Truck Inspection: DOT Inspection Checks Most Truckers Don’t Know About
According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), “every commercial motor vehicle must be inspected every 12 months by a qualified inspector who has training or certification to inspect and maintain commercial motor vehicles.”
Individual states may have additional requirements on top of these national requirements, so be sure to check out your state’s government site for more information.
Not sure what to expect for your first truck inspection? Take a look at this list to learn how best to prepare and find out which DOT truck inspection and DOT trailer inspection checks most truckers don’t actually know about.
Main Components of a Commercial Truck Inspection
There are 14 main areas that inspectors will focus on when inspecting your commercial motor vehicle:
- Brake System
- Coupling Devices
- Exhaust System
- Fuel System
- Lighting Devices
- Safe Loading
- Steering Mechanism
- Wheels and Rims
- Windshield Glazing
- Windshield Wipers
- Motorcoach Seats
Each of these sections contains specific requirements that an inspector will focus on in order to pass your vehicle. For more information on the requirements for each section, review the Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards here.
Not surprisingly, the Brake System section has the most inspection requirements that an inspector must look into. Remember, the purpose of this inspection is for the safety of the driver and others on the road, so while it may seem excessive, safety is of the utmost importance.
How to Prep for a DOT Truck Inspection
Understanding what to expect will not only help you to be prepared for inspection, but it will also keep you safer on the road. Keeping an eye out for issues in any of the areas above will help you to proactively fix these areas of concern, even when you aren’t prepping for an inspection.
When you are preparing for an inspection, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- You know your vehicle, and in most cases a visual test is sufficient. However, when it comes to prepping for an inspection, it may be best to use more than just your eyes. For example, deflation in your tires over time is reasonable, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to detect it day after day. Use a digital tire pressure gauge to measure your tire pressure more precisely.
- Another time that the visual test won’t cut it is when it comes to testing your lights – and by that we mean you need a second set of eyes. Have someone help you out with this to ensure that all lights (headlights, brake lights, etc.) are all in working order. Not only will this help you to pass your inspection, it will also keep you and other drivers safer when out on the road.
Inspection Checks You May Not Know About
When looking at a full truck inspection checklist, there may be some areas on the list that may surprise you. So, it’s important to know the inspection list as well as you can in order to prepare properly for your inspection.
There are a couple areas that are easily overlooked, so take a look at the list below to make sure you prepped and ready:
- Ensure that you keep record of your annual and periodic inspections, this includes post-trip inspection reports.
- Paperwork is just as important as the state of the vehicle. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork together and ready at the time of the inspection.
- Along with a record of inspections over the past 14 months, it’s important that you also have a record of driver logs.
- Have your drug and alcohol test results ready as well.
If you make sure to check your vehicle regularly and prepare all the necessary documentation, you are sure to have a successful inspection. Still got questions? Be sure to give us a call.