What do you actually check on a pre-trip inspection?

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by expedite_it, Sep 10, 2023.

  1. expedite_it

    expedite_it Road Train Member

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    On my thread "Can a bent wheel rim prevent the trailer tandem pins from going in when knob is pulled" the topic of conversation soon became what one should do on a pre-trip inspection. I found this interesting, and I think that the topic of pre-trip inspections is worthy of its own thread.

    There are only thirteen things I always check when I am pre-tripping a tractor-trailer. There are two other things that I check on a pre-trip in certain situations.

    I check the following thirteen things whenever I pre-trip a tractor-trailer:

    1# check all lights on the tractor and trailer
    2#check the oil level
    3# check the coolant level
    4#do a visual inspection of the tread depth on the steer tires and the drive tires. I check that none of the trailer tires are completely blown out. But other than that, I don't check the tread depth of the trailer tires.
    5#use my air pressure gauge to check the air pressure in the steer tires
    6# thump all the tires except the steer tires with a hammer
    7# check the drive tires for axle gasket leaks from the outside (as opposed to crawling underneath the trailer and checking for axle gasket leaks on the inside)
    8# check the steer wheels and the trailer wheels for hub oil seal leaks from the outside
    9# check that the mud flaps are not torn
    10# check that the trim on the trailer doors is intact so that rain cannot get in the trailer
    11# check that the trailer doors are properly latched at the top. If the top of the trailer doors is not latched properly, rain could get in the trailer.
    12# do a visual inspection to make sure that the air lines on the truck are properly connected to the glad hands on the trailer and make sure that the green electrical line is properly connected onto the electrical box on the trailer
    13# Make sure that nobody has pulled my 5th wheel handle to sabotage my trailer

    There are three additional things that I sometimes pre-trip depending on if it is applicable to the situation:

    14# If I am picking up an empty trailer, I open the trailer doors and look inside the trailer to confirm that the trailer is empty
    15# If I am driving a truck that has a trolley valve, I will use the trolley valve to test the trailer brakes. But right now I drive for a mega, and there is no trolley valve in the semi-truck I drive now.
    16# whenever I drop a trailer, I check that the glad hand seals are in good condition

    I don't crawl underneath the trailer to make sure that the inner rims on the trailer tires or drive tires are bent. And I don't crawl underneath the trailer to check for a hub oil seal leak on the inner part of the wheel.

    On my "Bent wheel rim" thread, Long FLD said that the hub oil seal is on the inside part of the hub oil seal. I had never heard of this before today. Do you people agree with Long FLD that the hub oil seal is on the inside part of the wheel? If so, how did you learn this in the first place? I've been trucking for 9 years. I have seen hub oil seal leaks on the outside of both steer wheels and the outside of trailer wheels. I have never heard of hub oil seal leaks being on the inner part of the wheel before today. Maybe that's because I am not a mechanic.

    Can drive wheels have axle gasket leaks from the inner part of the wheel too?

    Can the wheels on the steering axle have hub oil seal leaks from the inside part of the wheel too? If so, how could you see the leak? It's hard to get underneath the truck.

    I pre-trip those 13 things before I start every single shift. I've had fleet managers tell me not to do a thorough pre-trip before so that I can more quickly get to a shipper or a receiver or to a repower, and I have always done the pre-trip anyway. When I was a team driver, I had several teammates gripe about me doing a pre-trip. I have a reputation for being a very thorough pre-tripper in the real world. But on the other thread, people said that I'm lazy and incompetent for not crawling underneath the trailer to inspect things on a pre-trip. Most of my teammates usually did no pre-trip whatsoever on the truck ever, and they did no pre-trip whatsoever on the trailer except when they pick up new trailers.

    What do you think about my list of things that I do on a pre-trip?

    What do you check on a pre-trip inspection that I don't check?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2023
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  3. expedite_it

    expedite_it Road Train Member

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    It just occurred to me that when I drive a truck without a trolley valve (like I do now) I don't check anything related to the brakes at all except to make sure that both airlines are properly connected to the glad hands, and I check the glad hand seals when I drop a trailer.

    Before anyone starts condemning me, the vast majority of drivers don't do any pre-trip at all.

    P.S. And I monitor the air pressure when I am sitting in the driver's seat, but that's part of the in cab and driving. This thread is about pre-tripping outside the truck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2023
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  4. expedite_it

    expedite_it Road Train Member

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    When I am picking up pre-loaded trailers at shippers, I have picked up a sealed trailer with the trailer doors not properly latched at the top of the trailer over 20 times in my nine year career. I always report that improperly latched trailer door to the clerk in the shipping office or to the guard, and they always give me a new seal so I can open the trailer doors and properly close the trailer doors with the trailer doors latched at the top, and then I put the new seal on the trailer. You don't want to just assume that the trailer doors are properly latched at the top on a pre-loaded trailer. Rain could get in the trailer and damage the freight.

    Yes, at least 20 times.
     
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  5. wichris

    wichris Road Train Member

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    Gaskets mate two surfaces together. Seals rotate around a shaft. There are no seals on the outside, only gaskets. All axles have seals.
    9 years and not knowing what a wheel seal is?
     
  6. Big Road Skateboard

    Big Road Skateboard Road Train Member

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  7. Lennythedriver

    Lennythedriver Road Train Member

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    I generally check everything on the list. But the stuff under the hood, I tend to save that for when I’m fueling. It’s just more convenient that way and if it’s at night time there’s proper lighting to check all the fluids in belts and everything. Cracks me up we’re supposed to do a post trip in some dirt lot in the middle of New Mexico at 3 AM in the morning. Yeah I know we all got flashlights but still it’s not the same. Pre-trip is really the main inspection that we truly need to focus on.
     
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  8. 062

    062 Road Train Member

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    Well today is your lucky day. I’ll let you have this beauty for a song…
    394A7D01-51B8-4134-975B-C07933816330.jpeg
     
  9. asphaltreptile311

    asphaltreptile311 Road Train Member

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    How much coffee is in my cup.
     
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  10. Big Road Skateboard

    Big Road Skateboard Road Train Member

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    I see where it looks like they put the jack so they could get to the lug nuts
     
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  11. lester

    lester Midwest's #1 Feed Hauler

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    Expedite_it, how long does it take you to.do your pre-trip?
     
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