issue: Inform your supervisor, dispatcher, or maintenance department about the issue. This will help ensure that the necessary repairs are made promptly.
2. Stop using the Truck: If the issue is serious enough to pose an immediate safety risk, such as faulty brakes, it may be necessary to stop using the truck until the issue is resolved.
3. Address the Issue: Work with the maintenance department or a qualified mechanic to address the issue. This may involve repairing or replacing faulty equipment or systems.
4. Reinspect the Truck: Once the issue has been resolved, perform a follow-up pre-trip safety inspection to ensure that all equipment and systems are functioning correctly.
5. Document the Issue: Keep a record of the issue and the steps taken to address it. This can help to demonstrate a commitment to safety and compliance with regulations.
It is important for drivers to always prioritise safety and take immediate action if they discover any issues during a pre-trip safety inspection. By doing so, they can help to prevent accidents and promote safe driving practices.