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Heavy commercial vehicle check list

February 14, 2019

A monthly heavy commercial vehicle check and audit will identify any pending fault that can immediately be rectified. This will save expensive repair costs, roadside breakdowns and ensure that the vehicle is always in a safe and roadworthy condition. The audit report will also give management a good picture of how the truck is being driven and maintained

Items to be checked


Needs attention


Vehicle data plate – fixed inside cab

Current licence and operator’s disc – displayed

Number plates – fixed and visible

Next service and certificate of fitness – due date

Emergency triangles – present in cab


Corporate appearance – paint

Cleanliness – inside and outside

Door locks – hinge closing and condition

Windows and winders – operation

Driver and passenger seat – condition

Floor mats – condition and tears

Brake and clutch pedals – rubbers

Sun visors – in position and operational

Gear stick knob and gear boot cover

Mirrors – clean and secure

Driver’s view – windows clean inside and out

Front windscreen – pass or fail in roadworthy test

Wiper blades – operational and in good condition

Entrance steps – not dangerous or damaged

Cab mountings – firm and not loose

Driver’s controls – all present and operational

Hooter – operational

Instrument panel – condition and lights all working

All lights and indicators – operational

Front bumper – appearance and not loose

Mudguards – appearance

Chassis and suspension


Any damage and cracks

Fuel tank – no cracks and leaks

Chevron board – secured and clean

Reflective tape – secured and clean

Fifth wheel – no abnormal wear

Trailer couplings

Mud flaps – functional and securely mounted

Load body  – condition and mountings

Springs and U-bolts

Leaf springs – no bush wear

Front-axle kingpin – wear

Tie-rod ends and steering mechanism

Shock absorbers

Load-sensing valve

Air suspension

ABS cables – connected and working

Brakes and clutch

Build-up of air pressure – not excessively slow

Air leaks

Push-rod angles and slack adjusters

Trailer brake couplings

Air tanks – drain valves for moisture and dirt

Brake pads and brake linings

Retarder operation

Parking-brake function

Clutch – free play and functionality

Wheels and rims

Tyre pressures

Valve extensions and valve caps

All rims and wheels

Tyres – size and capacity

Tyres – evenly matched

Tyres – damage

Tyre tread depth – not less than one millimetre all round

All wheels – correctly fitted and fastened

All wheel nuts – correctly fitted and fastened


Power steering – no leaks

Steering linkage and steering box – free of play

Exhaust system

Exhaust – no leaks

Exhaust flex pipe

Exhaust mountings

Exhaust-brake operation


Smoke emission – blue, black or white smoke?

Oil leaks

Fluid levels

Engine mountings – firm when engine is revved

Fan belt and pulleys

Air-intake system

Cooling system

Radiator and hoses – no leaks

Radiator – core cleanliness

Coolant levels and header-tank

Anti-freeze – correct ratio


General condition and terminal corrosion

Batteries should be a matched pair

Securing clamps

Battery water level

Driveline and suspension

Propshaft – free of play

Suspension – condition and alignment

General vehicle appearance and image

Paintwork – good condition

Paintwork on wheel rims – good condition

Body – free of damage and dents

Load securement – straps, curtains, etc.

Vic Oliver is one of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, and has been in this industry for over 50 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel (now UD Trucks), 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.


  1. Sir
    Thank you for all the educational information sharing about transport systems.
    I have just stumbled upon your articles which l find interesting, useful and relevant to the career l want to pursue of being a Trainer Driver. l am a heavy truck driver with fairly good experience but willing to expand my knowledge and expertise in the industry.
    l am a accredited assessor with qualification in supply chain management.
    Please may l know where to find archives of your articles and any tips you might offer.
    Looking forward to your response


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