1. Exterior Checks
The first step in a pre-start check is to perform a visual of the exterior of the vehicle. This includes checking the lights, mirrors, tires, brakes, drivetrain and bodywork for any damage. The driver must ensure that all lights are functioning correctly. They should also check the tires for any punctures, bulges, or damage and ensure that the brake pads are in good condition.
2. Engine Bay Checks
The engine bay is one of the most critical areas to inspect when conducting a pre-start checklist. It is important to check the engine oil level, coolant level, belts and hoses, battery and terminals, air filters, fluid leaks, as well as the electrical and fuel systems. For the electrical system, check the battery, alternator, starter, lights, turn signals, and other electrical components to ensure proper operation. For the fuel system, check the fuel level, fuel tank, lines, filter, and for any leaks. Low oil or coolant levels, worn belts and hoses, corroded batteries or terminals, dirty air filters, fuel leaks, or electrical system malfunctions can all lead to decreased performance, engine damage, or safety hazards.
3. Interior Checks
The third step is to check the interior of the truck. This includes checking the seatbelts, horn, dashboard, and steering wheel. The driver must ensure that the seatbelt is in good working condition and that the horn is functioning correctly. They should also check the dashboard for any warning lights, such as the low fuel warning light, and ensure that the steering wheel is not damaged. The seat should be checked for comfort and functionality and the mirrors set.
4. Coupling Checks
Check the fifth wheel and kingpin for wear, damage, and the proper locking mechanism. Inspect the trailer’s coupling devices, such as the hitch, drawbar, and safety chains, for wear, damage, and proper attachment. Inspect the electrical and air lines, brake hoses, and other connections between the truck and trailer. Make sure they are properly connected, free of damage or leaks, and secure.
5. Load Checks
Check the load for proper distribution, securement, and weight. Make sure that the load is not exceeding weight limits, shifting, or affecting the balance of the truck.
6. Safety Equipment Checks
The fourth step is to check all safety equipment on the truck. This includes checking the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and emergency triangles. The driver must ensure that all safety equipment is in good working condition and that there are enough emergency triangles to meet the legal requirements.
7. Operational Checks
The final step in a pre-start check is to perform operational checks on the truck. This involves checking the wheels, steering, transmission, and brakes to ensure that they are functioning correctly and conducting a tug test to ensure the trailer is securely attached to the truck.
It is important to note all of the above checks are to include all trailing equipment.