​Pre-Trip Inspections

Homer Hogg, Director of Technical Service
October 2018

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it’s required that drivers perform an inspection before they operate a commercial motor vehicle, as well as at the completion of each day’s work.

In addition to being required by the FMCSA, pre and post-trip inspections are vital to the safe and efficient operation of heavy-duty vehicles.

Pre-trip inspections allow the driver to catch any problems before heading out on the road. Post-trip inspections give the shop time to react to any problem that has been identified on the vehicle and to fix the issue before the driver heads back out on the road.

It’s important that fleets and owner-operators conduct consistent pre and post-trip inspections focused on, at a minimum, the following areas.

Pay close attention to the vehicle’s service and parking brakes. Check for air leaks, chaffed hoses, worn out linings, and make sure the compressor is operating properly. All brake components, such as brake chambers, must be in place and functioning correctly.

Other important parts include steering components, lights and reflectors. These components should all be in their proper place and operating as intended by the manufacturer.

Tires must have at least 4/32nds on steering axles and at least 2/32nds in all other positions. They should also be properly inflated and safely mounted on the vehicle. Check tire rims to ensure they’re free of cracks. Drivers should also make sure their truck’s horn works and the windshield wipers are in good working condition.

Another important part of pre and post-trip inspections includes any mirrors on the vehicle. These should be mounted properly and free of any cracks or damage that could prevent the driver from having a clear view of the sides and rear of the truck and trailer.

The fifth wheel, or hitch system, must be securely attached and be free of any excessive wear. The trailer kingpin must be latched properly in the jaws of the fifth wheel. Be sure to also check that your safety chains are attached properly and in good condition.

Lastly, be sure to check all safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, triangles and spare fuses. In the event that a driver is unresponsive and an emergency responder is trying to locate the fire extinguisher, it’s crucial that it is in the proper place and easy to find. At TA Truck Service, we sometimes find fire extinguishers mounted in the wrong location, which should be corrected before every trip.

It’s important to remember that there are many different kinds of trucks and components in each vehicle, and drivers must know how to properly inspect the vehicle they intend to operate on any given day.

While brakes, lights and tires are certainly the top areas of concern, all of these components are essential to the safety and performance of commercial motor vehicles.

At TA Truck Service we understand the importance of pre and post-trip inspections, and our certified technicians are here to help you fix any issues you find on your vehicle during your own pre or post-trip inspection.

Let’s all work together to keep the highways safer by performing routine pre and post-trip inspections, and if you find any defects or need any assistance, remember to stop into a TA Truck Service location near you.