DOT Inspections: What You Need to Know
As per the regulations set by the Department of Transportation (DOT), it is mandatory for every semi truck, which falls under the category of commercial motor vehicles, to undergo an inspection every 12 months. This inspection must be conducted by a qualified inspector who possesses the necessary training or certification to inspect and maintain commercial motor vehicles.
It’s important to note that individual states may have additional requirements in addition to the national regulations. Therefore, it is advisable to visit your state’s government website for detailed information. If you’re unfamiliar with the process of your first semi truck inspection, the following list will provide you with insights on how to prepare effectively. Additionally, it highlights some lesser-known DOT truck inspection and DOT trailer inspection checks that many truckers may not be aware of.
Main Components of a Commercial Truck Inspection
There are 14 main areas that inspectors will focus on when inspecting your commercial motor vehicle:
- Brake System
- Coupling Devices
- Exhaust System
- Fuel System
- Lighting Devices
- Safe Loading
- Steering Mechanism
- Wheels and Rims
- Windshield Glazing
- Windshield Wipers
- Motorcoach Seats
Every section of the inspection process encompasses distinct criteria that the inspector will scrutinize to determine the vehicle’s compliance. For detailed information regarding the requirements of each section, it is advisable to refer to the Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards.
Unsurprisingly, the Brake System section entails the highest number of inspection requirements that an inspector must carefully examine. It is important to remember that the primary objective of this inspection is to ensure the safety of the driver and other road users. While the number of requirements may appear extensive, prioritizing safety is crucial.
How to Prep for a DOT Truck Inspection
Having a clear understanding of what to anticipate during the inspection process will not only help you adequately prepare but also contribute to maintaining a higher level of safety while on the road. Being aware of potential issues in the aforementioned areas will empower you to take proactive measures in addressing any concerns, even outside of designated inspection periods. By staying vigilant and addressing potential problems promptly, you can ensure a safer and more efficient driving experience.
When preparing for an inspection, there are a couple of important factors to keep in mind:
- Visual inspections are generally sufficient for many aspects of your vehicle, including checking for external damage, tire condition, and fluid leaks. However, it can be beneficial to use additional tools and methods to ensure thorough inspection. For instance, while you may visually inspect your tires, it can be challenging to detect gradual deflation over time. Using a digital tire pressure gauge will provide more precise measurements and help identify any pressure abnormalities that might affect your safety on the road.
- Testing your lights is another critical area where visual inspection alone may not be enough. It is recommended to have a second person assist you in checking all lights, including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights, to ensure they are in proper working order. This not only increases your chances of passing the inspection but also enhances overall safety for you and other drivers on the road. A comprehensive lighting check should also include verifying the proper functioning of reflective tape and markers, as well as ensuring that all lighting components are clean and undamaged.
Inspection Checks You May Not Know About
To adequately prepare for your inspection, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the full semi truck inspection checklist. Being aware of all the areas and requirements on the list will help you prepare properly and ensure a smoother inspection process.
There are a couple of areas specific to semi trucks that are easily overlooked, so take a look at the list below to make sure you’re prepped and ready:
- Ensure that you keep a record of your annual and periodic inspections for your semi truck, including post-trip inspection reports.
- Paperwork is just as important as the state of the vehicle. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork specific to your semi truck together and ready at the time of the inspection.
- Along with a record of inspections over the past 14 months, it’s important that you also have a record of driver logs specific to your semi truck.
- Have your drug and alcohol test results ready as well, which is applicable to all commercial motor vehicles including semi trucks.
By making sure to check your semi truck regularly and prepare all the necessary documentation, you are sure to have a successful inspection.
That’s why all of our semi trucks undergo DOT inspections to ensure that they are in top-notch condition and once you buy it, you can easily get to work right away, without wasting time on anything
Contact us today to learn more about our available options and how we can help you meet your transportation needs.