How to Conduct Efficient Vehicle Inspections

3 June 2016 - By Eugene Herbert

Intrinsic to any of
MasterDrive training interventions is the need to ensure that the vehicle being
driven is roadworthy, and safe to drive. Surprisingly, many participants don’t
know what should be checked or the reason why it is necessary. 

Any good fleet management
program should allow for both Pre- and Post-trip vehicle inspections in fleets
of all sizes and types. Clearly, from a training experience, most fleet
managers don’t provide the training necessary for fleet drivers to understand
what to assess and, more importantly, how to determine if something is
wrong with the vehicle.

Knowing where to look
and understanding the difference between a properly functioning vehicle versus
one that is not, could be encountering any number of issues - such as low tyre
pressure - helps avoid vehicle breakdowns and could, potentially, save a
driver’s life.

Knowing the Vehicle

For a fleet driver to
conduct a proper vehicle inspection, he or she needs to get familiarized with
the vehicle, with the best time during the new driver orientation. By
integrating this step into a driver orientation program, newly recruited
drivers will get to know the vehicle and gauge how their driving habits should
change, based on the size of the vehicle and its purpose.

Evidence suggests that
the better care the driver takes of the vehicle, the longer the vehicle will
last and the better the vehicle and its parts will wear. What is more, the
driver reduces the likelihood of getting into a crash...

It’s vital that a
routine is set for the fleet driver to conduct the pre- and post-trip vehicle
inspection. For the fleet drivers to easily remember the routine it should
consist of seven to nine steps. As the fleet driver continually performs these
inspections, they will become a habit.

Testing the drivers’
knowledge of an appropriate vehicle inspection is also helpful; it will show
fleet managers whether the drivers are actually conducting the inspections and
if they are checking all the key components.

Identifying Where to

Familiarizing the
driver to the vehicle is the first step; the next is showing him or her where
to look and how to identify when a component is not working properly.

An efficient vehicle
inspection should require checking the engine compartment, doing a walk-around
inspection, and an in-cab inspection.

Tools the driver should
have on-hand or in the vehicle to aid during the inspection process are a tyre
pressure gauge, tyre depth gauge, gloves, and a flash light.

Where the fleet runs
delivery vehicle, the vehicle inspection should also include load securement.

A proper vehicle
inspection should take five to seven minutes for passenger or light-delivery

Since tyres are the
contact points - however small - a vehicle has with the road it is important
that due care be shown when checking them – these extra point should be of

Safety Tips

Inspect visually. Regularly look
for visual signs of potential tyre issues, which may include under-inflation,
damage, or uneven wear. Inspect tires before a long trip to help avoid
unnecessary delays or expenses.

Know your target. Find and adhere
to the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, which is located in the
vehicle’s driver-side door jamb.

 Tyre pressures fluctuate with temperature changes.
Check pressures when tyres are cold (in the morning) at least once a month and
following significant changes in temperature. Use an easy-to-read digital gauge
for accuracy

Rotate and balance. Achieve maximum
life and performance from tyres by rotating them plus / minus every 10,000km.
Also, balance tyres periodically to help minimize uneven wear and extend tread

Don’t overload. Avoid loading
tires past their recommended rating. Excessive weight can weaken tyres and potentially
lead to blowouts.  

Avoid obstructions. Steer clear of
large potholes, curbs, or other objects when possible to avoid potential tyre

If drivers manage their
vehicles using these guidelines not only will the company benefit but they too could
benefit from it as a well looked after vehicle will better be equipped to avoid
a crash.

Till next time - Take 5
and check your vehicle – make it a habit.

Eugene Herbert

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