Pre Trip Inspection - Complete Checklist

By Roehl.Jobs September 16, 2021

Safety

Pre Trip Inspection - Complete Checklist Teaser

Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist for Commercial Trucks

 
A tractor-trailer combination is a complex network of specific systems. Completing a proper and thorough pre-trip inspection every day is not only Federal law, it also ensures maximized operation of the unit, provides peace of mind about the safety of the unit and the safety of the motoring public you encounter on a daily basis and prevents costly downtime and repairs. 

While inspecting the vehicle, you will be looking to verify that each component is: 

1. Properly mounted – meaning that it is mounted in the correct location, that it meets all clearance requirements and that all fastening hardware is present, properly tightened and not damaged. 

2. Not damaged – meaning that it is not bent, broken, cracked, dented, frayed, seized or warped. 

3. Not leaking – meaning if the component holds air or fluid, it must not be leaking (fuel, coolant, oil, air, power steering fluid).

When performing a verbal pre-trip inspection for a certified inspector or examiner, the majority of components can be described as above. There are exceptions where you will need to look for and verbalize specific requirements about certain components. In the following list, those components will have a very specific definition behind them. All other components must be verbalized as “properly mounted, not damaged and (if it holds air or fluid) not leaking”.
 

Follow along with our checklist below. You can print this out and use it as a reference. We suggest following the checklist in order to ensure you don’t miss anything. We laid it out in such a way that optimizes your inspection path.

#1: Front of Tractor

Your tractor's front end is where your Pre-trip inspection starts. Ensure that the lighting fixtures, lenses, and reflectors are properly maintained and free from obstructions or damage. Verify that they are both functional and reflective. The headlights should also undergo the same treatment. When it comes to safe driving, it is imperative that there is a clear line of sight in front of your truck.

Front of Tractor Checklist:

• Front clearance lights / Lens / Reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• Front Headlights / Lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, clear colored lens and functional"

#2. Passenger Side Engine Compartment

There is a lot to review/inspect in your engine compartment. For the passenger's side, specifically, you should examine the mounting and functionality of your:
Turbo charger, air cleaner, oil level, hoses, pumps, brakes, shock absorbers, brake calipers and pads, tires and rims, air pressure, and seals.

Passenger Side Engine Checklist:

• Air cleaner – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Turbo charger – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Alternator / Electrical connections / Belt – “properly mounted, not damaged, electrical connections are tight, belt is not cut, cracked, or frayed, belt has no more than 3/4 inch of free play”
• Oil level – “between add and full. If below add, I would add one gallon of oil and recheck.”
• Coolant reservoir – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Coolant level – “between minimum and maximum”
• Water pump (belt / gear driven) – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking / belt not cut, cracked, or frayed, has no more than 3/4 inch of free play” 
• Hoses -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Leaks – “checking for leaks of any kind on the side of the engine or on the ground such as coolant, oil, power steering, fuel or air”
• Electrical lines – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Steering linkage – “consists of the lower steering arm and tie rod. Properly mounted, not damaged, connected at the ball joint and securely fastened with the castle nut and cotter key”. 
• Springs / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Spring Mount Bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Air Bags / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• U-bolts – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Shock Absorber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Brake hoses – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” (both drum & disc brake systems)
• Brake chamber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” (both drum & disc brake systems)
• Slack adjuster / Pushrods – “properly mounted, not damaged, connected with a clevis pin and cotter key. No more than one inch of free play” (on drum brake systems only)
• Brake drum – “properly mounted, not damaged” (on drum brake systems only)
• Brake linings – “properly mounted, not damaged, minimum of ¼ inch of lining remaining” (on drum brake systems only)
• Brake rotor – “properly mounted, not damaged, not warped or blue, no sign of oil or grease on the surface” (on disc brake systems only)
• Brake caliper – “properly mounted, not damaged” (on disc brake systems only)
• Brake pads – “not visible on our trucks” (on disc brake systems only)
• Axle Seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim or the inside of the drum or on the brake linings (for drum brake systems) or on the brake rotor or brake pads (for disc brake systems)” 
• Tire air pressure – “inflated to manufacturers specified PSI found on the side of the tire. Check with a tire gauge at the valve stem. Check that the valve stem has a cap.”
• Tire – “checking inside and outside sidewalls and tread surface for any abrasions, bulges or cuts and must have a minimum of 4/32 tread depth on all major tread grooves” 
• Rim – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, welds or cracks” 
• Lug nuts – “all present and securely fastened, an indicator of a loose lug nut would be rust streaks behind the nut or shiny threads on the lug”
• Hub oil seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim”

#3. Driver Side Engine Compartment

Working your way around to the other side of your truck, you’ll want to examine the other components. These components include, but are not limited to; Your alternator, belts, lines, steering system, hoses and pumps, level of your fluids, brake system, airbags, axle, wheels, and hoses.

Driver Side Engine Compartment Checklist: 

• Alternator / Electrical connections / Belt – “properly mounted, not damaged, electrical connections are tight, Belt not cut, cracked, or frayed, belt has no more than 3/4 inch of free play” 
• Water pump (belt / gear driven) – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking / belt not cut, cracked, or frayed, has no more than 3/4 inch of free play” 
• Turbo charger – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• Air cleaner – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Coolant reservoir -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Coolant level – “between minimum and maximum” 
• Oil level – “between add and full. If below add, I would add one gallon of oil and recheck.”
• Power Steering Fluid Reservoir -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Power Steering Fluid Level – “between minimum and maximum, or hot and cold”
• Power Steering Hoses – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• Power Steering Pump – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, and gear driven.” 
• Air Compressor – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, and gear driven.”
• Hoses -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Leaks – “checking for leaks of any kind on the side of the engine or on the ground such as coolant, oil, power steering, fuel or air”
• Electrical lines – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Steering shaft – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Steering box – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• Steering linkage – “consists of the pitman arm, connected to the drag link, connected to the upper steering arm, connected to the lower steering arm, connected to the tie rod. All are properly mounted, not damaged, connected at the ball joints and securely fastened with the castle nut and cotter key”. 
• Springs / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Spring Mount Bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Air Bags / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• U-bolts – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Shock absorber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Brake hoses – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” (both drum & disc brake systems)
• Brake chamber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” (both drum & disc brake systems)
• Slack adjuster / Pushrods – “properly mounted, not damaged, connected with a clevis pin and cotter key. No more than one inch of free play” (on drum brake systems only)
• Brake drum – “properly mounted, not damaged” (on drum brake systems only)
• Brake linings – “properly mounted, not damaged, minimum of ¼ inch of lining remaining” (on drum brake systems only)
• Brake rotor – “properly mounted, not damaged, not warped or blue, no sign of oil or grease on the surface” (on disc brake systems only)
• Brake caliper – “properly mounted, not damaged” (on disc brake systems only)
• Brake pads – “not visible on our trucks” (on disc brake systems only)
• Axle Seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim or the inside of the drum or on the brake linings (for drum brake systems) or on the brake rotor or brake pads (for disc brake systems)”
• Tire air pressure – “inflated to manufacturers specified PSI found on the side of the tire. Check with a tire gauge at the valve stem. Check that the valve stem has a cap.”
• Tire – “checking inside and outside sidewalls and tread surface for any abrasions, bulges or cuts and must have a minimum of 4/32 tread depth on all major tread grooves” 
• Rim – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, welds or cracks” 
• Lug nuts – “all present and securely fastened, an indicator of a loose lug nut would be rust streaks behind the nut or shiny threads on the lug”
• Hub oil seals – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim”

#4. Driver Side Tractor Side

When it comes to safety, the sides of your tractor contain important components. Safety equipment such as mirrors, turn signals, and doors will ensure that you are safe during your journey. Examine these components as well as the fuel tank and cap.

Driver Side Tractor Side Checklist:

• Mirror – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean” 
• Door / Hinge / Latch – “properly mounted, not damaged and functional” 
• Door seal – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Fuel tank – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Rubber gasket inside fuel cap – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Fuel tank straps and rubber spacers – “properly mounted, not damaged to prevent metal to metal contact.”
• Tank steps – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, and able to support my weight.”
• Battery / Box – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Side turn signal light / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• Air / electrical lines in frame -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Air tank – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”

#5. Driver Side Rear of Tractor

When inspecting this section of your truck, it is iomportant you inspect mechanical pieces, both visible and not visible. Your driveshaft, catwalk, frame, airbag mounts, and shocks will be found on the driver’s side rear of your tractor. In addition, take a close look at your exhaust. Not only should it be properly mounted and undamaged, but it should be soot-free and not obstructed.

Driver Side Rear of Tractor Checklist:

• Drive shaft – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Cab shock -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Cab air bag and mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Reflective tape back of tractor cab – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean” 
• Battery / Box – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Catwalk and steps – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, free of debris and able to support my weight.”
• Frame / Cross members – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, cracks or welds”
• Exhaust -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indicator of a leak would be soot marks at one of the unions”

#6. Driver Side Tractor Axles

An important part of your tractor's powertrain is its drive axles. You may experience a drop in performance or experience difficulties with driving safely if there is damage here.
Ensure that every mechanical component which you observe is undamaged, does not show signs of wear, and does not leak. This section is where you’ll find more of your brake system, wheels, and axles. Any issues you encounter need to be corrected before continuing with you pre-trip inspection.

Driver Side Tractor Axles Checklist:

• Brake hoses – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Brake chamber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Slack adjuster / Pushrods – “properly mounted, not damaged, connected with a clevis pin and cotter key. No more than one inch of free play when brakes are released, or no less than 90 degrees when brakes are applied.”
• Brake drum – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Brake linings – “properly mounted, not damaged minimum ¼ inch of lining remaining.”
• Axle Seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim or the inside of the drum or on the brake linings”
• Springs / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Spring Mount Bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Torque Arm – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Air Bag / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• U-bolts – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Shock absorber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Tire air pressure – “inflated to manufacturers specified PSI found on the side of the tire. Check with a tire gauge at the valve stem. Check that the valve stem has a cap.”
• Tire – “Checking inside and outside sidewalls and tread surface for any abrasions, bulges or cuts and must have a minimum of 2/32 tread depth on all major tread grooves” 
• Rim / Budd style – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, welds or cracks. Spacing between the tires is even all the way around and there is no debris between the tires.” 
• Rim spacers – “We have no spacers – we have Budd style rims.” 
• Lug nuts – “all present and securely fastened, an indicator of a loose lug nut would be rust streaks behind the nut or shiny threads on the lug” 
• Hub oil seals – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim”

#7. Coupling System

The coupling system is where your tractor and trailer connect. The first thing to do is examine the air and electrical lines. Check for exposed wires, leaks, or any wear marks. 
The kingpin needs to look new and have no signs of damage. There should be no signs of damage when everything is connected. A mechanical issue here can lead to the loss of your cargo. If the coupler is damaged at all, it should be fixed, immediately. 

Coupling System Checklist:

• Air and Electrical lines from tractor to trailer – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking. 
Visually inspect at the rear of the tractor and the front of the trailer. Supported as not to touch 
catwalk. Make sure glad hands are locked in place, seals not leaking and no debris between the glad 
hands. I will check my electrical plug that it is not corroded, the pins are not bent or broken and the electrical plug is firmly seated and locked in place.”
• Fifth wheel mounting bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Sliding fifth wheel locking pins – “This is a fixed fifth wheel, therefore, there are no locking pins.”
• Release arm – “properly mounted, not damaged, and in the locked position” 
• Platform – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Skidplate – “properly mounted, not damaged and properly lubricated. No gap between apron and skidplate”
• Apron – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Locking jaws – “properly mounted, not damaged and visually checking to see that locking jaws / safety bar are fully closed around the kingpin in the locked position” 
• Kingpin -- “properly mounted, not damaged”

#8. Rear of Tractor

Work your way to the rear of the tractor. You want to make sure your lights are all working correctly, your splash guards are in working order, and reflectors are properly mounted.
We recommend carrying a flashlight. It will come in handy when inspecting your truck.

Driver Side Rear of Tractor Checklist:

• Splash guard – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Rear tail lights / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, red colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• Rear back-up lights / lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, clear colored lens and functional” 
• Reflective tape / reflectors on splash guard and rear of frame – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean”

#9. Driver Side Trailer


The trailer should largely remain unchanged from when it was first loaded and connected to the tractor. Nevertheless, you must ensure that everything is in working order before departing. Handles, reflective tape, landing assembly, and lights should all be operational. Check for body damage or signs of rust along the trailer.

Driver Side Trailer Checklist:

• Front of trailer – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking. Check the front of trailer for signs of damages such as cracks, bulges or holes.”
• Front clearance light / lens / reflector – “properly mounted, not damaged clean, amber colored lens, reflective and functional”
• Landing gear – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Landing pads – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean and free of debris” 
• Crank handle – “properly mounted, not damaged, and secured”
• Reflective tape – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean and covers at least 50% of the trailer length.”
• Side turn signal / lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens and 
functional” 
• Frame / cross members full length of trailer – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, cracks or welds”
• Trailer sidewall – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• Winches – “properly mounted, not damaged and adjustable”
• Side clearance lights / lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens, reflective and functional”
• Air Hoses from trailer frame to sliding tandems – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking and supported a minimum of 12 inches off the ground.”
• Tandem release arm – “properly mounted, not damaged and in the locked position”
• Locking Pins – “properly mounted, not damaged, locking pins are fully extended in the locked position.”

#10. Driver Side Trailer Axles

It is important to check the axles of your trailer. Considering that these will be subjected to heavy loads, it is imperative to pay close attention to them.
On the driver's side, check the suspension, brakes, axles, and wheels. Ensure that the air pressure is set to the manufacturer's recommended PSI (found on the side of the tire).

Driver Side Trailer Axles Checklist:

• Air tank -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking,”
• Brake hoses -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Brake chamber -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Slack adjuster / Pushrods – “properly mounted, not damaged, connected with a clevis pin and cotter key. No more than one inch of free play when brakes are released, or no less than 90 degrees when brakes are applied.”
• Brake drum -- “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Brake linings – “properly mounted, not damaged, minimum ¼ inch of lining remaining.” 
• Axle seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim or the inside of the drum or on the brake linings”
• Springs / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Spring Mount Bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Torsion Bars – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Air Bag / Mounts -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• U-bolts – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Shock absorber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Tire air pressure – “inflated to manufacturers specified PSI found on the side of the tire. Check with a tire gauge at the valve stem. Check that the valve stem has a cap.”
• Tire – “checking inside and outside sidewalls and tread surface for any abrasions, bulges or cuts and must have a minimum of 2/32 tread depth on all major tread grooves” 
• Rim / Budd style – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, welds or cracks. Spacing between the tires is even all the way around and there is no debris between the tires.” 
• Rim spacers – “We have no spacers – we have Budd style rims.”
• Lug nuts – “all present and securely fastened, an indicator of a loose lug nut would be rust streaks behind the nut or shiny threads on the lug” 
• Hub oil seals – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim”

#11. Trailer Rear

Inspection of the rear of the trailer is fairly straightforward. Check all of the reflectors, lights, and make sure your license plate is mounted and visible. Ensure the doors are closed and locked. Confirm the brake lights are operational.

Trailer Rear Checklist:

• Splash guards – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Door tie-back hook – “properly mounted, not damaged".
• ABS light / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• Rear marker light/ lens/ reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, red colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• ICC bumper – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Doors / Hinges / Latches / Seals – “properly mounted, not damaged and that they open, close, latch and seal properly.”
• Load seal – “verify seal is intact when pre-tripping a loaded trailer”
• Door tie backs – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Inside trailer roof, floor, side walls – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Deck -- “properly mounted, not damaged, free of debris and able to support the weight of a load” 
• Rear clearance lights / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, red colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• Rear tail lights / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, red colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• License plate light / lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, clear colored lens and functional” 
• Reflective tape – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean”

#12. Passenger Side Trailer Axle

Now it’s time to perform the same actions on the passenger side of the trailer. 
Again, look at the suspension, brakes, axles, and wheels. Check the air pressure and correct the PSI if necessary. If you see any issues at this point, you should stop and correct them immediately.

Passenger Side Trailer Axle Checklist:

• Air tank – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking,”
• Brake hoses – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Brake chamber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Slack adjuster / Pushrods – “properly mounted, not damaged, connected with a clevis pin and cotter key. No more than one inch of free play when brakes are released, or no less than 90 degrees when brakes are applied.”
• Brake drum – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Brake linings – “properly mounted, not damaged, minimum ¼ inch of lining remaining.” 
• Axle seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim or the inside of the drum or on the brake linings”
• Springs / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Spring Mount Bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Torsion Bars – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Air Bag / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• U-bolts – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Shock absorber -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Tire air pressure – “inflated to manufacturers specified PSI found on the side of the tire. Check witha tire gauge at the valve stem. Check that the valve stem has a cap.”
• Tire – “checking inside and outside sidewalls and tread surface for any abrasions, bulges or cuts and must have a minimum of 2/32 tread depth on all major tread grooves” 
• Rim / Budd style – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, welds or cracks. Spacing between the tires is even all the way around and there is no debris between the tires.” 
• Rim spacers – “We have no spacers – we have Budd style rims.”
• Lug nuts – “all present and securely fastened, an indicator of a loose lug nut would be rust streaks behind the nut or shiny threads on the lug” 
• Hub oil seals – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim”

#13. Passenger Side Trailer

Take a look at the entire side of the trailer. Examine the reflective tape, landing assembly, and all of the lights along the trailer. Verify that the signal lights and clearance lights are operational and correctly mounted. Check the sidewalls of the trailer as well. If you observe damage, you should note it and immediately ensure it is corrected before proceeding.

Passenger Side Trailer Checklist:

• Locking pins – “properly mounted, not damaged, locking pins are fully extended in the locked position.”
• Frame / Cross members full length of trailer – “not damaged, no illegal holes, cracks, no illegal welds” 
• Winches – “properly mounted, not damaged and adjustable”
• Trailer sidewall – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• Reflective tape – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean and covers at least 50% of the trailer length.”
• Side clearance light / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens, reflective and functional”
• Side turn signal light / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored lens and functional” 
• Landing gear – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Landing pads – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean and free of debris”

#14. Rear of Tractor 

A second inspection of the rear of your tractor may seem overkill, but it is essential. 
Looking at the passenger side of the tractor’s rear, check the taillights, back-up lights, and turn indicators. It’s also a good idea to check for damage on this face of your tractor.
Make sure any signage is displayed properly and is legible.
Rear of Tractor Checklist:
• Splash guard – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Rear tail lights / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, red colored lens, reflective and functional” 
• Rear back-up light / lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, clear colored lens and functional” 
• Reflective tape on splash guard and rear of frame – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean”

#15. Passenger Side Drive Axles

You are now near the front of the rig. Your tractor's axles should be inspected. Make sure the brakes are working, the air pressure is adequate, and the suspension system is in good condition. It is also important to examine the axles themselves for signs of damage or wear.

Passenger Side Driver Axles Checklist:

• Brake hoses – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Brake chamber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Slack adjuster / Pushrods – “properly mounted, not damaged, connected with a clevis pin and cotter key. No more than one inch of free play when brakes are released, or no less than 90 degrees when brakes are applied.”
• Brake drum – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Brake linings – “properly mounted, not damaged minimum ¼ inch of lining remaining.” 
• Axle Seal – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim or the inside of the drum or on the brake linings”
• Springs / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Spring Mount Bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Torque Arm – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Air Bag / Mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• U-bolts – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Shock absorber – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Tire air pressure – “inflated to manufacturers specified PSI found on the side of the tire. Check with a tire gauge at the valve stem. Check that the valve stem has a cap.” 
• Tire – “Checking inside and outside sidewalls and tread surface for any abrasions, bulges or cuts and must have a minimum of 2/32 tread depth on all major tread grooves” 
• Rim / Budd style – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, welds or cracks. Spacing between the tires is even all the way around and there is no debris between the tires.” 
• Rim spacers – “We have no spacers – we have Budd style rims.” 
• Lug nuts – “all present and securely fastened, an indicator of a loose lug nut would be rust streaks behind the nut or shiny threads on the lug” 
• Hub oil seals – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indication of a leak would be oil on the rim"

#16. Fifth Wheel Assembly

 

The skid plate and apron of the fifth wheel assembly need to be examined. The locking pin should be checked if the assembly is not fixed. Ensure that all of the mounting bolts and the platform are secure. Verify that there is no rust or visible damage.
Fifth Wheel Assembly Checklist:
• Fifth wheel mounting bolts – “all present and securely fastened”
• Sliding fifth wheel locking pins – “This is a fixed fifth wheel, therefore, there are no locking pins.”
• Platform – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Skidplate – “properly mounted, not damaged and properly lubricated. No gap between apron and skidplate.”
• Apron – “properly mounted, not damaged”

#17. Passenger Side Tractor Rear and Trailer Front

Take note of the the general appearance of the side and front of your passenger side. Check for body damage, rust spots, and the framework’s status. Make sure the lights are operational and the exhaust is clear of obstructions.

Passenger Side Tractor Rear and Trailer Front Checklist:

• Front of trailer – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking. Check the front of trailer for signs 
of damages such as cracks, bulges or holes.”
• Front clearance light and reflector / lens – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored 
lens, reflective and functional”
• Drive shaft – “properly mounted, not damaged” 
• Catwalk and steps – “properly mounted, not damaged, free of debris and able to support my weight”
• Frame / Cross members – “properly mounted, not damaged, no illegal holes, no illegal welds”
• Cab shock -- “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Cab air bag and mounts – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking”
• Reflective tape back of tractor cab – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean” 
• Exhaust – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking, an indicator of a leak would be soot marks at one of the unions”

#18. Passenger Side Tractor Side

It is important that the passenger side of your tractor is free of rust and has no visible damage. The steps should be rigid and all indicators should function correctly and be transparent. Mirrors and doors should be sturdy. If your fuel tank is located on this side, make sure it looks good and is sealed before proceeding.

Passenger Side Tractor Side Checklist:

• Fuel tank – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Rubber gasket inside fuel cap – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking” 
• Fuel tank straps and rubber spacers – “properly mounted, not damaged to prevent metal to metal 
contact.”
• Tank steps – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, and able to support my weight.”
• Side turn signal light / lens / reflectors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, amber colored 
lens, reflective and functional” 
• Mirror – “properly mounted, not damaged and clean.”
• Door / Hinge / Latch – “properly mounted, not damaged and functional”
• Door seal – “properly mounted, not damaged”

#19. Light Inspection – To Verify the Lights Are Working

The lights on your rig will help keep you safe during your trip. Check that your indicators, brakes, and overhead lights work. Activate all of your turn signals and brakes to make sure they respond. Check your low and high beams as well as your hazards.

Light Inspection Checklist (Rear and Front):

Rear
• Taillights – turn lights on “red in the rear of tractor and trailer”
• Brake lights – step on brake pedal “red in the rear of tractor and trailer”
• Left turn signal – activate left turn signal “red in the rear of the tractor and trailer, amber on the side of the trailer”
• Right turn signal – activate right turn signal “red in the rear of the tractor and trailer, amber on the side of the trailer”
• Hazard lights – activate 4-way flashers “red in the rear of the tractor and trailer, amber on the side of the trailer”
• Clearance and Marker lights – verify the lights are on “red in the rear of the trailer and amber on the sides of the trailer”
• License plate light – verify the lights are on “clear in the rear of the trailer”
• ABS light – cycle the ignition key off, then back on again “amber on the left side of the trailer”

Front
• Headlights low beams – turn lights on “clear in the front”
• Headlights high beams – activate the high beams “clear in the front”
• Left turn signal – activate left turn signal “amber in the front and the sides”
• Right turn signal – activate right turn signal “amber in the front and the sides”
• Hazard lights – activate 4-way flashers “amber in the front and the sides”
• Clearance and Marker lights – verify the lights are on “amber in the front, amber on the sides and amber on the top of the tractor and trailer”

#20. In-Cab Inspection/Engine Start

The final step in your pre-trip inspection is to climb into the cab. Ensure all of your lights are working, your mirrors are adjusted and damage-free, and your windshield is free of cracks or chips. Check your gauges, test your horn, and inspect your cab for any damage.

In-Cab Inspection and Engine Start Checklist:

• Safety belts – “properly mounted, not damaged, adjusted and latched properly.”
• Safe start – “verify I’m logged into the TruckPC correctly, place gearshift lever in neutral, verify the parking brakes are set, depress the clutch, start engine, then release clutch slowly”
• Clutch – “properly mounted, not damaged, from the top of the clutch to the resistance is the free play, from the resistance on down is the working clutch, all the way to the floor is the clutch brake”
• Gear shift – “properly mounted, not damaged”
• Gear shift boot – “properly mounted, not damaged, not leaking exhaust or fumes into the cab”
• Oil pressure gauge – “properly mounted, not damaged, normal operating range is 20 to 60 PSI, currently it is reading -?- PSI” 
• Water temperature gauge – “properly mounted, not damaged. Normal operating range is 160 to 210 degrees. Currently it’s reading -?- degrees.”
• Voltmeter – “properly mounted, not damaged, normal operating range is 13 to 14 ½ volts, currently it is reading -?- volts” 
• Air pressure gauges – “primary and secondary indicated by a -?- (P & S or 1 & 2), properly mounted, not damaged, normal operating range is 90 to 120 PSI, currently they are reading -?- PSI” 
• Speedometer – “properly mounted, not damaged, reads in MPH and KPH, last time I drove this vehicle it was functioning properly, I will verify the speedometer is working when I do my service brake test.”
• ABS indicator on dash – “ABS indicator light is not on” 
• Light indicators – (point to each indicator as they are activated and checked) “High beam indicator, low beam indicator, right turn signal indicator, left turn signal indicator, hazard flashers indicator”
• Steering wheel play – (motor must be running) “turn the steering wheel all the way to the left then release, look out at the driver side steer tire, move the steering wheel back and forth gradually making the motion smaller until the steer tire stops moving, the amount of steering wheel 
movement that remains is the amount of free play in the steering linkage, on a 20 inch wheel it must be 2 inches or less to be compliant or 10 degrees.”
• Horns – Sound city horn and air horn, both must be “functioning properly” 
• Mirrors – “properly mounted, not damaged, clean, properly adjusted” 
• Windshield – “properly mounted, not damaged. No illegal stickers or obstructions. No cracks or chips larger than a dime.”
• Windshield wipers / Washers – operate wipers and washers to check that they are “properly mounted, not damaged, functioning properly” 
• Heater / Defroster – operate heater (floor) and defroster (windshield) on high fan speed to check that they are “functioning properly” 
• Safety and Emergency Equipment – (required in the vehicle at all times) “I have a fully charged 10lb ABC fire extinguisher, three reflective triangles, and three road flares in the side box. I have spare fuses, but this vehicle operates on circuit breakers”

In-Cab Inspection (cont.)

• Brake system test 
o Park brake test – Test the trailer park brakes by putting the truck into 1st gear, releasing the tractor park brake button, and gently pulling against the trailer. If the unit does not move, the trailer park brakes are functioning properly. Test the tractor park brakes by putting the truck into 1st gear, releasing the trailer park brake button, and gently pulling against the tractor. If the unit does not move, the tractor park brakes are functioning properly. 

• Air system test – leaks 
o Applied leak test – Chock your wheels while truck is building up the air pressure to governor cut off (120 – 140 psi), shut off the engine, turn the key back to the “on” position, release the parking brakes, wait for the initial drop in air pressure and fully apply the foot brake. Hold the foot brake for one minute and monitor the air gauges. The truck lost -?- PSI in one minute. We are allowed to lose up to 4 PSI in one minute on a combination vehicle.

• Low air warning devices test – Alarms 
o Alarms test – The key must be turned to the on position. Begin fanning off the air pressure by applying and releasing the foot brake. Low air warning devices (buzzer, light) should activate before air pressure drops below 60 psi. Indicate at what PSI the light and buzzer activate.

• Emergency spring brake test – Buttons 
o Buttons pop test – Continue to fan off the air pressure until both buttons pop out. Indicate what PSI each button is applied (or pop) at. This should happen at approximately 40 psi on a combination vehicle.
• Do a Safe Start and allow the truck to rebuild air pressure back to normal operating range.• Remove wheel chocks while the truck is building air.

• Service brake test
o Service brake test – Test all the service brakes by putting the truck into 1st gear and 
releasing the parking brakes. Pull forward at 5 mph, which verifies the speedometer is 
working, push the clutch in, apply the service brake (foot brake) and stop. Check to see that the vehicle does not pull to either side and that it stops when brake is applied

 
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