Imagine you’re driving along a rainy route and your windshield wiper stops working. Or maybe its nighttime and a headlight dies. Even worse, a tire goes out. These are just a few scenarios that a good pre-trip inspection can help avoid. If you drive independently or your carrier doesn’t have good pre-trip inspection guidelines, here are some suggestions to create or add to your personal do-it-yourself pre-trip checklist.
- Verify all lights are working. This should include headlights, brake lights, turn indicators, and if applicable, trailer lights.
- Check oil level. Both checking and changing oil can be done at home.
- Verify brakes are reliable. Any unexpected noises while braking can be cause for further inspection.
- Examine air system, including hoses. This could help you to avoid a big repair job farther down the road.
- Inspect tires for proper air pressure. Also check for any cracks, unnatural swelling, debris, or cuts.
Speaking of tires, maintaining the integrity of your tires is imperative. Tires are one of the most essential parts of your truck and ensuring their reliability is vital. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found three central reasons for tire failure.
- Surpassing guidelines for tire speeds
- Using tires past recommended replacement date
- Overloading front axles
Be sure to maintain an appropriate speed for your tires, change them before their tread becomes too worn, and avoid overfilling the air in your tires to keep them in top shape.
Along with your pre-trip checklist, including emergency items in your truck could save you from being stuck on the side of the road without the necessities. Stowing away an emergency blanket, a flashlight, hazard triangles and a first aid kit will keep you prepared in the face of an emergency.
Create your own pre-trip checklist and emergency item list specialized to your truck to ensure a route that runs smoothly!