Posted on 07/14/2015 at 10:43 AM by Dena Boelter
Hi, I am Trucker Ned. I started driving a truck when cab over trucks were king and some drivers (me), drove all week, worked on the truck on the weekend, hand washed truck and maybe even changed the tires (and loved every minute). Many things have changed, but the basic premise of on time pickup and delivery, safe transport and driver responsibility for the truck and the load have not. Along the way, I learned one or two things and like to discuss these highlights with other professional drivers.
You know, they say breakfast is the most important part of the day. As a truck driver, that breakfast may come anytime in the 24 hour period. Your pre-trip inspection, is important too, no matter what part of the day it occurs.
So let’s talk about pre trip inspection. Notice the emphasis on pre. That means before you start your trip. Now, I will add here that you also need to do a post-trip inspection and I highly encourage you to do a walk around and check tires, lights and other critical areas every time you stop for fuel or to eat. Finding problems before you move is good in many ways. First, you can't get a ticket if you find it and get it fixed it first.
Second, your trip is likely beginning in one of four places. That would be the Homestead yard, the shipper, the consignee or some truck stop in between. In most cases, in many of these locations, you have a shop nearby or at least are in an urban area with service not too far away. Beats sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere waiting for a service vendor to show up. If you happen to be an intermodal driver, checking the trailer completely before departing the rail yard is doubly important. Trailer issues found at the rail yard are fixed and paid for by the rail road or equipment owner. Once off their property, all repairs are paid for by the carrier pulling the trailer.
Now a pre-trip is not complete without walking slowly around the truck, looking high and low, checking tires, lights, brakes. Look for oily or otherwise wet areas that weren’t that way the last time you looked and be on the lookout for shiny areas.
And by the way, the hood needs to be up, so you can check fluid levels, belts and exhaust connections. You know, these new trucks with that after treatment stuff won’t regen properly if there is any exhaust leak between the turbo and the after treatment module. Look for smoke at the joints while the truck is running or black charred areas where exhaust is leaking. Oil running down your tire does not mean an oily dog is somewhere near. It probably means you have a hub seal leaking. Oil leaking onto the outside part of the wheel usually means a leaking fill plug or a bad flange gasket.
To summarize, finding problems early and in a place where repairs are more easily completed and for less money makes great sense. If you need any help with pre-trip procedures, the guys running the Don Hummer Trucking Safety Lane can provide tips and training. Maybe even coffee and donuts.
Until next time, your friend Trucker Ned