A Guide to Inspecting Your Truck Before a Haul

Whether you have a long or short haul in front of you, it’s essential to inspect your truck before you head out. This will spare you from unnecessary breakdowns and prevent future semi truck repair.

Your pre-inspection should take about 15 minutes and include all the major systems of your truck. Use the following checklist to complete a quality inspection before each haul.

Engine compartment

  • Check the engine compartment for leaks and proper mounting.
  • Make sure all components are securely mounted and there are no cracked or broken parts.
  • Look for any fraying, slicing or leaks in hoses.
  • Check the oil, coolant and power steering fluid levels.
  • Check water and power steering pumps for leaks and wear and tear.
  • Check the alternator for proper mounting.
  • Check inside the engine compartment to ensure all components are properly mounted and secured and no parts are worn or broken.
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated.
  • Check rims for bends or cracks.
  • Confirm the axle seals have no leaks.

Battery and fuel tank area

  • Check for cracks or breaks on the mirrors, door hinges and door handle.
  • Check the fuel cap to make sure it is secured and the gasket is in place.
  • Check the exhaust system for any bends, cracks or breaks.
  • Confirm nothing is cracked or broken along the driveshaft, cat walk and steps.
  • Check for structural integrity in the frame and crossmembers.
  • Confirm the air lines are properly connected, with no bulges or cuts and gaskets in place.
  • Make sure brake linings have the proper thickness.
  • Inspect the pushrods, brake chambers and slack adjusters to confirm everything is mounted and secured correctly.
  • Check the drive tires for proper inflation.
  • Confirm the drive tires are secured with all lugs present.

Coupling system

  • Check the electrical and air lines for bulges and leaks as well as proper mounting.
  • Confirm there are no exposed electrical wires.
  • Check the gladhands for signs of cracks, rotting or leaking.
  • Make sure there is no debris on the skid plate of the fifth wheel or the trailer apron.
  • Ensure the fifth wheel is properly greased to prevent future semi truck repair.
  • Confirm the trailer kingpin is properly mounted, with no cracks or breaks.
  • Ensure the locking jaws of the fifth wheel are secured once you’ve coupled the tractor and trailer.
  • Make sure all fifth wheel bolts are in place and secure.
  • Check the locking pin on sliding fifth wheels to ensure it is properly in place.


  • Check the head board and landing gear for cracks and breaks.
  • Check the crossmembers and frame under the trailer.
  • Confirm the tandem and release pins are in good shape.
  • Confirm the rear door and hinges are properly mounted and intact.

Light check

  • Check all lights for proper functioning (signals, flashers, high/low beams, brakes).
  • Check front, sides and rear truck lights.
  • Check sides and rear trailer lights.

Air brake test

  • Complete an air brake test to make sure these are properly functioning.
  • The test should also confirm if the warning lights and buzzer are working to indicate low pressure.

In-cab inspection

  • Check seatbelt for proper functioning.
  • Check emergency equipment.
  • Check all gauges.
  • Test windshield wipers for proper operation.
  • Confirm windshield and mirrors are clean and intact.
  • Check heater and defrost for proper operation.
  • Check parking brake.

Call for backup

If your inspection reveals that you need semi truck repair, contact the experts at Steve Emken Trucking. We’re here to provide quality services that get you back on the road safely and efficiently. Reach us today at 712-741-5452.