The Crucial Importance of Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks

Trucks are the backbone of the logistics and transportation industry, and their efficient operation is essential for businesses to succeed. However, to ensure safe and efficient truck operation, regular maintenance and daily pre-start checks are crucial. Conducting pre-start checks is one of the most effective ways to identify potential issues that could lead to accidents, breakdowns, or compliance issues.

Benefits of Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks

Pre-start checklists offer several benefits for truck drivers and fleet managers. By conducting pre-start checks regularly, drivers can identify and address potential issues before they escalate into more significant problems. This can help prevent accidents and breakdowns, reduce downtime, and improve the overall reliability of the fleet. Pre-start checklists can also promote a culture of safety within the organization, demonstrating a commitment to compliance and responsible operation. Furthermore, pre-start checklists can assist fleet managers in monitoring and analysing the condition of their vehicles, identifying trends and patterns in maintenance needs, and making data-driven decisions about repairs and replacements. Overall, pre-start checklists are a valuable tool for ensuring the safety, compliance, and efficiency of truck fleets.

Legal Requirements for Truck Safety

Ensuring that a vehicle is safe prior to entering the road network is a legal requirement in most jurisdictions. In Australia, for example, heavy vehicle operators have a legal obligation to conduct pre-trip inspections and maintain their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition. The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) sets out specific requirements for daily pre-start checks, which must be conducted by the driver or a qualified mechanic. These checks cover a range of safety-critical components, such as brakes, steering, tires, lights, and coupling devices, and failure to conduct them can result in heavy fines and penalties. Furthermore, in the event of an accident, a failure to conduct proper pre-start checks can result in legal liability for the driver and the operator. Therefore, truck drivers and fleet operators must comply with legal requirements regarding pre-start checks to ensure the safety of themselves and other road users and avoid legal and financial consequences.

What Are Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks?

Truck daily pre-start checks are a set of visual and functional inspections conducted before starting a truck’s engine. The checks are designed to ensure that the truck is in good working condition and safe to operate on the road. These checks are mandated by Australian regulations, and failure to conduct them could result in fines, license suspension, or even worse, a catastrophic accident. In addition, regular pre-start checks can help identify and fix minor issues before they become major problems, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

What Should You Check During a Truck Pre-Start Inspection?

The following is a list of checks that you should conduct during a pre-start inspection:

  1. Structure and Body Condition: Panels and readily visible structures are secure.
  2. Lights: Check that all the lights on the truck are functioning correctly, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights.
  3. Tires: Inspect the tires for damage, wear, and correct pressure. Check that the tire tread depth is within legal limits and that there are no bulges or cuts on the tire sidewalls.
  4. Brakes: Check that the brakes are functioning correctly by applying them while driving at low speeds. Check for any unusual noises, vibrations, or pulling to one side.
  5. Fluids: Check the oil, coolant, and brake fluid levels. Top up if necessary.
  6. Engine, Driveline and Exhaust: After starting the vehicle ensure no engine or drivetrain warning lights remain illuminated on the instrument panel.
  7. Mirrors and Windshield: Check that the mirrors are clean and properly adjusted and that the windshield is free from cracks, chips, or other damage.
  8. Steering: Check that the steering wheel turns smoothly and does not make any unusual noises.
  9. Horn: Test the horn to ensure that it is loud enough and functioning correctly.
  10. Couplings: Towbar, drawbar and couplings are securely mounted, and ensure the kingpin is correctly engaged in the fifth wheel jaws and ensure all air-lines, electrical connectors and any ABS/ EBS connectors are correctly attached to the trailer (if applicable).
  11. Emergency Equipment: Check that the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and warning triangles are present and in good condition.

The above list of checks is not exhaustive and the list of checks should be developed from the manufactures requirements, a risk assessment and any compliance or legislative requirements.

How to Conduct Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks

Conducting pre-start checks is easy, and you don’t need any special tools or equipment. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct truck daily pre-start checks:

  1. Park the truck on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
  2. Turn off the engine and remove the key.
  3. Visually inspect the truck’s exterior and check for any visible damage, leaks, or loose parts.
  4. Check the lights, tires, brakes, fluids, mirrors and windshield, steering, horn, and emergency equipment, as outlined in the previous section.
  5. Start the engine and listen for any unusual sounds or vibrations.
  6. Check the gauges to ensure that all are functioning correctly and that there are no warning lights illuminated.
  7. Test the brakes at low speed to ensure they are functioning correctly.
  8. Check the air conditioning and heating system.
  9. Conduct a brief test drive to ensure that the truck is running smoothly and handling correctly.

What to Do if the Truck is Unsafe

If a truck is deemed unsafe during a pre-start check or at any other time, it should be immediately taken out of service until the necessary repairs can be made. It is the responsibility of the driver to identify and report any safety issues to the operator or the person in charge of maintenance, and to ensure that the truck is not operated until the issues have been resolved. Continuing to operate an unsafe truck not only poses a risk to the driver and other road users, but also exposes the operator to legal and financial consequences, including fines, penalties, and liability for accidents or injuries. In addition, drivers who knowingly operate an unsafe truck may face disciplinary action or termination of employment. Therefore, if a safety issue is identified during a pre-start check or at any other time, it is important to take immediate action to address the issue and ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

Below: Digital Truck Daily Pre-Start Checklist by DIGI CLIP mobile forms

Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks / Truck Daily Pre-Trip Checklist

DIGI CLIP mobile forms provide digital safety, compliance & inspections checklists

Digital Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks

While conducting daily pre-start checks manually can be time-consuming and prone to human error, adopting digital checklists can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of pre-start inspections. Digital checklists are becoming increasingly popular in the transportation industry as they can streamline the inspection process.

Digital checklists allow drivers to conduct inspections quickly and easily on a mobile device or tablet. The checklists can be customised to include specific checks and procedures, and drivers can record their observations, attach photos and add a digital signature for accountability. Digital checklists also have the advantage of being submitted to a cloud-based software with a central database, providing real-time reporting and analysis of inspections.

Implementing digital checklists can improve the accuracy of inspections, reduce errors, and provide managers with real-time information on the status of their fleet. Digital checklists can also provide an audit trail of inspections, making it easier to demonstrate compliance with regulations in the event of an audit or investigation.


Truck daily pre-start checks are crucial for ensuring the safety, compliance, and efficiency of truck fleets. Conducting pre-start checks regularly can help prevent accidents and breakdowns, reduce downtime, and improve the overall reliability of the fleet. In addition, it is a legal requirement in most jurisdictions, and failure to comply can result in heavy fines and penalties. Truck daily pre-start checks cover a range of safety-critical components, including lights, tires, brakes, fluids, mirrors and windshield, steering, body and structures, horn, warning lights, couplings and emergency equipment. If a truck is deemed unsafe during a pre-start check or at any other time, it should be immediately taken out of service until the necessary repairs can be made. Overall, truck pre-start checklists are a valuable tool for ensuring the safety, compliance, and efficiency of truck fleets, and should be taken seriously by truck drivers and fleet operators.

DIGI CLIP mobile forms – What Do We Do?

DIGI CLIP mobile forms is an easy-to-use inexpensive digital checklist & inspection app and cloud-based software. DIGI CLIP is used across different industries to capture safety and compliance data and other information to help improve safety, compliance and operational efficiencies.

DIGI CLIP will allow you to remove paper reporting from your business – no more lost, late missing or illegible checklists. The DIGI CLIP mobile app allows images, comments and digital signatures to be added to checklists from a phone or tablet.

DIGI CLIP has a Form Library where you can access all of your checklists, inspections and more for your use. All checklists and inspections can be edited or updated to meet your risk and operational requirements.

DIGI CLIP also has a safety management module called Safety Tracker. Safety Tracker is our incident and hazard reporting and management software application that adds to DIGI CLIP mobile forms. Incidents and hazards are reported via the DIGI CLIP app or directly on the cloud-based software. Incident and quality Investigations and hazard assessments are completed on templates provided by DIGI CLIP and corrective and closeout actions are tracked by the cloud-based software.

Follow this link if you want to know more about what we do and how we can help or send us a message.

Streamline your safety, compliance & inspection checks with the DIGI CLIP mobile checklist app today.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, financial, or other professional advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided in this article. Readers are advised to seek the advice of a qualified professional for any specific concerns or questions related to their business operations or compliance with relevant regulations.