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7-Step Inspection Method

You should do a pre-trip inspection the same way each time so you learn all the steps and are less likely to forget something. The 7-Step Inspection Method on the following pages should be useful. (See Figures 2-5, 2-6 and 2-7 on the next page.)

Step 1: Vehicle Overview

Approaching the vehicle:

Notice its general condition. Look for damage or vehicle leaning to one side. Look under the vehicle for fresh oil, coolant, grease or fuel leaks. Check the area around the vehicle for hazards to vehicle movement (people, other vehicles, objects, low hanging wires, limbs, etc.).

Review last vehicle inspection report:

Drivers may have to make a vehicle inspection report in writing each day. The motor carrier must repair any items in the report that affect safety and certify on the report that repairs were made or were unnecessary. You must sign the report only if defects were noted and certified to be repaired or not needed to be repaired.

Test Your Knowledge

  • What is the most important reason for doing a vehicle inspection?
  • What things should you check during a trip?
  • Name some key steering system parts.
  • Name some suspension system defects.
  • What three kinds of emergency equipment must you have?
  • What is the minimum tread depth for front tires?
  • For other tires?

Study section 2 if you can't answer all of these questions.

Step 2: Check Engine Compartment

First, check that parking brakes are on and/or wheels are chocked. You may have to raise the hood, tilt the cab (secure loose things so they do not fall and break something), or open the engine compartment door. Check the following:

  • Engine oil level
  • Coolant level in radiator; condition of hoses
  • Power steering fluid level; hose condition (if equipped)
  • Windshield washer fluid level
  • Battery fluid level, connections and tie-downs (battery may be located elsewhere)
  • Automatic transmission fluid level (may require engine to be running)
  • Check belts for tightness and excessive wear (alternator, water pump, air compressor)—learn how much “give” the belts should have when adjusted right, and check each one
  • Leaks in the engine compartment (fuel, coolant, oil, power steering fluid, hydraulic fluid, battery fluid)
  • Cracked, worn electrical wiring insulation.

Upon completion of the above checks lower and secure hood, cab or engine compartment door.

Anything which holds liquid should be checked for proper fluid levels. Further, any liquid reservoirs, lines, or items related to the air brake system should always be checked for leaks.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

During a pre-trip inspection, all belts should be checked. Which item in the engine compartment may be belt driven?
  • All of these may be belt driven
  • Steering pump
  • Water pump
  • Turbo

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Check belts for tightness and excessive wear (alternator, water pump, air compressor)-learn how much "give" the belts should have when adjusted right, and check each one.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

When checking any belts, be sure they aren't frayed, cracked, or broken.

Next
As you approach a vehicle to perform an inspection, you should look for:
  • All of these answers are correct
  • Fresh oil, coolant, grease or fuel leaks
  • Vehicle damage or leaning to one side
  • Hazards to vehicle movement (people, other vehicles, objects, low hanging wires, limbs, etc.)

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Approaching the vehicle: Notice its general condition. Look for damage or vehicle leaning to one side. Look under the vehicle for fresh oil, coolant, grease or fuel leaks. Check the area around the vehicle for hazards to vehicle movement (people, other vehicles, objects, low hanging wires, limbs, etc.).

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Sometimes, being close up to a vehicle can force you to miss some obvious hazards. Take a moment to get the "full picture" when walking up to your vehicle.

Prev
Next
When checking the alternator, you should:
  • Be sure there are no leaks
  • If belt driven, check to make sure the belt is tight and free of excessive wear
  • Check the oil level in the alternator
  • Check it with the engine running and make sure the alternator gets warm

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Check belts for tightness and excessive wear (alternator, water pump, air compressor)-learn how much "give" the belts should have when adjusted right, and check each one.

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Finish
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