Truck Inspection Checklist

Perform efficient truck inspections and prove the road-worthiness of your trucks with a mobile app

heavy vehicle

Published 24 Jun 2022

What is a Truck Inspection?

A truck inspection, also known as DOT inspection or DOT truck inspection, is conducted by the Department of Transportation requiring all commercial motor vehicles (CMV) weighing more than 10,000 pounds to be evaluated in order to ensure that vehicle parts and accessories are safe and in good working condition. All CMV owners can prepare for and ace DOT inspections by performing regular checks with the use of truck inspection checklists.

Meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) truck inspection requirements maintains the excellent performance of vehicles and contributes to the prevention of road accidents and other costly problems resulting from failure to catch issues that could have been addressed during regular truck inspections.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

What are Truck Inspection Checklists?

Truck inspection checklists or heavy vehicle inspection checklists are tools used to check trucks for roadworthiness and ensure that all parts of your truck fleet are equipped to pass annual regulatory and DOT inspections. We have collated these free truck inspection checklist templates that you can download and use for your business. These checklists cover general heavy vehicle inspections, daily truck inspection checklists, driver training templates, driver drug and alcohol consent forms and accident report forms.

What is Checked Using a Truck Inspection Checklist?

The following are checked using a truck inspection checklist during routine truck inspection:

  • Brake System
  • Steering System
  • Windshields
  • Wipers
  • Fuel System
  • Lighting Devices
  • Coupling Devices
  • Exhaust System
  • Safe Loading
  • Suspension
  • Frame
  • Tires
  • Wheels and Rims
  • Cargo and Equipment
  • Safety
  • Trailer

More details on this truck inspection checklist that you can view and download for free. Also available in PDF.

How to Use the Truck Inspection Checklist

Truck inspection checklists not only help businesses prepare for the annual DOT inspection but also encourages regular heavy vehicles check-up to ensure driver, customer, and public safety. Taking advantage of a comprehensive checklist while conducting multiple inspections allows industries to streamline their process, standardize their approach, and help them avoid missing areas of inspection. Modify and use flexible checklists to reflect any regulatory changes from governing bodies, organizations, or industries.

Steps to Using the Truck Inspection Checklist

Follow the steps outlined to effectively use a truck inspection checklist:

  1. Specify vehicle information – Input initial data such as vehicle type, vehicle identification type, license plate, model, and mileage. Attach a photo of the vehicle as well for precise identification.
  2. Inspect vehicle parts individually – Completely go through the listed areas of vehicle parts to be checked. Make sure that you’re not missing anything and that the inspection is done in a detailed and factual manner.
  3. Indicate the status of inspected vehicle parts – Emphasize the condition of the vehicle and highlight if there are parts that need repair. Choose between OK, Needs Repair, Repaired, or N/A, or customize the options according to your business needs. This would also help in proactively addressing vehicle issues before use.
  4. Rate overall vehicle condition – Provide a summary by adding any other points that may affect the vehicle’s safe operation. Rate its overall condition by selecting from choices such as excellent, good, average, poor, and high risk.
  5. Add recommendations – Before completing the inspection with a signature, enter any recommendations that can improve the vehicle condition, if any.

Getting Ready for the DOT Truck Inspection

Most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) weighing over 10,000 pounds have to undergo an annual DOT inspection. These inspections are carried out by qualified DOT inspectors who check all CMVs on the road are safe and in good working condition and that the business has proper record keeping processes in place. A DOT inspection consists of 6 levels which are:

  • Level 1: North American Standard Inspection – during level 1, the inspector checks important documents such as: the vehicle operator’s license, medical certificate of their annual DOT physical exam, service record of the last 8 on-duty days, and medical card or waiver (if any). Inspector will also check if the vehicle operator is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other hazardous material. Lastly, the following elements of the vehicle will be checked: seatbelt, exhaust system, brakes, turn signals, tail lamps, headlamps, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, steering wheel, and fuel system.
  • Level 2: Walk-Around Driver / Vehicle Inspection – this level involves getting under the vehicle to check other parts of the vehicle that weren’t examined during the first level.
  • Level 3: Driver-Only Inspection – during this inspection, the inspector takes a closer examination of the vehicle operator’s credentials such as license, endorsements, Skill Performance Evaluation certificate, vehicle inspection reports, record of duty status (RODS), and HAZMAT certification. Other inspection items include seatbelt usage, and signs of drugs and/or alcohol use.
  • Level 4: Special Inspection – level 4 is a one-time inspection that examines a specific item. It is scheduled to validate or invalidate a claim about a vehicle.
  • Level 5: Vehicle-Only Inspection – This level of inspection inspects vehicle parts which were specified under level 1. It’s difference with level 1 is that this is conducted without the presence of the driver.
  • Level 6: Enhanced NAS Inspection – This level is for vehicles hauling radioactive freight. The vehicle, cargo, and driver must pass the inspection before leaving for delivery. Once all criterias are met, a special decal is given as verification of passing the inspection. The decal however, is only valid for one trip and will be removed upon reaching the delivery point.

Powerful Truck Inspection Tool

A good truck inspection sheet should be easy to use and accessible offline and on the road to record defects and corrective actions.  iAuditor by SafetyCulture is a powerful mobile vehicle inspection app that does all this and more to transform your truck inspection process, making it more efficient and systematic. With your truck inspection checklist on the iAuditor app, you can:

  • Ensure that all truck inspections are completed on time all the time
  • Record all defects and issues found during inspections
  • Include photos of issues discovered and have a trail of corrective actions done
  • Easily retrieve any truck inspection report in web or pdf format in the future due to effective recordkeeping of all truck inspection reports
  • Build and edit truck inspection checklist templates to fit the needs of your business
  • Download any of our free truck inspection checklist templates

SafetyCulture staff writer

Carlo Sheen Escano

Carlo Sheen Escano is a contributing writer for SafetyCulture based in Makati City, Philippines. Sheen has experience in digital marketing and has been writing for SafetyCulture since 2018. His articles mainly discuss risks in the workplace and well-known safety and quality processes used to mitigate them. Furthermore, Sheen is passionate about providing insights to global customers on how technology can help them to do the best work of their lives.

Carlo Sheen Escano is a contributing writer for SafetyCulture based in Makati City, Philippines. Sheen has experience in digital marketing and has been writing for SafetyCulture since 2018. His articles mainly discuss risks in the workplace and well-known safety and quality processes used to mitigate them. Furthermore, Sheen is passionate about providing insights to global customers on how technology can help them to do the best work of their lives.