Inspection Requirements for Tractor Trailers

Purchasing, owning, and operating a tractor trailer is an exciting time for many individuals and investors. At LittleJohn Tanks we offer a variety of new used vehicles for people to carry both liquid, solid, and toxic materials. We believe that tractor trailers are an important part of the United States Economy; however, the vehicles are also prone to accidents due to their size and load. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has laid down certain requirements for the maintenance and ongoing inspection of tractor trailers. If you are thinking about purchasing or leasing a tractor trailer, then the following is an introductory guide into some of the guidelines and requirements in place for tractor trailer operators.

According to the FMCSA guidelines, tractor trailer drivers are required by law to perform an inspection before, during, and after a trip in order to catch any defects in their early stages. This law is supposed to prevent from tractor trailer operators from getting into serious accidents due to the often sensitive and harmful contents that they carry.

Pre-Trip Tractor Trailer Inspection

During a pre-trip inspection, drivers are required to take a visual and operational assessment of the vehicle. The process generally starts when a driver walks around the vehicle in order to record the overall condition of the frame and wheels. Drivers typically want to look for structural damage, as well as any fluid, such as water, oil or gas, that may be leaking from the engine. In addition, drivers should check the engine by turning the ignition and allowing the tractor trailer to idle and warm up. If the driver notices any unusual engine noises or sees any unusual marks on the engine then they should take their tractor trailer in for servicing or report it to the owner. The driver should also check all the necessary components, such as the compressor belt, engine fan, gauges, steering wheel, windshield wipers, horns, lights, as well as the front and wheel tires and brakes. Tractor trailer operators can get a full list of the FMCSA guidelines in order to make sure they are in compliance with the law and are safe to operate their vehicle.

En-Route Tractor Trailer Inspection

Although a proper inspection prior to leaving on a trip helps to protect a driver against unexpected issues damages can still be sustained while on the road. A driver should make periodic stops on their trip, especially if it is a long journey, in order to make sure the system is still running smoothly. If a driver notices any external or internal damages then the driver should not continue driving the vehicle and wait until a mechanic can fix it. A driver can go through the pre-trip check procedure at each stop in order to make sure things will continue to run smoothly.

Post-Trip Tractor Trailer Inspection

Tractor trailer drivers are also required by law to inspect their vehicle following the completed of a run. The operator should make note of any problems or vulnerable areas of the vehicle in order to keep track of the tractor trailer’s overall health. These three activities are required by law to be carried on each daily run. If you work for a tractor trailer company, or are thinking about starting a fleet of drivers, then you should prepare a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report so that you can keep track of any necessary repairs.

Ongoing and annual check-ups can help increase the longevity of your tractor trailer, as well as safeguard you and your drivers from unexpected accidents caused by damage sustained by the truck. It is important that you find a mechanic who is certified according to the requirements of the Department of Transportation so that you can make sure you are in compliance with the law.

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