You know you have to do a pre-trip inspection. After you’ve done a few dozen (or a few hundred), it’s easy to rush through it to get on the road a little quicker. Before you do, think again.
A good pre-trip inspection should take anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes and, when done right, can eliminate a lot of potential violations. While you know you have to check the engine, transmission, steering, air lines, coupling devices, tires, and more, there are plenty of things that can get overlooked or hurried through if you’re in a rush.
Pay special attention to these things during your pre-trip inspections.
Your brakes might save your life in a close call, so don’t neglect them. Check them inside and out, and don’t forget to pay attention to the slack adjuster and airlines. Make sure everything is in good order and undamaged.
Of course you check your lights, but you should pay attention to your reflectors, too. They’re key to keeping you visible at night. Look for cracks or dirt and if you see any weathered or worn reflectors, have them replaced as soon as possible.
Don’t just check to make sure you have your emergency kit; make sure it’s completely stocked, too. Pay extra attention to ensure that have spare fuses, circuit breakers, warning hazard triangles, and a fire extinguisher. The final step is to make sure they all work, too.
We’re not your mom, but you really need to clean your cab. A dirty cab can be a dangerous place. Soda bottles can roll around on the floor of your truck and get wedged under your gas or brake pedals. Garbage in the dash prevents the defroster and defogger from working properly.
Check your seatbelt for wear and tear or frayed edges. You also want to make sure it retracts and returns smoothly. The last check is to make sure it actually locks when you clip it in place. But none of your checks matter if you don’t wear your seatbelt on the road. Buckle up out there!
Wheel Lug Nuts
The lug nuts on your wheels sound like a small thing, but a loose one can mean your wheel comes off in the middle of the highway while you’re doing 65 miles per hour. Make sure they’re properly tightened but also look for rust. Rust can mean the bolt hole is widening.
Even with an ELD, you’re not completely paperless. Make sure you have any shipping documents you need, your vehicle registration, permit documents, trailer ownership, and your insurance card (just in case). You also want to make sure your CDL is up-to-date and you’ve got a current safety inspection approval sticker.
Taking the time to be thorough in your pre-trip inspection can make your daily inspections go much quicker. Plus, you’ll get through any formal inspection quickly and easily. But pre-trip inspections aren’t just about staying out of trouble; they can also save your life.