As I said in the intro this is just how I do it. Some of you might do it differently but this is the way I was taught. I’ve seen a lot of old timers do it this as well. And it also kinda helps with the eld since you have to show 7-12 minutes doing a pre trip. Here is my steps as if I am on the road for the week already. Starting out for the week is a bit different because I’m at my house with the truck in the driveway and no trailer. So the point of view for our discussion is from already being on the way. Clifford wakes me up by setting off the alarm. I get dressed and turn on all of the lights except the headlights. I go inside and do all the duties I need to do. Bathroom, breakfast, coffee and get all my beverages for the day. As I hit the door coming out the first thing I do is look for Clifford. While I’m walking across the lot I am looking at the following things.
Did anyone run over the hood while I was inside? Can I see all the lights? Is every one lit up and bright? A dim light could mean a bad ground or its about to burn out. Are the windows and mirrors clean and intact? Is the truck and trailer sitting level with the ground? Some kind of lean could mean something wrong with the suspension. Broken leaf springs (if you still have them), blown air bags, flat tire, load shift, etc I “stagger” as I approach. Walk to one side then the other so I can see the truck from different angles. Looking at lights and the level of the truck. As I’m still a ways out I scan the roofline of the truck and trailer. Is it straight? Anything sticking up? Wires hanging? Etc. If the truck is running…. What does the exhaust look like coming out of the stacks? Does it smell like diesel? What color is it? What is the temp outside at the time? If you can reach the end of the exhaust pipe, hold your hand a foot or two away, does it feel wet? Does it feel oily? Is the truck idling at a steady rate? Is it “purring” like a kitten? Do you see any antifreeze or other fluids flowing out underneath? Can you hear any air leaking? Do you see any airlines, hoses or wires hanging? Look at the tires, do they look like they have air in them? Look at your wheels, do you see any oil pooling in them? Any oil or liquid “spun” out around the entire wheel?
Again these things should be obvious but they really aren’t unless you make it a habit to see these things every time you walk up to your truck. Once you do make it a habit you will catch yourself doing it on your personal vehicle as well as others in parking lots. I do it constantly and it drives my wife nuts. But it’s a habit and good one to have too.