Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist

Written by bianca bumpres
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Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist
Before hitting the road, perform an inspection on your vehicle. (Road to Heaven image by Jason from

Planning a trip means inspecting the vehicle you will take on the road. Before a trip, you should inspect your vehicle for safety hazards or any other issues that may endanger passengers or other drivers. A pre-trip inspection checklist will help you to take the necessary precautions for a safe trip.

General Inspection

Check mirrors for proper alignment and cleanliness. Check the mirrors and windshield for cracks or missing pieces. Clear the windshield of debris and dirt. Inspect wiper blades for the condition of the rubber and proper operation. Evaluate the washers' squirt quality. Test the headlights, taillights and brake lights, including signal capability to ensure the car signals properly. Check the turn indicators.Test all seat belts to make sure they are functioning properly.

Engine Compartment

Engine malfunction can ruin a trip. Check the power-steering fluid level and oil and coolant level. Indicators in the car sound the alarm for when oil and coolant levels may be low. Low power-steering fluid, however, does not have an indicator inside the car, so feel for a signal: The steering wheel doesn't turn easily or handles rough may mean power-steering fluid is low or completely out. Test the water pump, alternator and air compressor belt. Belts that squeal or make a hissing noise when the vehicle starts up need oiling or replacing. Test all hoses connecting to these parts of the engine for leaks or looseness. Loose or leaky hoses may mean the vehicle won't start at all. In general, check the engine for any leaks.


Inspect the wheels for condition and balance. Wheels should have good tread. Rims should not be bent or dented or have holes. Such damages will not allow the wheel to fit or roll properly. Test the hub oil seals and lug nuts in the front and rear wheels.


The vehicle should have an adequate supply of brake fluid. Do a simple start and stop test to see if brakes grind, squeal or don't stop quickly.

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