Pre-trip Inspection Guide for Truckers

Nov 2, 2017

Truck driving is a time-critical industry, so it’s important to make every moment count. Missing your pre-trip inspection can mean wasted time later on when you’re on the road and on deadline. That pre-planning can help you avoid certain disaster!

Your pre-trip truck inspection is to double check the working condition of your truck. As you inspect your rig, you are looking for anything that might be cracked, bent, broken, have an abrasion, be cut or bulging, or insecurely mounted.

Here’s our primary list of inspections for CDL:

Walk around the vehicle and check for leaks.

Check your fluid levels.

Check your belts for cracks or frayed surfaces.

Check your hoses to be sure they are secure at both ends and not bulging or cut.

Check your shock absorbers to be sure they are not cracked, bent, broken, or leaking.

Check your brake system including the brake hose, brake chamber, brake drum, and brake lining.

Check lug nuts to be sure they are mounted and secure while not being bent, cracked, or broken.

Check the fuel tank and look for leaking from the tank or cap. Be sure the cap is on tight.

Check your coupling system to be sure that the electric line is properly mounted at both ends, the air lines are properly secure at both ends, the glad hands are mounted and secure, the apron is not cracked, bent or broken, the skid plate is properly lubed, there is no space between the apron and skid plate, the king pin is not cracked, bent, or broken, the locking jaws are fully locked around the king pin, the release arm is in the fully locked position, and the sliding fifth wheel and locking pin are in the fully locked position.

Check the platform for cracks or breaks as it supports the fifth wheel skid plate.

Make sure the release arm is in the engage position and the safety latch is in place to allow the trailer to be coupled.

Be sure the catwalk is solid, clear of objects, and securely bolted to the tractor frame.

Inspect lug nuts to be sure they are free of cracking, distortion, looseness, and rust or shiny threads.

Be sure your windshield and mirrors are clean with no obstruction or damage to the glass.

Check for leaks around the hub oil and axle seals if the wheel has sight glass.

Check to make sure shock absorbers are secure and leak free.

Check that the brake drum and linings aren’t worn as this can cause excessive heat buildup and a reduced ability to absorb and dissipate heat.

Check that the landing gear is fully raised and the cradle handle is secure.

Check the trailer frame and cross members to be sure none are missing.

On your trailer’s tandem frame and release, be sure the handle is released and the locking pins are in the locked position.

Be sure your trailer’s air bag is not leaking or missing mounting bolts.

Check the rear doors and hinges of the trailer to be sure they open, close and latch properly.

Light checks should include the front of the truck, both sides of the truck, the rear of the truck, both sides of the trailer, and the rear of the trailer. Check your left turn signal, right turn signal, four way flashers, high beams, low beams, and brake lights. Be sure that lights are properly mounted and secure while not being cracked, bent, or broken. They should be clean and well illuminated.

Perform an in-cab inspection to be sure proper functionality of your seat belts, oil pressure gauges, water temperature gauges, emergency equipment, your horns, wipers, heat, defroster, light indicators, parking brake, and more.

Perform a test of your air brake system with an applied pressure test, a test of the warning light and buzzer, and a test of the tractor/trailer protection valve pop out.