Pretrip Instructions

Pre-trip Inspection Tools: (flashlight, gloves, tire bubby)


Look for any hazards to vehicle movement such as:

  • pedestrians
  • low hanging wires
  • tree limbs
  • other vehicles or objects

Check the overall vehicle condition. Note if the vehicle is leaning. Look for any damages, or puddles from fresh oil, transmission fluid, coolant, grease or fuel leaks under the vehicle.

Ensure there is a license plate present and secure.


Check service due date

Check for vehicle registration

Ensure safety handle is secure and steps are clear of debris before entering cab.

Ensure brakes are set

Review last vehicle inspection report. (Make sure the vehicle has been released for service by the maintenance mechanics, if applicable.

Put tachometer chart in, if equipped.

Check for Emergency Equipment: fire extinguisher, triangles, accident reporting kit, spare fuses

Check panel indicators

(Turn lights and flashers on) (if it is dark use the reflection to check brake lights, blinkers, high and low beams;

Unlock passenger door

3-point exit


Doors: (check lettering, dents, scratches; mirrors/mounts secure, clean, not cracked or broken; windows, door lock, door hinges work and secure, no missing parts and no damages)

Fuel tank: tank secure, no signs of slipping, damages or leaks; check fuel cap gasket present, cap secure, (ensure no damage to steps)

Hood/Fenders: check for damages, unlock, check hinges secure

Lights: Check head lights, marker lights, flashers (front and side), all lights should be clean, secure, working and correct color.

Front: Ensure bumper is secure with no damages; front tag present, clean and secure; grill clear and no damages; radiator is not blocked or damaged

Windshield wipers: step on steer tire to check wiper arms tension and condition ( ensure blades are not torn or frayed)


Check for fluid leaks on the motor or on the ground.

Steer Tires: Check for minimal tread depth of 4/32 on steer tires. Ensure no recaps on steer tires. Check for uneven wear patterns, foreign objects in tires or cuts to tire sidewalls. Ensure valve stems centered with no damages, valve stem covers present and secure. Ensure rims are not cracked, bent or welded on. Ensure lug nuts are present and secure. (Rust trails or shinny rubbing areas indicate loose lug nuts.) Ensure hub oil is at the correct level.

Brakes: Minimal brake lining is ¼ inch. Ensure there is no oil or grease on brake linings. Ensure brake linings are secure; brake drums have no cracks, dents or holes. Ensure brake chambers are secure, not leaking, cracked or dented with all bolts, nuts and cotter pins in place and secure. Ensure brake hoses are secure, not cracked, cut, worn or rubbing and no signs of leaking with no missing parts.

Suspension: Check leaf springs, spring hangers, bushings, bearing plates, shackles, U-bolts, torque rods, control arms and eye bolts to ensure all parts are secure with no missing, worn, cracked, broken, loose, distorted or damaged parts. Ensure there is no missing or loose bolts or nuts and no shifting of the leaf springs. Ensure the shock absorbers are secure and not leaking. Ensure bellows have no cuts, cracks or air leaks. Ensure bellow supports secure.

Frame: Check frame brackets, axles, axle seats, anchor plates and clamp bolts to ensure there are no damages and no missing, broken or cracked parts or welds.

Tractor Chassis: Ensure there is no damage to the tractor chassis/frame or cross members. Ensure there are no missing or loose bolts or nuts and no broken or cracked welds.

Steering Parts: Check steering ring knuckle, steering arms, tie rods, drag link, pitman arm, universal joint for bushing wear. Steering wheel shaft must be physically checked for play. Ensure steering gear box is secure and not leaking. Check steering linkage for wear or damaged parts; missing or loose bolts, nuts or cotter pins. Check steering joints for wear or looseness.

Fluids: Check engine oil, transmission oil (automatic transmission fluids need to be checked with engine running), coolant, windshield wash, and power steering fluid. Fluid levels must be above the refill mark and caps secured. Check brake fluid with hydraulic brakes.

Hoses: Ensure hose and couplings are secure with no leaks. Ensure hoses are not cracked, cut or rubbing.

Belts: The maximum belt play is ¾ inch. There should be no signs of slipping, cracking, fraying or excessive wear.

Electrical: Electrical wires should be secure with no bare wires and no corrosion.

Close and latch hood on both sides


Catwalk: secure and clear of debris

Airlines: Ensure airlines are secure, not crimped or cut; glad hands/coupler connections are secure and clear of debris; grommets/rubber seals are not damaged or worn

Battery Box: latched and not damaged (battery cells full, caps securely on, no corrosion on connections.

Under tractor: check for loose or hanging hoses or wiring

Differential: drive line not bent and clear of foreign objects, universal bushings not worn and secure, differential housing not leaking or damaged

No damage to tractor chassis/ frame, cross members, no missing or loose bolts, no broken or cracked welds

Tandems: tread minimum 2/32, no uneven or excessive wear spots, no foreign objects in or between tandems, no damages to sidewalls inside or out, no damage or welding on tire rims, all lug nuts present and secure, valve stem straight, cap present and secure

Fifth wheel: Fifth wheel mounting secure with no cracks; bolts present and secure on both sides; fifth wheel not cracked, broken, worn or missing parts; fifth wheel well greased, tilted downwards to the rear and locking jaws open and the safety unlocking handle in the automatic lock position

Fifth Wheel Slide: locked on both sides

Mud flaps: ensure mud flaps are present, secure, not damaged

Rear license plate: present, secure, clean and visible, license plate light present and working

Air dryer: secure, no damages

Exhaust pipe: secure, no damages, no signs of leaks (leak would show black soot at leak)

Check fire extinguisher: present, secure, service due date, correct issue, (10-BC) nozzle clear, needle in green range, safety pin in position

(check condition of passenger seat and seat belt, door, lock, window)

Check wiring under dash, foot controls clear of oil or grease, no loose items that can interfere with safe operation, seat mounting secure, no missing or loose bolts, seat belt mounting secure and buckle working.

The next section is the “Air Brake Inspection” so…