All semi-truck drivers are responsible for three types of inspections.  Any driver of a commercial motor vehicle must perform a Pre-Trip Inspection, an On-The-Road inspection, and a post-trip inspection.

Pre-Trip Inspection:
There are eleven steps in the pre-trip inspection.  The first is the engine compartment and the last is the

Engine:
The driver should look at the following checklist to make sure that everything is functioning properly before operating his commercial motor vehicle.  This list should be examined every time, before every trip.  These items need to be checked on both sides of the engine compartment.  The items need to be checked on both sides because the semi-truck engine is so large, that these need to be checked on both sides.
•    firewall
•    radiator
•    water pump
•    hoses (coolant)
•    radiator and fan
•    suspension
•    filters
•    shock absorbers
•    steering linkage /lines
•    brakes (this should include airline, and all other systems)
•    rim/wheel seal
•    tires
•    outside rim

On the left side of the engine compartment, (the driver’s side) the driver needs to check the following:

•    air conditioning
•    power steering fluid
•    power steering hoses
•    steering
•    air compressor
•    ECM (Electronic Control Module)

On the passenger side, the driver needs to check the following:

•    alternator belts
•    oil leaks
•    oil level (dip stick, filler cap)
•    exhaust

Driver’s Side/Passenger side of Semi-Truck checklist:

•    Mirrors and windows
•    VIN number
•    Door handles
•    Emergency equipment (this should include road flares and reflectors)
•    Steps
•    Lights
•    Hood (make sure the hood is secure)

Front of Trailer:

•    The semi-truck driver should check the following:
•    Fairing
•    Lights (make sure they work/turn signals as well)
•    Antennas
•    Windshield wipers
•    Windshield (for cracks)
•    License plate number
•    Front mirror (if applicable)

Rear of semi-truck (the back of the truck, not the back of the trailer):

•    Fairing
•    Exhaust
•    Transmission/drive shaft
•    Frame
•    Inspect for damage.
•    Examine passenger side mirror.

Connection Systems:

•    Differential
•    Suspension
•    Brakes
•    Lugs
•    Back up alarm
•    Rims
•    Axel seals
•    King pin
•    Locking jaw
•    Lights (tail lights and turn signals)

Inside the Tractor:

•    Air horn
•    Windows
•    Windshield
•    Driver Vehicle Condition Report
•    Log book
•    Fire extinguisher
•    Seat belt
•    Mirrors (adjust to correct)
•    Heater/defroster
•    Horn
•    Gauges
•    Control levels
•    Clutch
•    Brakes
•    Computers

Post Trip Inspection:
The purpose of these inspections after a truck has been driven is to make sure the commercial motor vehicle is functioning properly for the work to be completed the next day.  Regulations in the federal motor carrier safety rules, state that the vehicle must be repaired if the defect was anything that would affect the safety of other drivers or the safe operation of the motor vehicle.  The regulations come from the FMCSR 396.

The language states language similar to: “Every driver shall prepare, in writing, a report at the end of each workday that should cover the following:”

Brakes
Parking breaks
Lighting, lights, and reflectors
Tires
Horns
Windshield wipers
Mirrors
Coupling devices
Wheels and rims
and all emergency equipment.

The specific section with this list is U.S. FMCSR 396.11 and 396.13

Generally these post trip inspections have forms that can be filled out.

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