The Importance of Vehicle Pre-Start Inspections

As a vehicle owner or operator, it is important to ensure that your vehicle is safe to use on the road. One of the most important ways to do this is by conducting a pre-start inspection before every journey. A pre-start inspection involves

Checking your vehicle for any faults or defects that could affect its performance, safety, or compliance with regulations.

Pre-start inspections are a requirement for some commercial vehicles, but they are also recommended for personal vehicles. This is because a pre-start inspection can help identify potential issues before they become serious, reducing the risk of accidents, breakdowns, and expensive repairs.

What is a Pre-Start Inspection Checklist

A vehicle pre-start inspection is a check carried out before operating a vehicle, whether it is a car, truck, or any other type of motor vehicle. It is designed to identify any potential issues that may affect the safe operation of the vehicle and to ensure that it is in good working order. During a pre-start inspection, various parts and components of the vehicle are checked, including brakes, tyres, lights, steering, and fluid levels. Any issues or defects are identified, and appropriate action is taken to address them before the vehicle is driven. By conducting a pre-start inspection, drivers can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and ensure that their vehicle is safe to operate. Additionally, pre-start inspections are often required by law, and failure to conduct them can result in fines and other penalties.

What to Check is a Vehicle Pre-Start Inspection

So, what exactly should you be checking in a pre-start inspection? Here are some key areas to focus on:

1. Tyres: Check that the tyre pressure and tread depth are within safe limits and that there are no visible cuts, bulges, or other signs of damage.

2. Brakes: Test the brakes to ensure they are working effectively, and check that the brake pads and discs are in good condition.

3. Lights and signals: Test all lights and signals to ensure they are functioning correctly, including headlights, indicators, brake lights, and reverse lights.

4. Fluids: Check the oil, coolant, and brake fluid levels, and top up if necessary. Also, check for any leaks or signs of contamination.

5. Safety equipment: Ensure that all safety equipment, such as seat belts, airbags, and child restraints, are in good working order.

6. Compliance: Check that the vehicle is compliant with all relevant regulations, such as registration, roadworthiness, and weight limits.

By carrying out a thorough pre-start inspection, you can identify any issues that need to be addressed before you hit the road. This can help you avoid potential fines, penalties, or legal issues, and can also help you avoid the risk of accidents or breakdowns.

Below: Digital Vehicle Pre-Start Inspection Checklist by DIGI CLIP mobile forms

Vehicle Pre-Start Inspection / Daily Vehicle Safety Routine

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

Digital Vehicle Pre-Start Inspections

While conducting vehicle pre-start inspections 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.

Tips for Conducting an Effective Vehicle Pre-Start Inspection

Now that you know the importance of pre-start inspections, let’s look at some tips for conducting an effective inspection. By following these tips, you can ensure that your pre-start inspection is comprehensive, accurate, and efficient.

1. Use a Checklist: A pre-start inspection checklist can help you ensure that you don’t miss any important items. You can create your own checklist, or use one provided by your employer or vehicle manufacturer.

2. Check Regularly: Conduct a pre-start inspection before every journey, even if it is a short one. This can help you identify any issues that may have arisen since your last inspection.

3. Be Thorough: Take your time and check everything carefully. Don’t rush through the inspection or skip any items on your checklist.

4. Record your Findings: Keep a record of your inspection results, including any faults or defects that you identify. This can help you track any issues over time and can also provide evidence of your compliance with regulations.

5. Take Action: If you identify any issues during your pre-start inspection, take action to address them as soon as possible. This may involve arranging repairs, adjusting tyre pressure, or replacing faulty equipment.

By following these tips, you can conduct an effective pre-start inspection that helps keep you and your vehicle safe on the road.

Vehicles as a Workplace

In Australia, vehicles used for work duties, being privately owned, rented or a vehicle provided by an employer are recognised as a workplace. This means that employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees while they are driving, and to provide a safe working environment. This includes ensuring that vehicles are well-maintained, that pre-start inspections are conducted regularly and that employees receive appropriate training on safe driving practices. By treating vehicles as a workplace, employers can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and ensure that their employees are able to perform their duties safely and effectively.

What to do if a fault is identified

If a fault or defect is identified during a vehicle pre-start inspection or while driving, it is important to take immediate action to address the issue. This may involve arranging for repairs, adjusting tyre pressure, or replacing faulty equipment. If the issue is serious and poses a risk to safety, the vehicle should not be driven until the issue has been resolved.

In the case of a commercial vehicle, the driver should notify their employer or supervisor of the issue and follow any procedures or protocols in place for reporting and addressing faults or defects. The vehicle should be taken out of service until the issue has been resolved, to prevent it from being operated in an unsafe condition.

If the vehicle is deemed unsafe to operate, it may be necessary to tow it to a repair shop or have a qualified mechanic come to assess the issue. In some cases, the driver may need to arrange for alternative transportation until the issue has been resolved.

It is important to document any faults or defects identified during a pre-start inspection or while driving and to keep a record of any repairs or maintenance carried out to address them. This can help track any issues over time and provide evidence of compliance with regulations and safety standards.

Overall, taking prompt action to address faults or defects identified during a pre-start inspection or while driving is essential for maintaining the safety of the vehicle and all those on the road.


Vehicle pre-start inspections are crucial for ensuring the safety and compliance of a vehicle before it is driven on the road. By checking key areas such as tyres, brakes, lights, fluids, safety equipment, and compliance, drivers can identify potential issues and take appropriate action to address them. It is also important to conduct inspections regularly, use a checklist, be thorough, record findings, and take immediate action to address any faults or defects identified. Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their employees while driving, and treating vehicles as a workplace can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. If a fault or defect is identified, it is important to take immediate action to address the issue to prevent the vehicle from being driven in an unsafe condition.

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 ready for 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.

checklist and inspections app - DIGI CLIP mobile forms

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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.