Whether you’re using a truck inspection checklist for a pre-trip inspection or a pre-DOT inspection, ensuring you’ve got something adequate for your fleet is the first stop on the drive to safety. That’s why we put together a checklist for your fleet to stay in top condition – and out of trouble with the powers that be.
Mechanics, inspectors, and drivers use the truck inspection checklist tool to ensure vehicle safety compliance and optimal operation. Regular vehicle inspection increases vehicle safety by discerning and repairing preventable issues before they threaten safety.
Our guide will drive you through the tractor-truck inspection process with a few tips to help you manage your fleet appropriately and efficiently. Who doesn’t like efficiency making their jobs easier, right? Let’s get into this.
Included in the Truck Inspection Checklist
Our truck inspection checklist has ten convenient sections to help your team streamline the process. Here’s a quick breakdown of each section and what each entails.
Administrative Information and Inspection
The initial administration section breaks into two primary components. The first component is an area where your inspector will record information about the truck, like the VIN, plate, make and model, and other vital information. The second component is the inspection of the information available in the vehicle itself, which is required for legislative reasons in most regions.
The brakes inspection section of the truck inspection checklist includes items from lights to function and component inspection. Similarly, it also consists of assessing the parking brake, if applicable. The checklist does not include checking trailer brakes or lights if equipped. Therefore, if you have a situation providing a trailer, look at our Trailer Inspection Checklist as a supplement to the Truck Inspection Checklist presented here.
Steering Component Inspection
People often overlook steering components, but anyone who has had a steering system component fail while in operation will tell you to pay attention to them. We’ve included several steering components critical for tractor/truck operation. Although most is a visual inspection, the inspector is expected to test and operate the vehicle at least for a short distance to ensure the accuracy of steering components.
Fluids are the lifeblood of your fleet. Without simple lubrication and coolant fluids, engines would seize, overheat, and quickly become inoperable. Checking all of the distinct fluids of a truck is critical, which is why we’ve included eight significant inspection components regarding your truck’s vital fluids.
Suspension Component Inspection
Many trucks utilize air suspension components, which are critical to inspect and regularly test for proper functionality. Similarly, we’ve included tires within the suspension component system inspection section as they are a significant component of the suspension system.
Safety Equipment Inspection
Safety equipment isn’t just essential; it’s critical to ensure that drivers have their best chance at safety – and sometimes even survival. We’ve included everything from wipers to turn signals to flares and first aid equipment in our truck inspection checklist’s safety equipment inspection section.
A simple and concise operational check is required to fulfill the three requirements of the operations check section. We assume the truck is at least functional, but your inspector will have to check.
Coupling Component Inspection
Coupling a truck to the trailer is vital to ensure the safe and reasonable movement of transport. Ensuring the coupling system components are in optimal condition is a critical component of the truck inspection. Although we’ve included things like trailer airline or control coupling and cables, you’ll need our Trailer Inspection Checklist to partner with the Truck Inspection Checklist if you’re inspecting both truck and trailer simultaneously.
The final component of our Truck Inspection Checklist includes some general mechanical items that mustn’t be forgotten. These items, including frames, side fuel tanks, and even mud flaps, are included in our mechanical section of the inspection checklist. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways to utilize the Truck Inspection Checklist within your fleet and organization.
How To Use The Truck Inspection Checklist For The Greatest Impact (No Pun Intended)
No matter the size of the fleet, the need for vehicle inspection remains the same. Vehicles break down from use. There’s no question; that’s why it’s critical to implement solutions to prevent incidents relating to mechanical breakdown. After all, most of the issues are preventable with good inspection practices, so let’s talk about implementation and saving big.
Using a truck inspection checklist is required in most regions by law. Therefore, depending on your area and requirements, it’s critical that your team of drivers do a pre-trip inspection using a vehicle walk-around checklist.
To use the Truck Inspection Checklist for the most significant impact on your business, we recommend utilizing the following truck inspection frequencies.
Train your drivers to perform a pre-use inspection of their trucks. This inspection must occur before they drive to work for the day. Similarly, it should occur at the beginning of a driver’s shift.
The pre-use truck inspection is a requirement by law in most regions. In the United States, the FMCSA clearly states that your business must have copies of the DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report), Annual Vehicle Inspection Report, Roadside Inspection Report, or even vehicle maintenance files. Any of these documents might come under scrutiny should a safety investigator from the FMCSA request them. It’s the law. It would be best if you had them. We can help with the Pre-Use Vehicle Inspection Checklist or, even better, our digital inspection app: 1st Reporting.
Scheduled Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annually, or Annually
The name of the game is routine. Based on your fleet’s level of use, we recommend making it mandatory within your organization that you host regular and routine truck inspections. Remember that annual reviews are often required by law for commercial vehicles, so those are essential regardless. However, we recommend a more frequent inspection schedule for high-use fleets.
5 Tips For Better Truck Inspection Management
We’ve five tips for you that will help you manage your fleet more efficiently and effectively.
- Setup Routine Inspection Processes
- Maintain Strict Policies for Repair
- Update Driver and Mechanic Training Frequently
- Utilize Procedural Checklists To Ensure Accuracy
- Use a Robust Digital Solution (Like 1st Reporting)
These are pretty straightforward, but let’s consider what may need to be clarified.
Setup Routine Inspection Processes
Routine inspections are critical for the preventive maintenance of mechanical systems. Even a simple visual inspection can help you catch wear and tear that might cause other more significant malfunctions. That’s why improving your routine inspection processes is critical if they aren’t at least covering minimum mandated requirements.
We like to think of routine safety inspections as something required at least twice as much as regulatory requirements insist. This practice ensures that compliance is not compromised and provides greater team buy-in to your safety program.
Maintain Strict Policies for Repair
Strict policies of repair prevent inspection results calling for maintenance from going unfixed. A common occurrence at smaller service companies utilizing smaller fleets is that they tend to comply with inspection regulations but need to do more about the results. Just ask a random driver from a smaller company how many times they’ve complained about the same issue with their truck without seeing results from their office.
How do you implement a fix? Merely create a strict policy for repair, including a timeline. Logistically you may find it complicated, especially if you’re a busy firm and you need to pull a truck or two for repairs.
Indeed, we can assure you that the logistical nightmare you might think you have by pulling a truck off the road for repair is rough. However, it’s nothing compared to the nightmare you’ll face should a preventable accident cause damage, injury, or worse, someone’s life.
Update Driver and Mechanic Training Frequently
Anyone who touches your fleet needs comprehensive training. Keeping that training refreshed in the minds of your fleet personnel is equally essential. It isn’t a set-and-forget scenario – or your team will need to remember their duties and responsibilities to truck safety.
Frequent refresher training courses on safety, truck inspection, trailer inspections, or any other aspect of the fleet’s work are critical to maintaining a top-notch fleet. Drivers, mechanics, and even loaders need to have updated knowledge. After all, unless your team all have photographic memories, I’m betting they forget things like everyone else. Why not help them out with a safety refresher?
Utilize Procedural Checklists To Ensure Accuracy
As we were just looking at the issue with human memory, let’s remember how easy it is to forget a step in a complex process. We’ve all done it; even the pros forget things from time to time. Again, the best way to circumvent this issue is by providing your team with the tools they need to do the job accurately. Let me introduce you to the procedural checklist.
A procedural checklist is just as it sounds – a list that ensures that your team completes procedures accurately. We’ve got a procedural injury reporting checklist if you’d care to look at an example. The concept is simple: use a list to guide a team member through a procedure.
Pro Tip: Want an even better solution? Try our digital solution, 1st Reporting, where you can create custom forms that will only let your team move on to the next step after completing the one before. How’s that for maintaining procedural inspections and incidents appropriately? Let’s talk a little more about how this will help you and your organization.
Use a Robust Digital Solution (Like 1st Reporting)
If you read the section above about procedural checklists, then you already know a tiny bit about the functionality of the 1st Reporting app. Unlike paper printed reports, a digital solution like 1st Reporting can do some exciting things. Let’s take a look.
- Create custom checklists and forms – Using our custom form builder, you can make the exact form your business needs, with no exceptions.
- Manage automated notifications – Let the app work for you! Set up your custom notifications so when one of your assigned teams completes a specific form, a particular supervisor receives an automated notification of the form’s completion. Never worry about forgotten submissions again.
- Powerful form and template library – We’ve got all kinds of businesses and organizations working with us who have requested forms over the years. We’ve done our best to create generic forms for everyone, and they are all available for use in our app’s template library.
- GPS Location Reporting – Our powerful manager’s dashboard lets you see a map view so you can see where the completion of your report occurred. Quickly visualize your mobile reports completed in the field and keep track of your fleet’s reporting.
- Dynamic Form Building – Imagine a form that changes based on the answers provided. You can’t do that with a paper report, but you can do it with our mobile app, 1st Reporting.
Want to learn more about how 1st can help increase your organization’s inspection reporting and incident management efficiency? Contact us today for a Free Demo, or grab the app and try it for yourself from Google Play or The Apple App Store.