Pre-trip inspections are a fact of life for over the road truckers. Because they are so common place, it can be easy to skimp on the inspection, but uncovering any damage or issues before you hit the road is a must and will save yourself a lot of time and money. Here are the steps for a well-rounded pre-trip inspection:

 

Tip the hood

  • Check your fluid levels
  • Check for any leaks from oil, coolant, power steering fluid etc.
  • Tighten all caps
  • Look over the engine, check for pooled liquid, leaks, or signs of leaks.
  • Check belts for any wear and tear
  • Look over the engine fan for any damage
  • Make sure no wires are exposed
  • Look at the shock absorbers, ball joints, and king pins

 

Tires and Brakes

  • Inspect all of the tires on you truck and the trailer
  • Inspect the airlines and electrical cord for proper connection
  • Check the 5th wheel to make sure its coupled to the trailer
  • Check the landing gear
  • Make sure there’s no broken springs or air bags on the trailer
  • Make sure brakes aren’t worn out
  • Look for proper brake positioning

 

Start the truck

  • Depress the clutch and start the engine in neutral
  • Look over gauges to make sure oil pressure is correct and electrical system is charging
  • Ease the clutch out slowly
  • Let the truck idle at 650 RPM
  • Turn on all lights and blinkers and walk around the truck
  • Check the engine for any leaks while the engine is running
  • Check belts
  • Close and lock the hood

 

Walk around one more time

  • Be sure all lights are working, inside and out
  • Have someone press down the brake pedal or use a weight to make sure your brake lights are working
  • Listen for any air leaks as you walk around

 

Back up a few feet

  • Make sure all wheels are turning

 

Pull forward a few feet

  • Pull the brake to ensure it’s working and make sure the 5th wheel is working properly

 

Pull up a few feet again

  • Use the foot brake to ensure that is working properly

 

After you have completed your pre-trip inspection you can check it off in your log book and get on the road!