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Pre-trip inspection questions

Topic 18306 | Page 2

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Errol V.'s Comment
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You need to do a pre-trip at the start of your day. Why do you think it's part of your CDL test? Officially, you do all of it. But much of your checking is things that don't change much (steering linkage), so that part is quick. And skipping the under-hood is skipping the things that might change the fastest. Nothing stops you from doing shorter checks more often.

Read a TT post from two years ago, about the roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm, to learn why you do inspections daily: Why do a pre-trip?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
John C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Errol,

Please understand, I'm not trying to find a way to get out of pre-inspect. If anything I'm the type of person who would do it more often than necessary. I'm just trying to get a feel for what is actually done on the road.

Thanks Notforhire, I was thinking of a drivers own personal log.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Thanks for the replies! Does anyone log all their inspections, or just when something is amiss?

Typically - a pre-trip inspection is ON DUTY/NOT DRIVING for the purposes of HOS logging. And it IS (technically) supposed to be done BEFORE moving - and a post-trip after moving - and BOTH of those are supposed to be performed ON DUTY (for HOS purposes).

As Not4 noted - some companies want you to use the DVIR to show that you actually DID the pre/post trip. Some of the companies using PeopleNet (and a few of the other non-Qualcomm brand tablets) actually have a Pre-Trip as a function of the tablet. You walk around the truck, using the tablet, and check off each item on your pre-trip as you examine it. Saw a demo at a Truck Show - it was pretty cool actually. Saves you from having to remember.

As far as the logging goes - it also shows that you performed it if you get "pulled in" at a coop (or roadside). Most companies want to see 15 minutes logged for Pre-Trip, as would most inspectors. I've heard tell that an inspector will see 5 minutes for a PTI, and wonder how thorough of one you ACTUALLY DID in 5 minutes - as an invitation to do a Level I inspection.

You should probably perform (and log) a PTI for each new trailer you hook - though this could be a 5 minute, rather than a full underhood/etc. inspection.

So you ARE going to want to log this as ON DUTY - usually at the start (pre) and end (post) of your day.

Folks that run FB (actually, technically ALL trucks) are supposed to do a "load check" after 50 miles, and every 150 miles/3 hours and log that too - to prove it was actually done. (49 CFR 329.9(B)(1) & (2). Kinda hard to do on a sealed trailer though.

Rick

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
John C.'s Comment
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Great info, thanks Rick. I didn't know that the logging was so extensive. Something else I need to learn more about. Lots and lots to learn...

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Great info, thanks Rick. I didn't know that the logging was so extensive. Something else I need to learn more about. Lots and lots to learn...

Very few people, except maybe flatbed (where load securement is critical), are going to stop and do inspections every 3/150. It's in the regs though, and doesn't specify flatbed ONLY, so technically it applies to EVERYONE - but I don't think you'd get hassled for it.

Again - how you log pre/post tips are a question for your safety/logging dept., where ever you happen to land - but it's a question you are going to want to ask, if they don't tell you right off the bat.

Rick

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

What you will find is that everyone runs their trucks differently and you need to do what is best and natural for you.

I usually start after midnight..,so in the dark. I pull into the fuel island and check tires, lights, trailer

I walk around the truck on my fuel stop or 30 min. Break. When I shut down for the night its daytime so that is when I pop the hood and really investigate.

I put the truck in the shop every 4-6 weeks for various things and it gets a full look by the pros. I've been told my truck is better maintained than many others they see. So I'm doing something right and no been stranded.

John C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rick, I am interested in flatbeds, but that's a decision for later. I figured there would be a difference between the regs, and the practical. I guess I'm jumping ahead with some of my questions, but that's just how I prepare. :)

Thanks Rainy D., Your posts are great, down to earth explanations. Are the trips to the shop every 4 to 6 weeks mandated by your company, or is it your choice?

Since we're paid by the mile, I'm assuming inspections are on your own time which is why some people cut corners. But it just seems logical to always be thorough to avoid breakdowns. I've always inspected my car every month pretty thoroughly even though I've been working at home and only drive about 5000 miles per year.

I'm starting a 5 month contract soon and will have a one hour freeway drive each way (CDL school after that contract is up). Reading this site has given me a whole new perspective on how to share the road with you guys. Every "4 wheeler" should spend a little time here!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I take the truck in when I feel like it. If I'm close to a terminal without a load or headed to one for a doctor appt, I'll put the truck in the shop. There have been times I had a trailer that needed repairs and would have them look at the truck then. In my philosophy I'm at the terminal so I might as well have them check out even the little things while I'm there.

There is always something small wrong...so while they fix a couple harmless things they look over the other major stuff.

In Dec my brakes froze a couple times and they adjusted them and replaced a tire.

In January a rock hit my windshield, so I fixed that. Got my annual inspection done, and had them fix some cosmetic damage caused by wind a month ago in Iowa.

This week I'm having them fix my Qualcomm and a vent on my APU.

Each time I take it in, the mechanics check the entire truck for warranty items that can be replaced. Each guy who works on it is different so the more eyes the better.

I'm required to do preventive maintenance every 50,000 miles on the truck and every 1000 hours of run time on the APU.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

John C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rainy D! So you do way more than is required,but it keeps the truck in top shape. Good to know! I'm catchin' on.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Thanks Rainy D! So you do way more than is required,but it keeps the truck in top shape. Good to know! I'm catchin' on.

The point really is - going by a terminal for maintenance frequently, is no substitute for popping the hood once in awhile and doing a REAL PRE-TRIP, including under-hood, coupling area, brake drums/shoes/cylinders & slack adjusters.

Rick

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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