Firing Up the Big Rig? Make Sure You’re Good to Go

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: December 21, 2020

Operating a commercial vehicle is a big responsibility. Before heading off on a long-distance trip, you should always take the time to inspect your vehicle and load carefully. By taking just a few minutes to check everything, you’ll enjoy smoother rides and fewer problems down the road. Sure, there is always going to be a risk of something going wrong, but inspections help minimize those problems nicely.

Things to Look For

During a routine inspection, it’s important to look at most of the basic elements of the vehicle and the things that are known to wear out.

Hoses – Always take the time to look over the engine hoses and take a quick look for any liquid puddling below the vehicle. Fluid on the ground is a good indicator that you have a leaky hose and an issue that needs to be resolved.

Fluid Levels – Fluids such as oil, power steering and coolant are vital in keeping your truck running properly. That’s why it’s so important to check these levels every time before you head out. It takes just a few minutes to do this, and doing so will help you spot problems before they are serious issues.

Belts – Belts are known for wearing out and when they break serious problems are bound to follow. Inspect the belts looking for cracks and frays. Belts are found on the power steering, alternator, A/C compressor and water pump, just to name the most common ones.

Tires – In terms of safety, the condition of your tires may be the most critical element. Check for proper inflation and any signs of wear. The success of your journey literally comes down to where the rubber meets the road.

Load – Take a minute to look over the load that’s being transported making sure that it’s secured properly and that nothing is going to shift or fall after the driving begins. This is especially important to do if other people are responsible for loading and securing your vehicle between trips. Take a few minutes to look over the load to make sure that nothing is going to happen to it along the way.

The Importance of an Inspection

When you take the time to conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle before making a trip, it accomplishes two things. The first is that it ensures that you don’t have common problems with your vehicle because you looked out for signs that could be occurring. Secondly, as long as you keep records of your inspection findings, it proves that you are a thorough operator and that you take safety seriously. Such records can help with insurance claims and driving issues in the future should you run into any.

A thorough inspection doesn’t take more than 15 minutes, and it’s the most important thing you can do if you want to remain safe throughout your trip. Take a bit of time and look over your commercial vehicle and the load before you take a trip, it just makes sense to do so.