Summer is now behind us and truckers across the U.S. are regularly facing colder temperatures and varying road conditions with fall in full swing. With that in mind, it's a good idea to make sure you're doubling down on your pre-trip inspections to ensure every part of your vehicle is in great working order and will help get you to your destination safely and at the right time.
The following tips should help you stay on course and on schedule:
1) Start with the wheels
The part of your big rig that's literally where the rubber meets the road is probably the most important to check on a regular basis, according to All Trucking. You will need to look at everything from the shape of the tires to how secure the lug nuts are, but as a general rule, you can tell a lot about how well your vehicle will perform by giving the wheels a good once-over.
2) Check all fluid levels
As you would with your personal vehicle before a big trip, you need to make sure your truck has all the fluids it needs before heading out, All Trucking added. That includes everything from transmission fluid and oil to brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid. Running low on any of them over the course of your trip could present more problems than you expect.
3) Examine all reflectors, test all lights
While your big rig will no doubt be easy to see in the daytime, that's not the case at night, so you need to make sure you're as visible as possible, according to Big Road. Ensuring all your lights and reflectors are in good shape will help guarantee you're easy to spot even when there are no street lights, keeping both you and other motorists safe. As such, you should make sure you don't need to replace or clean off any reflectors, and that your headlights, high beams, brake lights and turn signals are in proper working order.
4) Keep it clean
Both the inside and outside of your truck should be nice and clean before you head out on your next trip, Big Road added. That often means hosing down the exterior and clearing whatever debris may have piled up during your last run - soda bottles, food wrappers, etc. - out of your cab. While not all of this is going to have an impact on issues like safety, it's nonetheless important to keep your truck clean.
5) Connect the cords
All your various air lines and electrical cords need to be carefully checked to make sure they're properly attached, according to Cover Wallet. If they aren't, reattaching them or replacing them might not be all that difficult in most situations. If more complicated issues arise, you will have an opportunity to get it repaired.
6) Listen to the engine
There's likely no one who knows what your truck "should" sound like more than you, according to Cover Wallet. Start it up, rev the engine a bit and see if it sounds normal. If so, you should be good to go, but if not, get it checked out before you hit the road.
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