Pre-trip inspections ensure your vehicle is safe for the road, reducing risk to you, your truckload, and other motorists on the highway. If an accident occurs or if you’re stopped by police, you’ll want to make sure all your ducks are in a row to avoid potential liability or penalties. The best semi-truck seats on the market might keep you safe and protected on long trips, but they don’t cover all your compliance and safety needs.


Truck accessories


Preparation can ensure your inspection goes off without a hitch and that you can hit the road as soon as possible. When preparing your vehicle for a pre-trip inspection, make sure you have all of the bases covered.

  • Start with your wheels– Chock your wheels to keep them steady and prevent them from moving as you inspect them. Check the lug nuts and tighten them if necessary. Next, check the condition of your tires to ensure they’re acceptable. If there is uneven and/or excessive wear, address it right away. Steering tires should have a minimum tread depth of 4/32”. Check for nails in the treads or abrasions, bulges, or cuts in the side wall, and make sure the 5th wheel is coupled to the trailer.
  • Test the Brakes – A brake check is an essential part of an 18-wheeler pre-trip inspection. Check that the parking brake engages properly, and then test the brake pedal by moving five feet forward; then stop with the vehicle in gear and motor off. Conduct an applied test to check for pressure leaks and if the buzzer and warning light activate when air pressure drops below 60 psi. Pump emergency and spring brakes down to 40 psi and raise idle and air pressure; the governor should kick in at 120-140 psi.
  • Pop the hood– Your engine should be on the pre-trip inspection list. Much of what can go wrong during an inspection involves what’s under the hood. Get in there and make sure everything is in good order. Check oil and coolant fluid levels. Every driver pre-trip inspection must include a look for:
    • Oil, coolant, fuel, and power steering fluid leaks.
    • The radiator, power steering fluid, and oil filler dip sticks are properly seated.
    • Leaks on the engine block and damaged hoses or fan belts.
    • Missing pieces on fan blades.
    • Exposed, bare wires or misconnections.
    • Low windshield wiper fluid levels.
    • Lubrication of shock absorbers, ball joints, and king pins.
    • Loose caps and covers; if so, tighten them.
  • Make sure your paperwork is in order – Paperwork hassles are the worst. Before your pre-trip inspection, be sure that you have all the necessary documentation. Organize your binders and keep them in a safe, clean place where you’ll remember they are in case you need them quickly.




  • Check your lights and reflectors– Defective reflectors and lights can get you a ticket, and they could possibly contribute to an accident. Big trucks need to be visible, especially at night, to avoid getting into accidents. As part of your pre-trip ritual, check all lights and reflectors and make sure they’re in top shape.

During this part of the inspection, turn on your marker lights and headlights and do a walk-around, checking the front, rear, and both sides of the truck. Check the rear and sides of the trailer as well. With the help of your examiner, check the function of brake lights, left/right turn signals, four-way flashers, and high/low beams.

  • Be methodical– Going step by step in your inspection may cost time now, but it can help you avoid greater delays later caused by accidents, equipment failures, or getting stopped by the police. A few extra minutes at the start of a trip can shave hours off its end.

Suburban Seating & Safety is a family-owned aftermarket auto seats and truck accessory company. In business since 1947, Suburban Seating & Safety has built a reputation for offering a wide selection of replacement truck seats and accessories from top manufacturers and ensuring customers’ specific needs are met. To learn more, call 1-844-SAS-SEAT.


Pre-trip inspectionSemi-truck inspection tipsTruck safety