Although the following checklist is by no means exhaustive, thorough and complete, anyone working for haulage companies can use it to conduct a quick inspection to ensure that their vehicle (under normal circumstances) will be able to function correctly to fulfil the job.
Start Under the Hood
Assuming that the haulage companies’ vehicle is generally in good condition, you should start the inspection right where it matters most – under the hood. This involves starting with the vehicle’s operator’s manual (this is especially important for those who are not familiar with the model), which you will use to check anything you note about the vehicle against. The ‘big three’ should be inspected first: namely the condition of the fuel, oil and exhaust, and to check for any leakages. Continuing the theme, you should proceed on to checking the oil and fuel lines for chafing and kinks, as well as the oil level in the transmission. The knowledge of the existence of any leakage is crucial not only to ensure the proper function of the vehicle, but also to keep it safe. Check in places such as the radiator core, water pump, heater and all related connections.
Check the Electrical Aspects of the Truck
Most haulage companies-especially those that have recently upgraded their fleet or are newly established-use vehicles that are heavily reliant on electronic or electrical parts. This is why ensuring that this aspect of the vehicle is in good working condition is also crucial. When doing an inspection of the electrical components of your vehicle, start from the bottom up; test the basic electrical systems first before going up to the fancier aspects. For example, check the electrical connections, especially the mounting bolts, of the starter, the generator and the alternator-tighten them if needed. You must also inspect the generator commutator and brushes. After ensuring that everything is in order, proceed to inspecting such components as the on-board global positioning system (GPS) device, or any other navigational or safety-related device.
Battery and Brakes
Of course, just as important as ensuring your vehicle can be driven safely is the fact that it can also be stopped efficiently. So the next thing to inspect is the condition of the brakes, specifically checking the fluid level of the clutch and brake master cylinder, and topping up if needed. Also of utmost importance is the battery, which is the heart of the system and ironically often the one that is overlooked. When checking the battery’s condition, carefully remove the cables, clean the terminals, and then reinstall the cables, finishing up with a coat of petroleum jelly. Test the battery cells for specific gravity using a hydrometer, and also check the fluid level in each cell, adding distilled water if required.
While the above is not an exhaustive checklist, anyone who works in or runs haulage companies can benefit from a read through to ensure vehicles will function as desired on the next delivery job.