As much of the world hunkers down for an undefined amount of time, the trucking industry is being asked to keep the nation running. Supplies are needed around the country like never before, and we rely on trucks to get them to their destinations quickly and safely. While this increased volume may make you want to hit the road as quickly as possible, it’s now even more important to inspect your truck before making those long trips.
While getting your load to its destination in a timely manner is always a high priority, nothing trumps safety.
Truck inspections are important
Truck inspections help keep everyone on the road safe, and they protect no one more than the drivers themselves. As a driver, you are the one most likely to be affected by mechanical failures. No one wants to be stuck on the side of the freeway with a dead rig. It’s much better to identify issues and address them before hitting the road.
Something as simple as a flat tire or broken blinker can turn an ordinary run into a royal headache in no time flat.
You may be up-to-date on your annual DOT inspection, but it’s also very important that every driver perform his or her own walk-around inspection before and after each trip. These routine inspections are vital for catching issues between annual inspections, and for catching anything that may leave you dead on your next run.
Things to Check For
Sometimes a random tire blows or a lost object from the bed of a pickup will crack a windshield, but most issues that will eventually leave you stranded take a while to develop.
It’s always best to identify these things early on. Luckily, there are things you can keep an eye on to prevent bigger problems down the road. Keeping on top of these things will also ensure you are ready to go for your next DOT inspection.
Check Your Tires
Tires are arguably the most important part of any vehicle. Without them, everything else is useless. They are also the only part that touches the road and is responsible for giving you grip and stability in all weather conditions. It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly to make sure each tire stays within the acceptable range.
Not only will this prevent you from unknowingly driving on deflated tires or blowing a tire on a pothole, but will alert you to anything stuck in the tire and identify any slow leak that may be developing.
While inspecting the tires, make sure to take a look at your brakes and suspension to make sure everything is in working order.
These are all important parts in keeping your truck stable and smooth as you fly down the highway.
Truck inspection basics: Check Under the Hood
If your tires are ready to roll, the next step is to make sure the engine and all parts under the hood are up to the task. Check all your fluids to make sure they are full and clean. Check belts for cracks and inspect the entire compartment for any leaking fluids. Take a look at your water pump, alternator, and air compressor while you’re at it.
Each of these parts is vital to ensuring you and your cargo arrive at your destination, and some are tougher to replace than others.
Check Your Brakes
Once you’ve confirmed that your tires are in working order and your truck can go, it’s time to make sure you can make it stop. No one wants to find themselves steering a runaway tank, so it’s incredibly important to make sure every aspect of your braking system is in working order and that all fluids are filled.
The importance of this step cannot be underestimated and is one of the most vital things you can check before setting off cross country.
Check All Your Lights and Other Safety Equipment
One of the biggest safety features on all vehicles is their lights. Not only do our headlights ensure that we can see everything in our paths, but our lights are also our main mode of communicating with other drivers on the road. If your brake lights or blinkers are out, it can cause problems much larger than any mechanical failure. Be sure that all your lights are in working order. You also need to make sure you have a fire extinguisher, safety triangles, and electrical fuses just in case you should need them.
Keeping Us All Safe
If you have your CDL, you undoubtedly know how to perform a pre-trip inspection. Unlike some things that become so routine that we skip through them quickly or even sometimes forget entirely, taking the time to do your truck inspection before each trip needs to be done thoroughly and thoughtfully to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. It also ensures that deliveries are made on time, trucks run for their full life cycles, and drivers make it home to their families.
So, be safe, and restock the world!