Checklist for a Truck Safety Inspection

Written by dennis hartman
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  • Introduction

    Checklist for a Truck Safety Inspection

    Safety should be the first priority for all drivers, including drivers who operate larger trucks that can pose a special challenge. Trucks operate differently than cars, which is why some drivers must have a commercial license and special training. Truck safety also extends to the condition of the truck itself. There are several things that should be part of a regular safety inspection for trucks to ensure the best chance of a safe trip.

    Trucks must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure safe operation. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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    Wheels and Tires

    Make sure that all of the tires have sufficient tread and are at the proper inflation level. Check for nails, stones, and other road debris that may have become embedded in a truck's tires. Also look for damage to the sidewalls, which can cause a blowout while driving at high speeds. Ensure that all of the lug nuts are fastened tightly and not cross-threaded. Also check the brakes and brake lines for any signs of excessive wear, corrosion, or damage. Inspect any spare tires to make sure that they are in good condition and ready for use.

    Wheels and Tires (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Glass is another important item on the safety inspection checklist. Make sure that the windshield and side windows are free from scratches or cracks. Also clean the glass for maximum visibility, using a special cleaner to remove any tar, sap, or other obstructions. Check the truck's mirrors for cracks or excessive dirt. Make sure that the mirrors are properly positioned and firmly in place.

    Glass (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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    Give the engine a general inspection often to identify any potential problems early. Check all fluid levels, including engine coolant and engine oil. In a turbo diesel truck engine, inspect the glow plugs occasionally, especially if the engine has been performing erratically or idling rough. Also check other engine-related components like the engine air filter, turbocharger housing, and battery. Look for signs of leaking fluids, broken wires or connectors, and damage from rodents, especially if the truck has been parked for an extended period of time.

    Engine (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Before setting out for a long haul, check all of a truck's lights to make sure that they are bright and function properly. Check the indicators, brake lights, headlights, and fog lamps. Also make sure that the side markers and supplemental turning lights, as well as hazard lights, are all operational. Replace any dead bulbs and make sure that there are extra bulbs on-board in case of problems along the way.

    Lights (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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    Hitch and Tie-Downs

    For trucks that tow a trailer or carry cargo on a flat bed, inspect all of the hitches, electrical connectors, and tie-downs thoroughly. A loose load is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a truck, so double check all of the retainers before getting on the highway, and check them regularly over the course of the trip to make sure cargo has not shifted and come loose.

    Hitch and Tie-Downs (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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    Other Safety Gear

    Finally, make sure that the truck has a proper safety kit on board. This should include road flares, a reflective orange triangle, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a fire extinguisher. Also ensure that the radio works in case the driver needs to call for assistance. Last, but not least, check the horn to make sure it works to alert fellow motorists.

    Other Safety Gear (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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