Tractor Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection

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Tractor Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection is compulsory for every professional driver to safely operate tractor-trailer on roads. Learn the best time-saving method for Tractor Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection. Most important parts of Tractor Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection are.

  • Operational safety of the vehicle
  • Paperwork of Tractor Trailer
  • Air brake inspection
  • Emergency equipment, seals and expiry dates

Scroll down to download tractor trailer pre-trip inspection cheat sheet pdf

As a professional driver, I am responsible for the safe operation of my vehicle. My vehicle is bigger than average road users, I am talking more space on the road, so more vulnerable to happenings.

Another importance of tractor-trailer pre-trip inspection is my driving record. I will have greater opportunities if my CVOR (commercial vehicle operator record) is clean.

Professional drivers who face problem in finding a good job, better know the difference between the good driving record and scrambled CVOR. I am feeding family watching white strips on asphalt, so I have to spare time for tractor-trailer pre-trip inspection.

 

 

Who must do a pre-trip inspection?

Every professional driver with a commercial truck or tractor-trailer with a gross weight exceeding 4500kg must do a pre-trip inspection at least once in 24 hours. Every commercial driver must follow schedule 1 for daily inspection. A pre-trip inspection takes about 20 to 50 minutes.

Initially, it may take 50 minutes but you can save time if you follow a tractor-trailer pre-trip inspection systematic inspection sheet.

Above video of truck pre-trip inspection is the best one. That is component focused video, we need to look at actual components, not follow a tune.

How to do a pre-trip inspection

Best to follow a systematic sheet, so you do not miss anything. You can customize the inspection sheet according to your convenience. Try to customize the inspection sheet that you save time and do not miss anything.

A customized tractor-trailer pre-trip inspection cheat sheet or pdf is available here. This sheet is also available on my website so you can inspect just from the smartphone.

Tractor trailer pre-trip inspection cheat sheet

Step by step pre-trip inspection

Following are the steps to be followed in a pre-trip inspection. I inspected my tractor trailer within 35 minutes.

Tractor first look

✅ 1. Approach the vehicle from the front, look from top to bottom. Total time for the first step is 2 minutes.

  • Look for body damages, id lights.
  • Windshield crack, wipers in place, secure mirrors.
  • Grill, front lights, bumper damages.
  • The vehicle is not leaning to any side may be due to flat tire or suspension.
  • Check license plate, should be there with a valid sticker.
  • No major leakages underneath, liquid drippings.

What if any of the above failed?

If any of the above is failed then we do not need to proceed, the vehicle might have a major defect. No need to spend extra time, just focus on the defect you found in the first look. Now we have satisfied with the first step, move to the next step, for me is open the door and look in the cab.

“LOOK AT LICENSE PLATE AND SAFETY STICKER NUMBER BEFORE ENTERING THE CAB”.

In-cab tractor inspection

✅ 2. Check documents. (time needed 1 minute)

  • After a quick look for the cleanness of the cab, start checking documents.
  • Safety sticker first, since you recently looked at the number.
  • Ownership and insurance.
  • Look for CVOR and operating permits.
  • IFTA, decals, weight limits on the vehicle, and special permits. Tractor floor is clean, no debris, hazards. My friend sent me a picture of the floor debris.  Keep your documents in a binder. If any of the above documents is invalid, contact dispatch or safety. My vehicle has cleared documents inspection.

Tractor trailer paper inspection video is here

Step out of your tractor

✅ 3.  Before you leave the cab

“OPEN THE HOOD HERE, SOME TRACTORS HAVE HOOD OPENING KNOB UNDER STEERING WHEEL”
  • Before you go out of the cab, Start vehicle applying clutch, Turn the steering wheel to left, Turn lights, high beam, and flashers on, check dashboard lights and gauges.
  • Check wipers, water is coming out and cleaning driver area.
  • Secure the vehicle and turn it off leaving the ignition on.
  • Apply service brakes and put brake holder stick under the steering wheel.
  • Pick up gloves and hammer and go out.

Circle anti-clockwise, start looking from top to bottom.

“OPEN DRIVER SIDE HOOD LOCK  AFTER JUMPING OUT”

Start from the driver side

✅ 4. Driver side checklist (4 minutes).

  • DRIVER SIDE DOOR:- opens and closed securely, door glass has no cracks or chips.
  • TRACTOR BODY:-  on driver side has no damages, loose parts.
  • DRIVER SIDE VIEW MIRROR:-  is securely attached to the body, no cracks, no damages, providing a clear unobstructed view.
  • FUEL TANK:- cap is tight and secure, fuel tank straps are secure, no dents on the fuel tank, and fuel is not dripping to the floor.
  • FOOTSTEP:- is tight and secure. (Some tractors have air tanks under footsteps, check air tanks securely mounted, safety and drain valves are in place).
  • BATTERY:- box is secure, battery connections are secure, no corrosion on them.
  • FLASHER AND UTILITY LIGHT on the left wing has no cracks, it is working properly.
  • UNDER CAB AIR CAB:-  have no cuts damages and no air leakages, and no loose parts, wires under my cab. Catwalk is secure.
  • AIR AND ELECTRICAL CABLE:-  have no breakage, rubbings and no cuts. My glad-hands are secure and seals are adequate.
  • TRACTOR FRAME AND DIFFERENTIAL:-  is secure, bolts are secure, no rust, no leakage. Mudguard is tight and secure.
  • FIFTH WHEEL:- Lubricated, movement railing is clear, bolts are tight and secure.
  • BRAKE CHAMBER:-  has no damages and brake chambers are not caged. Brakes looking adjusted as slack adjuster knob is within brake adjustment indicator poles.
“DO NOT DRIVE VEHICLE WITH CAGED BRAKES, SPRING BRAKE DO NOT WORK”
  • U-BOLTS AND SPRINGS:- are secure and springs have no damages, no cracks. internal hub seal and brake components have no leakages, damages.
  • WHEELS:- have adequate air pressure, tire thread is acceptable, wheel wall has not cuts, no damages, no open cords. Rim have damage, no rust, the air pressure valve is secure and capped. Hub nuts, lug nuts are tight and secure, no rust and cracks. There is nothing in between the wheels.
“2/32 TIRE THREAD CONSIDERED WORN OUT IN MOST OF THE STATES”

Look at the back of your tractor

✅ 5. Rear side checklist (2 minutes).

  • MUDFLAP AND FRAME AREA:- Tractor frame at back is secure, fifth wheel jaw has no damages, mudflaps are tight and secure and the internal hub seals has no leakage.
  • LIGHTS FLASHERS:- brake lights working, flashers have no damages and no cracks, license plate light is working, the license plate is secure.
  • AIRBAGS:-  are inflated, no cut, damage on airbags.
  • BRAKE:- chambers have no damages, no caging. Brakes looking adjusted as slack adjuster knob is within brake adjustment indicator poles.

Come to the passenger side

✅ 6. Passenger side checklist (4 minutes).

  • WHEELS:- Have adequate air pressure, tire thread is acceptable, wheel wall has not cuts, no damages, no open cords. Rim has damage, no rust, the air pressure valve is secure and capped. Hub nuts, lug nuts are tight and secure, no rust and cracks. There is nothing in between the wheels.
  • U-BOLTS AND SPRINGS:- are secure and springs have no damages, no cracks. internal hub seal and brake components have no leakages, damages.
  • EXHAUST:- has no leakages, no cracks, exhaust clamps are tight and secure.
  • FLASHER AND TRACTOR BODY:- right wing has no cracks, flasher working properly.
  • DOOR AND SIDE VIEW MIRROR:- My door opens and closed securely, door glass has no cracks or chips. The passenger side mirror is securely attached to the body, no cracks, no damages, providing a clear unobstructed view.
  • FUEL TANK:- cap is tight and secure, fuel tank straps are secure, no dents on the fuel tank, and fuel is not dripping to the floor. The footstep is tight and secure.
“OPEN PASSENGER SIDE HOOD LOCK (NOT THE HOOD)”

✅ 7. Front side checklist (1 minute).

  • LIGHTS AND FLASHERS:- Id lights, front lights, high beam, turn signals are working, no chips or cracks on the windshield.
  • HOOD AND GRILL:- Hood has no damages, grill are tight and secure. Convex mirrors are tight and secure.
  • BUMPER AND LICENSE PLATE:- has no damages, it is secure, the license plate is secure and clearly visible.

 

 

 

 

“OPEN THE HOOD NOW…START FROM PASSENGER SIDE”.

✅ 8. Engine compartment and more on the passenger side(2 minutes).

  • LEAKAGES:- No loose part, no fluid leakages. U-bolts and spring are secure, no damages, no cracks.
  • WHEELS:- Have adequate air pressure, tire thread is acceptable, wheel wall has not cuts, no damages, no open cords. Rim has damage, no rust, the air pressure valve is secure and capped. Hub nuts, lug nuts are tight and secure, no rust and cracks. Hub seal has no leakages.
  • BRAKE:- chambers have no damages, no caging. Brakes looking adjusted as slack adjuster knob is within brake adjustment indicator poles. The internal seal has no leakage.

Tractor fluid levels.

✅ 9. Engine compartment and more on the driver side (4 minutes).

  • LEAKAGES:- No loose part, no fluid leakages. U-bolts and spring are secure, no damages, no cracks.
  • FLUID LEVELS:- Coolant, windshield washer, and engine oil levels are acceptable.
  • STEERING WHEEL ROD: – No extra play, no loose connections.
  • WHEELS:- Have adequate air pressure, tire thread is acceptable, wheel wall has not cuts, no damages, no open cords. Rim has no damage, no rust, the air pressure valve is secure and capped. Hub nuts, lug nuts are tight and secure, no rust and cracks. Hub seal has no leakages.
  • U-BOLTS AND SPRING:- are secure, no damages, no cracks. No excessive play in the steering wheel rod.
  • BRAKE:- chambers have no damages, no caging. Brakes looking adjusted as slack adjuster knob is within brake adjustment indicator poles. The internal seal has no leakage.

7 Step air brake inspection

Air brake inspection video is here

“CLOSE THE HOOD…APPLY WHEEL CHOCKS…GO INSIDE”
✅ 10. 7 Step air brake check (5 minutes).
  • LOW AIR WARNING DEVICE: – pump down the brake paddle, your low air warning device must activate before or on 55psi.
  • AIR PRESSURE BUILD UP: – You air pressure must build from 85psi to 100psi within 2 minutes, engine running at 600 to 900rpm.
  • GOVERNOR CUT OUT: – Governor must cut out minimum at 100psi and maximum at 145psi. Listen for cut out sound.
  • GOVERNOR CUT IN:- Governor must cut in minimum at 80psi and maximum at 20 to 25psi less than cut out pressure. Pump down air pressure 20 to 25psi less from cut out to test governor cut in.
  • AIR LOSS RATE: – Wheel chocks on, make sure air pressure is over 90psi, release spring brakes, apply service brakes, turn off the engine, open window and listen for air leaks. You must not lose more than 3psi within a minute after an initial loss.
“REMOVE THE WHEEL CHOCKS”
  • SPRING BRAKES: – Apply spring brakes, remove wheel chocks, start the engine, put in the transmission. The vehicle should not move.
  • SERVICE BRAKES: – Release spring brakes, move vehicle about 6 feet, apply service brakes, your vehicle must stop in parallel.

For more on air brake inspection, read my air brake inspection article at

https://www.truckservicez.com/blog/7-step-air-brake-test/

“BACKUP TRACTOR SO YOU CAN ATTACH AIR AND ELECTRICAL LINES, DO NOT HOOK TRAILER”

We have completed tractor inspection in 25 minutes.  Let us inspect the trailer, before hook up.

Trailer pre-trip inspection.

Best video of trailer inspection is available here…

Trailer inspection front and driver side.

  • Check trailer ownership and validate inspection sticker
  • Start from the top, clearance lights are working properly, no damage at the trailer wall.
  • Kingpin is secure and lubricated.
  • Moving anticlockwise, check clearance lights, wall damages and then reflectors.
  • Landing gear assembly and legs are secure.
  • Check trailer floor underneath, channels, air, and electrical cables.
  • The buggy pin is in place and buggy pin liver is secure.
  • Tire pressure is good (check with a hammer), tire thread is acceptable, wheel wall has not cuts, no damages, no open cords. Rim has no damage, no rust, the air pressure valve is secure and capped.
  • There is nothing in between the wheels
  • Mud flaps are in place and secure.
  • Airbags are secure, no cuts, damages or air leaks.
  • Hub seal has no leakages, brake components are not damaged.
  • Brake chamber has no damages. Brake looks adjusted as slack adjuster knob is within brake adjustment indicator poles. total time is taken (4 mins).

Trailer inspection rear and passenger side.

  • ABS system is working properly. (No ABS light on at the rear driver side corner).
  • Clearance lights at back are working properly, door and bumper have no damages, door opening and closing securely, the trailer is clean from inside.
  • Brake lights, indicators are working properly, the license plate is secure and license plate light is working properly.
  • Clearance lights at passenger side are working properly, trailer wall and reflectors have no damages.
  • Mud flaps are in place and secure.
  • There is nothing in between the wheels.
  • Tire pressure is good (check with a hammer), tire thread is acceptable, wheel wall has not cuts, no damages, no open cords. Rim has no damage, no rust, the air pressure valve is secure and capped.
  • As you move forward look underneath the trailer for floor damages.  time is taken (4 minutes).

Before you hit the road check seat adjustment, seat belt, and driver area once again.

Conclusion

Now we have completed tractor trailer inspection in 35 minutes and ready to roll. Inspect your tractor trailer daily and proudly enter weigh stations.

The most common mistake in tractor-trailer pre-trip inspection is not looking at the actual component, just following a rhythm.  Every day is a new day, do not overlook anything, make sure and be safe on the road.
Hook up and go, keep rolling.

  1. LOOK AT VEHICLE DAMAGES WHEN APPROACH.
  2. Check CVOR, Insurance, Safety Sticker, Ownership.
  3. Check Safety Equipment, Fire Extinguisher, Triangles, First Aid Kit.
  4. Working Lights, Flashers, Brake Lights, Wipers, And Safe Mirrors, Glasses.
  5. Adequate Fluid Levels, No Fluid Leakages, Missing Fuel Tank Caps.
  6. Check Air Leakages, Air Pressure, No Cut On Airlines.
  7. Inflated Tires, Air Bags No Cuts, No Damages, Secure Mud Flaps.
  8. Check Seat, Steering Wheel Play, Seat Belt, In Cab Are, Doors And Locks.
  9. Battery Box, Foot Step, And Catwalk Secure.

Download Tractor Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection cheat sheet pdf here

Tractor trailer pre-trip inspection cheat sheet

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