Pre Trip Vehicle Inspection: Why and How
Regardless of whether you are learning to drive or have been driving for years, new or old vehicle, regardless of the shape your vehicle is in, it needs to be inspected every day before you drive out. Depending on the situation, it may also require checks if there is a shift or driver change. This daily check includes two separate inspections — a circle and an operations inspection.
As the name implies, the first thing all drivers should do is walk around their vehicles and see if anything could potentially be a problem. You should first want to take note of anything in or around the vehicle as well as its overall condition. The vehicle must be well maintained and reasonably clean. You also want to move anything out of the way that may be on the ground.
The inner workings of the vehicle need to be checked on a daily basis. The battery and cables need to be in good shape and working in top form. The connections should be snug with no fraying and the battery should be held in place. It should also be fully charged with full cells and ready to go. Chain anchor pins, hoses, nuts, bolts, and other items should all be in place and in good condition. Safety items like seatbelts, horns, and lights all need to work properly and have no sign of wear.
Once the driver has completed the circle check, it is time to inspect the actual operating mechanisms of the vehicle. In all, the brake systems need to be working perfectly before use. Also, ensure that the handbrake is working properly. The parking brake should hold when the slightest bit of throttle is applied and the foot brake should bring you to a smooth stop in a reasonable amount of distance.
When it comes to driving the vehicle, it should be able to steer with a reasonable amount of force and be smooth. It should also shift without hesitation of extreme movements from the clutch or gears. Next, move the vehicle back and forward all the way in both directions. All of the movements should be smooth and should hold in position. Once this is complete, listen for anything unusual and check the hydraulics for leakage.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a new vehicle, a used one, or how long you have been driving it. These checks are the only things that stand between a productive day and a dangerous situation. Vehicles are a valuable machine, and by maintaining them and keeping them in top condition, you can enjoy them for years to come without incident.
Still not sure how to perform a proper pre-trip vehicle inspection?
Consider taking a driving lesson with us and we can go over the necessary details with you.