Published 2 Feb 2023
What is a Vehicle Inspection Form?
A vehicle inspection form is a document detailing a vehicle’s condition. This document is used both as verification of a vehicle’s roadworthiness and as a guide for drivers, mechanics, and safety officers in performing vehicle inspection. Performing pre-start checks and regular vehicle inspections proactively reduces risks of accidents and operational downtime.
A vehicle inspection checklist template can be used by an authorized inspector to identify defects and mechanical issues for most vehicles. Begin by capturing general information of the vehicle including VIN, license plate and mileage and take a photo of the general condition of the vehicle. This comprehensive vehicle checklist form include:
- Brake system
- Coupling devices
- Engine operation
- Exhaust system
- Fuel system
- Lighting devices
- Safety equipment
- Safe loading
- Steering mechanism
- Tires and wheels
In this article
- What is Included in a Vehicle Inspection Checklist?
- Multi-point Inspection Checklist Vs. Vehicle Inspection Checklist: What’s the Difference?
- FAQ about Vehicle Inspection
- Vehicle Inspections App
- Critical Communications Made Easy
What is Included in a Vehicle Inspection Checklist?
A vehicle inspection checklist is used to evaluate a vehicle’s working condition, and sometimes for a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). It aims to identify mechanical issues or defects to ensure that vehicles are in good working order and safe for use on the road. Federal laws require vehicle owners to conduct daily inspections to limit the occurrence of accidents on the road. The question is, where do you begin?
There are some areas or items in the vehicle that should be inspected daily, below are some areas that should be included in a vehicle inspection checklist:
Use an oil dipstick to determine where the level is at, and if you should refill. Ensuring that engine oil is at the right level mitigates the risk of overheating which can result in costly repairs. It’s also one of the effective ways to maintain your engine and keep it engine healthy.
Air pressure of tires
Check tires visually before use and see if they are properly inflated because incorrect tire inflation may cause excessive wear or damage to the part. Also, look out for any signs of damage and unusual wear. Checking these daily does not only ensure safety on the road but also prolongs the life of your vehicle.
Check if the headlights, tail lights, and signal lights are all in proper working condition. This is crucial as some of these lights ensure the vehicle’s visibility to other drivers and these are especially important in situations with low visibility.
Confirm if horn works as it helps avoid collisions or other forms of accidents by making other drivers and pedestrians aware that a vehicle is nearby. If the horn isn’t functioning properly, try to investigate further since it can be a case of a bum horn or a poor ground connection.
Windshield & wipers
Ensure that there is enough water in the wiper system and check the blades regularly to keep windshield glass free of obstruction. Wiper blades do wear over time so if blades are cracked, worn, or otherwise damaged they should be repaired or replaced as necessary.
Vehicle documents & license plate
Make sure that vehicle documents are stored safely in the glovebox so they are easily retrievable whenever needed. Ensure that your license plate is clean, not obscured nor obstructed—this is to avoid license plates being deemed illegible and needing to be replaced altogether.
Examine engine noises as these are a great early indicator of potential bigger issues in a vehicle. Some of the common causes of abnormal engine noises include improper timing, incorrect octane, or lean air/fuel ratio. If knocking or tapping is noticed from a cold start then it could be an indicator of a serious defect.
Scan the vehicle’s vicinity and check whether there are any leaks in or around it. The color and location of the leak can help diagnose the problem, but leaks can indicate serious problems so if any leaks are spotted then it’s important to ensure the vehicle is checked by a professional.
And other critical areas and items that you should also check regularly are the following:
- Tires’ tread depth
- Engine belts and hoses
Multi-point Inspection Checklist Vs. Vehicle Inspection Checklist: What’s the Difference?
In general, the intention of both inspection types is similar: identify issues with the vehicle before they turn into bigger, more expensive problems. The real difference lies in the way people typically use each term when referring to vehicle assessments. While a “vehicle inspection” can be both quick and short, as well as extensive and time-consuming, a multi-point inspection exclusively refers to a thorough and comprehensive assessment of a vehicle’s condition.
For example, since a daily vehicle inspection checklist is designed to be used every day, it is perfectly acceptable for it to cover only a few key areas; most of them concerning safety. Multi-point inspections, however, assess the vehicle in its entirety. This can be quite time-consuming which is why they are fewer and farther between.
The recommended frequency in which to conduct multi-point inspections with a vehicle inspection app may vary. To be safe, it is best to perform multi-point inspections on vehicles that come in for repair or maintenance work to ensure that nothing critical is missed.
FAQ about Vehicle Inspection
A vehicle inspection or car inspection may take at least an hour or so to complete. Vehicle inspections involve document reviews, road test, physical inspection, and mechanical/electrical testing and inspection. It will take additional time if mechanics find major issues on the vehicle but less so if none.
Depending on local regulations, vehicles may be required to do periodic formal vehicle inspections. But as a rule of thumb, it is best to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic at least once or twice a year. This will help you stay on top of any vehicular issues that may occur.
Vehicle Inspections App
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is the perfect tool for conducting vehicle inspections. Convert your paper vehicle inspection forms to a digital format. SafetyCulture allows you to conduct inspections and inventory on your mobile or tablet, take photos of vehicle defects, generate PDF reports on your mobile and securely store all data in the cloud. Preview a sample vehicle inspection report generated using the SafetyCulture mobile app.
To help you get started, we have provided a collection of vehicle inspection templates below for you to download and use for free.
Critical Communications Made Easy
Even after conducting a vehicle inspection, there’s still a possibility of an issue popping up while you’re out on the road. When this happens and the driver is unable to resolve the issue, it’s important to ask for help using Heads Up, SafetyCulture’s latest feature. No matter where they are, drivers can give a Heads Up to their managers, either requesting for help, letting them know the reason for a delay, or simply updating them on the status of their journey. With Heads Up, you don’t need to worry about your messages not being sent and can focus more on productive tasks as you wait for further instructions from your manager.
A heavy vehicle inspection checklist can be used to inspect commercial vehicles for roadworthiness prior to long haul commercial trips. Regular heavy vehicle inspections can prepare your business for regulatory inspections. Conduct a walk-around of the truck making sure to inspect the general condition of the vehicle, exterior, in-cab and engine compartment. Conclude by rating the overall condition and roadworthiness of the vehicle.
A company vehicle pre commissioning checklist can be used before purchasing a vehicle for work. Capture registration and photos of the vehicle intended to be purchased. Ensure the vehicle is fit for purpose and all registration, permits and licences have been sought. Check that relevant safety and training practices are in progress. You can modify this template for your workplace and pre-approval requirements.
Vehicular accidents inevitably occur anytime and anywhere. Use this vehicle accident report to generate a summary of a vehicle accident. This can be used to identify the root cause of the accident, document physical damages of vehicle, and record witness statements. Capture photo evidence of the injury and environment and track the exact location of the accident being reported.
Driver assessment training template used to assess the performance and safety of commercial drivers. Capture photo of drivers license and driver details. Check if the driver follows standard start-up procedures. While driving assess the drivers engine management, driving skills and speed management. At the end of the trip check shut down procedures and rate the overall professionalism of the driver. Speak to the driver and record any past incidents that have occurred. Conclude the assessment by discussing and recording what additional actions or training is required. Use SafetyCulture to complete these assessments on your mobile while riding with the driver and generate reports on the spot.
Use this checklist before use of forklift trucks to ensure that the equipment is safe to use. Conduct general pre-start checks to inspect the physical condition of the truck (including tyres, plates, guards) as well as fluid levels and battery condition. After starting the vehicle, check to ensure all controls, signals, steering and brakes are in proper working condition. Document any hazards or items that need to be repaired and generate a report on the spot. You can modify this checklist for your specific forklift vehicle (e.g. propane, electric, yard trucks).
Vehicle inspectors and vehicle maintenance personnel can use this daily vehicle inspection checklist or car inspection checklist to assess the condition of a vehicle's exterior and interior components, emergency equipment, and necessary documentation, in order to ensure its safe usage and preserve the quality of performance.
Vehicle inspectors can use this compliance-focused light vehicle inspection checklist to check if a light vehicle complies with accepted standards for brakes, gauges, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, steering, and seat belts, among other items.
This weekly vehicle inspection checklist can be used by vehicle inspectors to inspect the vehicle's condition, engine compartment, external bodywork, and the required documents for operating the vehicle on a weekly basis. Download and customize according to weekly needs.