Commercial Trucks: How Often Should You Inspect Them?

All vehicles need to be inspected periodically to ensure that they are operating safely and at optimal efficiency. However, commercial trucks often see more use than smaller passenger vehicles. This makes inspecting them frequently even more important. Read on to find out how often this process should be carried out.

When to Have a Truck Inspected

Every state has different laws regarding the inspection of commercial vehicles. However, federal law mandates that all commercial trucks undergo an official inspection once per year. If the truck fails, it can no longer be operated legally until the cause of the failure has been addressed. Fleet managers and truck owners are free to shop international truck parts online to save money but they can’t forgo the inspection entirely without expecting legal trouble.

Private Inspections

In most cases, fleet managers schedule regular inspections for all of their vehicles more frequently than once a year. They usually have trucks inspected any time it seems like something is amiss. Some companies also have policies in place that dictate inspections based on mileage or set time frames. As a general rule, the more often a truck is used, the more frequently it should be inspected.

What to Check

When it comes to state and federal requirements, the inspection criteria differ based on the size of the truck. The checklist is different for medium- and heavy-duty trucks vs. semi-trucks or 18-wheelers. Here’s what to expect during an official inspection:

Also Read – 5 Tips To Make Your Trucking Business More Sustainable

Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Inspections

Medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks must be inspected once per year. During these inspections, a technician will check:

  • Steering
  • Braking
  • Tires
  • Wheels
  • Electrical systems
  • Lighting
  • Fuel systems
  • Suspension
  • Windshield wipers and washers
  • Defrosters
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Odometer
  • Speedometer
  • Horns and other warning devices
  • Exhaust
  • Truck body
  • Chassis

Mechanics may also perform more comprehensive checks during private inspections. Scheduling a full inspection in addition to a basic annual safety inspection is a great way to make sure all of the trucks in a fleet are not just road-worthy but kept in the best possible condition.

Semi-Trucks and Tractor-Trailers

The Department of Motor Vehicles has different specific requirements for semi-truck and trailer inspections depending on where the vehicle is registered. However, most states include basic checks of:

  • Braking systems
  • Tires and wheels
  • Electrical systems
  • Lighting
  • Suspension
  • Glazing
  • Chassis
  • Truck body

As with medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks, vehicles that fail even one part of the inspection must be taken off the road until they have been fully repaired. At that point, they must be reinspected before being put back into use. Trucking companies and independent operators that fail to follow these regulations can be subjected to fines.

Why Inspections Are So Vital

Commercial trucks are large vehicles. If something goes wrong mechanically, it can pose a danger not just to the driver of the truck but also to all of the smaller vehicles around it. If a mechanical failure with a commercial vehicle leads to an accident, the driver or trucking company may be held liable for injuries and damages.

Keep America’s Roads Safe

Trucking companies and independent operators sometimes find inspection requirements frustrating. What they should keep in mind is that those inspections are required for a reason. Making sure that commercial trucks are in safe operational condition is one of many factors that help to keep America’s roads safe for everyone.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.