Driver Knowledge Tests

How to do a truck pre-drive check

Making sure your truck is fit for the road is something you’ll do every day as part of your pre-drive check. This allows you to pick up obvious problems and to spot developing problems before they become serious. A driver will have a routine to ensure they cover off all the areas. Where you start is up to you.

Inside the truck’s cab

  1. Start the engine and check that all the warning lights go off on the dashboard.
  2. Clean your windows and mirrors and check they are adjusted correctly. Is your view out of the front window unimpeded? Do you need any washer fluid?
  3. Push the brake pedal – does it feel like there is pressure? You’ll check this as you leave, too.
  4. Does the horn work?
  5. Try the steering wheel – does it have too much ‘play’?
  6. Do all the lights and indicators work? (You will need to get out and check these)
  7. Stow any loose items that might roll around in the footwell or that might fly forward if you have to stop quickly.
  8. Does any auxiliary equipment work?
  9. Is your documentation up-to-date?

Outside the truck’s cab

Start from the front as you’ll be getting out of the driver’s side of the cab. Walk around the front.

  1. Are the lights working?
  2. Is the number plate clean?
  3. Are there any fuel or oil leaks evident under the cab?
  4. Are the mudflaps and spray suppression in good condition?
  5. Are the wheel nuts tight?
  6. Are the brake lines and electrical connectors connected (if you’re towing a trailer)?
  7. Is the trailer coupling in good condition and connected correctly?
  8. Are the tyres in good condition – no cuts or bulges in the sidewall, all properly inflated, nothing trapped in the tread.
  9. Are any side lights working?
  10. Is the battery secured?
  11. Are the fuel caps tight?
  12. Is there excessive smoke coming from the exhaust?
  13. Is the engine unusually rattly or noisy?
  14. Are there any other rattles or noises that could mean something is loose?
  15. Are aerodynamic aids in good order?
  16. Are reflectors on the side and back clean?
  17. Is the load secure? Check the lashings and locks.
  18. Are there any other attachments or any auxiliary equipment that you need to check, e.g. a truck-mounted crane (this is usually a weekly task).

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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