A pre-trip inspection is a DOT Required Safety Inspection. It is your basic inspection and it will be taught as you are getting your CDL. As part of your owner operator job you need to check everything on your truck; you check the tire pressures, truck fluids, tire pressures, the trailer, and basically everything else. Your truck is getting worked hard every day and as such requires that you take good care of it.
The pre-trip inspection is so important that it could save your life. Time is very valuable for an owner operator truck driver, but a pre-trip inspection is not just something that goes into your logbook or just another Department of Transportation requirement. The pre-trip inspection will save you a lot of time and probably a trip to the truck repair shop. Owner operator truck drivers who don’t do the pre-trip inspection can go through a new set of tires after 2 months. And those who perform their pre-trip inspection will have tires worn only by one point in the same 2 months. That’s a huge difference and the small amount of time spent doing this inspection saves a lot of time, money, and stress in the end. In extreme cases, the pre-trip can save your life. What if during the pre-trip inspection you found your brake lines leaking? What is you hadn’t caught this before you started driving?
You should conduct a pre-trip inspection at least once per day. The best time to do the pre-trip inspection is before any trip. So first thing in the morning as an owner operator review your semi-truck and make sure everything is in order. It’s also a good idea to do this inspection before any trip. If you’re getting loaded or unloaded and have the time, do your pre-trip inspection. This is also a good time to get into some minor maintenance, like changing light bulbs or cleaning out your truck.
You need to remember that when you have an owner operator job, time is money. There are several inspections that you have to do and the most important is the pre-trip inspection, however, to protect yourself you have to do the post-trip inspection. It has value when it comes to truck maintenance. It saves you time. Ideally, you don’t want to wait to find something wrong with your truck before your day is about to begin. You want to find the problem before your break, that way your truck is being fixed while you are off duty.
Similar to the pre-trip Inspection, It will only take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete the post-trip inspection. However, you want to give yourself enough time to get to a truck repair shop if your truck does have something wrong with it. There is no sense in finding something wrong with your semi and then waiting for the next 10 hours until you can get it to a truck repair shop. Depending on where you decide to stop it is a good idea to give yourself about 30 to 40 minutes to do the post-trip inspection. Setting time aside for your inspection is also part of your owner operator job.