Vehicle Care and Maintenance
Pre-Trip Inspections for Non-DOT Vehicles
Pre-Trip inspection (PTI) of NON-DOT fleet vehicles is often an overlooked task, that is very important to maintain vehicle and driver safety on the roadway. This is extremely important when members have fleet or pool vehicles that are being shared between departments and drivers. The clerk may use a pool vehicle to run to an offsite meeting. That person is using the vehicle with a false sense of security without performing a PTI. You don’t have to be a mechanic to cover the basics, which is a transferable skill set we should all practice in our personal vehicles at home as well.
Three (3) simple principles should apply: Look, Listen, Feel.
Some simple pre-trip basics which should be looked at prior to driving any entity vehicle include:
- Perform a 360 degree walk around for a visual inspection. Look at tires for obvious under inflation. Are there any suspicious puddles underneath? Any broken or cracked lights, windows, windshields, mirrors, etc.? Are the windows clean to aid with vision?
- Start the vehicle. Did the engine turn over easily? Let the engine warm and listen for any odd noises.
- Adjust the mirrors to fit the driver and check the function of all lights, including turn and brakes lights.
- Carefully put the vehicle into reverse and drive within the parking spot and check the brake function. Do the brakes engage easily or does the pedal go to the floor?
- Are the windshield wipers in good working order and is there cleaning fluid in the reservoir?
- Does the vehicle have an oil change mileage sticker and is the vehicle within safe driving parameters between oil changes?
- The oil level should be manually checked at the dipstick with the engine warm, if the person has the ability.
- If the vehicle has been sitting idle for more than one week, the tire air pressure should be manually checked with a gauge.
Problems with any of the above should result in the vehicle being taken out of service and reported to your fleet department or third-party mechanic for service.
By Steve Gailbreath, Loss Prevention Consultant