Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection Basics

Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection Basics – If you want to keep your assets on the road and working well, pre- and post-trip inspections are critical. These can also help you avoid violations and fines as part of roadside inspections, as mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Drivers must perform these inspections before heading out each day as well as when they return. Pre- and post-trip inspections are even more important if your fleet has older assets.

Inspection Forms

You should use a standard inspection form as the driver conducts each check so nothing is missed. It’s important to be systematic. The driver should start at the front left side of the truck, then continue all the way around the truck so nothing gets overlooked. Paper checklists are better than nothing, but digital ones on smartphones or tablets are the best option for accountability and tracking.


The FMSA has a checklist all drivers can abide by in order to cover key areas of your truck.

  • First, drivers should check the truck’s general condition, being on the lookout for obvious issues and noting them, then report them on the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) so that repairs and corrections can be made.
  • Drivers should also check fluid levels, including coolant, engine, and transmission.
  • They must then take a look at the condition of hoses, belts, wires, batteries, and electrical connections. Pay particular attention to slipping belts, loose connections, fraying hoses, and wear and tear.
  • Trailers should be inspected as well to look for signs of improper maintenance, such as insecure air lines, missing mud flaps, and inoperable lights (this is a common reason for the Department of Transportation (DOT) inspector to pull you over for an immediate roadside inspection).
  • Always check that all your lights (low-beam headlights, four-way flashers, high-beams, and tractor/trailer lights) are in good working order.
  • Check all gauges and controls inside the cab, and make sure all brakes, including service and parking, work properly.

Sometimes it’s wise to conduct refresher training on pre- and post-trip inspections for your drivers. Why not do it now?

Taylor Oil can ensure your fueling operations are up to snuff, so get in touch today to see what we offer in terms of on-site fueling and more.