Before taking a trip to deliver cargo, a truck driver must carry out a detailed pre-trip inspection of his or her truck. This detailed check is performed on the truck itself, the trailer and the cargo. If there are any damages or repairs required, they should be rectified before the truck can leave. If ignored, the truck could break down along the way or worse, it could cause a serious accident.
Here are 7 tips for pre-trip inspection:
Start By Checking Under The Hood
Tip the hood of your truck for a thorough inspection of the system. Truck engines are big and complicated. While you may not have a lot of mechanical knowledge, it is good to look for things like loose hosepipe clips, cracked pipes and other wear and tear.
Most importantly, you have to check all the fluid levels, make sure they are filled to the required levels. Water, coolant, oil and windshield wiper fluids have to be checked. If they have enough fluids, make sure their caps are locked tight.
Check the engine block for cracks or other kind of wear. If everything is working, there should be no fluids spilling on the engine block. Inspect the fan belts for frayed edges or other signs of wear and tear.
There is so much to check for, but that is why you should start the pre trip inspection early to save time. Look for any loose wires or cables. Make sure the engine fan is intact with all the blades clean and finally, give the shock absorbers, kingpins and ball joints for chips, a thorough check.
Leave the hood up as you do other checks on the truck.
Inspect The Tires Thoroughly
Look at all the tires carefully. This includes the tractor and the trailer tires. You must also check the landing gear to make sure it is in place and that the crank handle is securely in place. Inspect the springs to ensure they are not broken. Inspect the brake pads to ensure they are of the required thickness. You should also check that the electrical cord and the airlines are not in contact with each other.
Check The Vehicle Body For Damage
You should go around the entire truck looking for damage to the body. This should not take long as you are just giving a casual glance over everything. You should also check the truck for cleanliness on the outside. Ensure the registration plates and numbers and the names of the company are visible. Check the reflectors too because they increase your truck’s visibility on the road at night.
Start The Vehicle
With the hood up, start the truck, and keep the engine running. Look at the engine again to see whether the vibration is causing any spills. This will also give you an opportunity to see whether the radiator and other fluid container caps are locked tight.
Leaving it idling at about 700 RPM, check all the gauges and just leave the air pressure to build up. Look at the belts to make sure they are running fine. When you determine that everything is okay, bring the hood down and lock it up.
Double-Check The Exterior Again
With the truck engine still running, find a piece of wood to place on the brakes, just a bit so that you can check that the brake lights are working fine. Other road users depend on your backlights, specifically brake lights to show them when you are stopping. Listen keenly for any air leaks and when you determine that everything is ok, remove the wood you placed on the brake pedal. If you normally drive your truck on dangerous roads, you should chrome truck bumpers to have minimum impacts of minor accidents. On the other hand, having stainless steel truck fenders can keep the tires together even on tough roads.
Back Her Up A Few Feet
You want to make sure that the gears are working. Get in the cab and reverse the truck for a few feet, just to be sure all the wheels are moving. Many drivers neglect to do this but it is important.
After that, push her forward for a few feet, say, about six feet and then pull on the trailer brake. You want to be sure that the trailer brake is working just fine. Drive another six or seven feet ahead and then press the brake pedal to stop the truck. You want to make sure the brakes are working.
Check Your Emergency Kit
Never travel, especially for long distances without checking that your emergency kit contains everything it should have. Fire extinguisher, warning triangles and spare fuses should be tested. Test the fire extinguisher to ensure that it has not lost its pressure. Most likely, you will never use it but it is always a good thing to know it works.
With everything in check, make sure your cabin is orderly and clean. A dirty rig indicates a messed up driver and you do not want to pass that kind of impression.