A Pre-Trip Checklist for Semi Trucks

A thorough pre-trip vehicle checklist is an essential part of semi truck maintenance in Ocala, FL. If you can catch problems before taking a multi-state drive and breaking down somewhere remote, you will save money by avoiding late deliveries, towing expenses and unexpected repairs. Fortunately, your drivers do not need specialized knowledge to complete these lists—only a little time to save more time later. Here are five items for your pre-trip checklist:

  • Tires: Tires account for at least one third of semi truck maintenance. Check air pressure and tread. If there are any leaks or other alarming signs, do not release the semi truck for travel until the tires receive a full inspection. Check and confirm when the truck last received new tires. This step is vital if the tread is low or uneven. It could have an axle or alignment issue as well. Blown tires lead to major accidents and delivery delays, so it’s not worth the risk to drive on compromised tires.
  • Fluids: Check fluid levels under the hood. Trucks should have adequate coolant, antifreeze, oil and fuel levels before drivers start their route. Also, check for leaks under the truck. If the driver finds fluid buildup, they should refer the semi truck for further repairs. Once fluid levels and the lack of leaks are confirmed, turn on the ignition and see if temperature, air pressure and oil pressure gauges work correctly.
  • Wiring and electric system: Test all lights, including turn signals, headlights, flashers, clearance lights, brake lights and warning lights. They should all illuminate, and if not, it is time to change out bulbs. Check wires on electrical components and the battery for wear and tear. If the battery is old or recently underwent challenging conditions (like a long cold-weather route), test it and confirm that it holds a charge.
  • Brakes: Parking and standard brakes need a noticeable lining. If there is no lining, they are not safe, and the semi truck needs a repair appointment. Also, check for leaks in the air pressure systems and see if there are any air pressure warnings on the cab dashboard. Test alarms and make sure the parking brakes turn on automatically. If there are any questions about the brakes whatsoever, pull the semi out of commission and assign the driver a new one. Like tires, brakes are never worth the risk.
  • Service records: Like all vehicles, semi trucks need a regular maintenance schedule. Before it goes out on the road, check and confirm that tire rotation, oil changes, transmission service, tune-ups, cooling system service and other regular checkup items are covered. If any of these services are off schedule and need completion soon, take care of that before starting the route. Also, if pre-trip checks or maintenance appointments revealed issues, confirm that your repair shop addressed them.

J & M Trailer Repair offers a variety of semi truck maintenance services. We also provide roadside assistance, and we can help you design a pre-trip vehicle checklist for your fleet in Ocala, FL. Call us today to schedule an appointment.