It's not likely that there's anything wrong with this brand-new flatbed, but check it anyway. Photo: East Mfg. Co.

It's not likely that there's anything wrong with this brand-new flatbed, but check it anyway. Photo: East Mfg. Co. 

How good are you at doing a pre-trip Inspection on a trailer? It’s supposed to be done just before the vehicle is pulled away from a parking place and heads for the highway. There are post-trip inspections, too, but let’s concentrate on the pre-tripper.

If you do it from memory, you’re probably missing something. See if you’d cover all these points as offered by East Manufacturing:

1. Inspect for any apparent damage. Look for oil, water and fuel and other fluid leaks.

2. Check to see that all lights function, and that all reflectors are in place and not obscured.

3. Is the kingpin engaged and locked within the fifth wheel?

4. Examine the landing gear for proper road clearance, and make sure the crank handle is securely stowed.

5. Check that the rear stairway door, if the trailer has one, is securely latched before moving.

6. Check that all air springs are inflated, if it has an air suspension.

7. Make sure the spare tire is secure in the carrier, and that the carrier is securely bolted to the chassis.

8. Check tire air pressures. Tires should be inflated to tire manufacturer's specifications.

9. Check wheel lug nuts for proper torque on disc wheels.

10. On wheels with see-through hubcaps, check the oil level in the wheel hubs. Add oil as needed, or get a shop guy to do it.

11. On wheels with solid hubcaps, pull plug and check oil level in wheel hubs, adding oil as needed (likewise about the shop).

12. Visually check the brake shoe lining and brake drums for wear and proper adjustment.

13. Check for chafed hoses or cracked fittings.

14. By actuation, determine if the brake system is in proper working order.

15. Turn on the ignition and observe the ABS warning light. Verify that the light comes on for three seconds and then goes off. If the light remains on, the ABS requires service.

16. Set trailer parking brakes and rock the trailer back and forth to test its brakes, or apply the trailer brakes while moving away from the parking place.

Everything OK? Fill out the form and you’re good to go. 

Checking tie-downs is not on the pre-trip list, but still needs to be done. Photo: Tom Berg

Checking tie-downs is not on the pre-trip list, but still needs to be done. Photo: Tom Berg

Author

Tom Berg
Tom Berg

Tom Berg

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

View Bio
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