CRTS Insights

6 Things To Check On Your Equipment

Posted by David Shepherd on Feb 16, 2023 9:16:33 AM

Staying safe on the road is essential for any professional semi-truck driver. While it’s exciting to pick up your load and hit the road, a pre-trip inspection will keep you safe while delivering your load assignment and prevent possible delays at inspection points that could slow you down and cost you money.

It’s easy to get complacent, but when you’re operating a large commercial vehicle, skipping this step could end up costing you your career. Whether you’ve been driving for years or are new to the trucking industry, a pre-trip equipment check should be part of your regular routine.

But what should you check on your semi-trailer before hitting the road?

Check the following six things on your equipment, so you don’t run into surprises at inspection points. 

Remember that your inspection doesn’t need to be in this exact order. Develop a process that works for you so you never skip an inspection or miss anything important.

Download Our Equipment Checklist!

1. Brake Lines and Brake Shoe Linings

As a semi-truck driver, it is critical to regularly check your brake lines and brake shoe linings to avoid a catastrophe on the road. 

Several factors can cause brake lines to wear down, like persistent road debris or abrasion from long hauls or poor road conditions. Look for any kinks in the brake line or potential points of chafing. Ensure all connections are secure, and with the parking brake released, listen for any leaking sounds. 

While there are some tell-tale signs that your brake shoe linings may be wearing down, the best way to know if they need to be replaced on your tractor-trailer is to keep a running log. Each time you perform your equipment inspection, record the thickness of your brake shoe linings and compare them against the legal requirements for your vehicle. 

Inspecting brake lines and brake shoe linings is much easier to perform before hooking up to a trailer, but it can still be done with a trailer attached.

2. Lighting On Your Semi-Trailer

Poor lighting can wreak havoc on your visibility day and night and your ability to communicate with other motorists. 

It’s a good idea to develop a habit of checking your lighting daily, as you never know when a bulb can blow. Do a quick inventory of the following lights on your rig, and you’ll be safer on the road and will get through inspection points with less hassle. 

Turn on your semi truck and check that all lights are on and/or flashing.

  • Brake lights
  • Clearance lights
  • Turn signals
  • Flashers

3. Tire Wear On Your Semi-Trailer

The number one cause of semi-trailer tire debris on U.S. highways is improper tire pressure and irregular wear. So, keep tabs on your tires before dealing with a blown tire or the possibility of a hefty fine at an inspection point. 

Inspect your tires for any damage, like tears or slow leaks, that could contribute to a change in tire pressure while driving. Watch for over inflation, too, as this can also cause irregular tire wear. 

Don’t forget to include the axle hubcaps in your tire inspection. Ensure there are no leaks or visible damage, and keep hub oil above the required minimum levels for extra precaution.

4. Bushings On Suspension

Sometimes the smallest components can cause the most damage if not maintained. 

Whether your semi-trailer has leaf spring suspension or air spring suspension, bushings should be regularly greased and monitored for wear. If you notice a bushing is worn, replace it. It’s not worth testing it to see if it can survive another trip. 

While you’re checking the bushings, don’t neglect the airbags. If the rubber is worn or damaged, your airbags could lose air and impact the suspension. And properly functioning suspension serves many purposes while traveling on bumpy, unpredictable roads.

Enjoy a smoother ride, protect other equipment from getting bounced around, and deliver your cargo damage-free with a properly functioning suspension.

5. Landing Gear Operation

Your landing gear needs to be fully compliant to pass an inspection point. A thorough examination should include checking that it is fully functional and that the handle is securely stowed. 

Triple-check the bracing and crossbars for anything loose or bent. Even if you see something minor that won’t impede your ability to deliver your load, it’s worth noting and keeping an eye on. 

You want to avoid getting stuck on the road or at an inspection point with jammed landing gear. Check it often, and check it well.

6. All Doors On Your Commercial Trailer

The last thing you need is a door to come flying open while you’re cruising down the highway. Always inspect that doors are free of damage. They should close and seal to keep your cargo safe. This is especially critical if you’re transporting perishable goods in a refrigerated trailer.

CRTS Can Help You Stay Safe on the Road

When it comes to road safety, cutting corners is never worth it. Whether to help you effortlessly pass through an inspection point or get home safely to your family, keeping up with safety inspections is well worth the time and investment. 

If you notice during an equipment check that you require some maintenance, CRTS can help. 

We offer semi-trailer repair services at all five of our locations in the south Atlantic region. Call us to schedule a routine maintenance service or a specific repair so you can get back on the road quickly and safely.

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For 50 years, CRTS, Inc. has been a trusted partner to hundreds of transportation firms. We accomplished this by putting our customers first, providing unequaled service, and offering the best semi-trailer products available. 

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