Doing a Pre Trip Inspection
Have you taken all the right steps to ensure your truck and trailers are operating safety?
The winter weather conditions can make you think twice about heading out and performing a goo inspection on your truck and trailer.
However, there’s only one way to truly tell if your vehicle’s safe to drive, and that’s with a thorough pre-trip inspection.
If you wait for strange noises or a glaring problem, or worse – a roadside inspection – you’re already in trouble.
A poor pre-trip inspection can impact on everything from fines and points on the carrier’s safety record to delivery delays and increased maintenance costs for roadside repairs. As well, faulty equipment can result in accidents and mishaps.
Pre-trip inspections are fairly easy and basic as long as you know what you are looking for and doing them properly.
Let’s looks at a few things to help make the inspection earlier.
Let’s start with asking a few basic questions:
- How long should a pre-trip inspection take?
- There’s no right answer, but be prepared to put aside at least half an hour. It can be tempting to limit the check to 15 minutes, but rushing through it can lead to a massive waste of time and money: you’re more likely to miss important defects, and if an inspector finds those defects before you, you could be looking at fines or have your vehicle taken off the road.
- How often do I need to inspect my equipment?
- You should be doing a thorough pre-trip inspection within 24 hours of your last full inspection. This inspection should reflect all items listed on the schedule 1 from the Highway Traffic Act.
- Are there any other inspections I need to do daily?
- As a safe and considerate driver, you should be inspecting your equipment every time you stop driving. As well, the regulation outline that you perform an inspection on your tires and cargo every 3 hours of operation.
- What should I do if I find a major defect during my work day?
- When a major defect is found during the operation of your day, it must be repaired immediately. The unit with the defect cannot be operated until the repairs of this defect are complete.
Preparing for the inspection:
- Make sure you have a hammer and a flashlight
- Make sure the tires are chocked
- When you exit the cab- be sure to take the keys with you
AT NO TIME IS IT SAFE OR ACCEPTABLE TO BE UNDER YOUR TRUCK OR TRAILER WHILE THE ENGINE IS RUNNING
General tips for staying safe:
An effective pre-trip inspection comes down to perspective: a truck has many surfaces and components, and the only way to tell if something’s wrong in any area is to get up close look at it.
As you approach the vehicle, begin your circle check: at about 30 feet away, start to look for any leaks, puddles or odd leans to the suspension, which may indicate a broken spring.
Next, perform a cold check under the hood, and then a warm check to locate any leaks or loose components.
Once you close the hood, check for damage, operating lights and make sure to check for a valid license sticker. Move along the passenger side, around the back, and back up the driver’s side to inspect all components – don’t forget the in-cab inspection and document check.
Your truck brakes work hard, and they need to continue to do so. Problems with brakes are a common roadside inspection violation, and since they’re subject to so much wear and tear, you want to check all parts of your brake system. Make sure the brake chamber airlines are secure, check for chaffing, don’t forget to test the brake lights and listen for air leaks.
Brake indicators are a great way to tell if the brakes are out of adjustment, but the only true way to check brake stroke is to use the mark and measure method.
Complete a brake test with both the hand valve and the foot valve before starting your trip. Release the brakes, and then apply the foot valve firmly six times to help adjust the auto slack adjustors.
Keep you truck clean:
A messy truck can do more harm than you might imagine. Aside from making a poor first impression, a lot of junk on your dashboard can interfere with your sightline, and can turn into dangerous projectiles if you have to react suddenly while driving.
Moreover, allowing dirt to build up on lights, reflectors and reflective strips can drastically reduce the visibility of your truck, especially at night. Clean these areas often and well.
A daily vehicle inspection is too important to be conducted haphazardly. Do it properly, for your safety and the others you share the road with.
Knowing where you stand:
How often does your company perform regular maintenance on each vehicle? Do you periodically conduct in-depth checks? Following a regular preventative maintenance outline can help keep your truck and trailer in good shape and avoid costly fines and legal obligations as well and improve fleet efficiency, and general road safety.
A good maintenance program rests on documentation as much as on repair. Consider the following five-step cycle to keep things running smoothly:
- Conduct a daily inspection.
- Document defects.
- Make repairs.
- Document repairs.
- Schedule and document regular maintenance by a qualified mechanic.
The more thorough your reports, the better you’ll be able to pinpoint recurring problems and control costs. Detailed documentation is also helpful when legal concerns arise or audits are conducted.