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  • Writer's pictureFront Range Compliance

Conducting a Pre/Post Trip Inspection: Pickup/Trailer Combo

Conducting a pre/post trip inspection is not only highly recommended but also required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A proper inspection of your vehicle before and after a shift will help identify any potential damages or maintenance that needs to be done. This can save you from vehicle malfunction related accidents and costly repairs.

Ryan Byers teaching Pre/Post Trip Inspection Training in Grand Junction, CO.

We teach drivers all over the country how to properly complete these inspections and complete the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). Pre/Post Trip Inspections are crucial to your vehicle maintenance programs and overall health of your fleet.

When training drivers in how to properly conduct the inspection we teach them to walk their vehicle counterclockwise, this way they can ensure everything is looked at on the vehicle on both sides. Find the steps and a graphic for the counterclockwise method below!

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Avoid potential vehicle malfunctions with a Pre/Post Trip Inspection!

Pre/Post Trip Inspection Training online for your drivers will teach them how to properly implement the counterclockwise method and fill out the DVIR. Use code FRCS10 for $10 off the purchase of the course!


  • Steering mechanism for excessive movement

  • Horn

  • Defroster

  • Dash warning lights and signal lamp functions

  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid

  • Windshield (cracks or rock chips)

  • Emergency Equipment (fire extinguisher, triangles, spare fuses)

  • Parking brake and service brakes

  • Lights and signals (lights must been clean and operating)

  • Frame and body components

  • Master cylinder for damage or leaks

  • Belts for wear or damage

  • Fluid levels in the engine compartment

  • Battery for exposed wires, missing insulation, or improper mounting


  • Tires. Ensure they are not damaged, cut, or bulging

  • Tire valve stem and tire inflation

  • Wheels/rims for any bend, cracks, or missing & loose fasteners

  • Hubs for any leaks or fluid level - DO NOT OPEN HUB*

  • Hydraulic brake lines for any kinks or other damage

  • Suspension for any broken, cracked, looseness or missing components

  • Insure the fuel cap securement and seal

  • Fuel tank leaks

  • Body and frame for any damaged, loose, or missing components

  • Frame and body components

  • Lamps & reflex reflectors - side marker, clearance operation


  • Lamp function (turn/4 way signals, clearance, brake, reverse, identification, & license plate)

  • Make sure any cargo in the bed is secured for travel

  • Frame and body components

  • Exhaust system for leaks or charring

  • Hitch receiver mounting for any cracks, damage, or warped components

  • Safety chain connection for wear, deformity, or cracked welds

  • The 4 or 7 pin plug for any damage or debris that could interfere with the trailer receiving power

Line drawing of truck-trailer combination numbered counterclockwise


  • Hitch(ball, eye, gooseneck, etc.) for any damage or cracked welds

  • Tongue frame for any cracks or damage

  • Safety chains for any damaged, sheered, twisted, or elongated links

  • Power (pig tail) cable for any exposed wires, cuts or damage

  • Breakaway Brake

    • Battery box securement and element protection

    • Test the battery for charge (test button)

    • Breakaway brake pin. Remove from the housing and inspect for any damage.

    • Breakaway brake pin housing box. Ensure it is mounted securely and capable of having the pin removed and reinserted.

    • Breakaway brake cable for connection and broken wires

  • Spare tire mounting and securement

  • Landing gearing ensure it is raised and ready for transport

  • Frame for any cracks, holes, missing or loose components


  • Frame of the trailer for any damage

  • Cross members for any damage

  • Tires and ensure they are not damaged, cut, or bulging

  • Tire valve stem and tire inflation

  • Wheels/rims for any bent, cracked, or missing & loose fasteners

  • Hubs for any leaks or fluid level*

  • Lamps & Reflex Reflectors - side marker, clearance operation

  • Conspicuity Treatment

    • Red and white reflective tape 50% side coverage

    • Rear facing frame treatment 12 inch x 12 inch white upper body marking

  • Anchor points for any damage. Ensure there is no broken or cracked side rails, supports, or welds

  • Ensure railing anchor points are not bent, warped, or distorted

  • Trailer decking for any holes or broken components

  • Trailer decking for any loose cargo or debris that could be lost on the roadway

  • Suspension systems for broken or missing components


  • Lamp function - turn/4 way signals, clearance, brake, reverse, identification & license plate

  • Conspicuity Treatment

    • Red and white reflective tape bumper bar & rear impact guard

    • Rear facing white upper body marking

  • Inspect any cross members for broken components or cracks

  • Tail board or loading ramps are up and secure

  • Rear impact guards securement and welds

  • Mud flaps if applicable

* Wheel Hub Assemblies - DO NOT OPEN the hub assembly without a maintenance technician present. Exposing contaminants to the bearing hub assembly will greatly affect the bearing and could result in serious injury or death.

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Make sure to check also out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We are currently offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Periodic Annual Inspection Qualification Training (Appendix A).

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