Why Truck Drivers Should Perform Routine Maintenance Checks

Imagine you’ve just picked up a load and you’re chuggin’ down the road to get that shipment delivered to its receiver on time. Suddenly, your truck breaks down. You need to get it to a shop but your schedule is shot to hell and you’re not going to make it to the receiver on time.

Unfortunately for professional truck drivers, this is a very real, common situation. Even if they are not responsible for paying the fees, having a truck in the shop is a huge burden that has the potential to significantly affect their income and put them out of commission for some time. Luckily, there’s a way to prevent frequent breakdowns and visits to the mechanic – by conducting regular pre-trip inspections and vehicle maintenance checks.

Not only is maintaining your truck a good idea to extend its performance life, it’s also a crucial component to your safety as a truck driver!  Under CSA 2010, improper vehicle maintenance violations could impact you and your carrier company’s safety ratings. Vehicle maintenance violations are a result of operating a commercial motor vehicle that has critical safety defects due to improper or inadequate maintenance. Any violations against you will appear on your vehicle maintenance BASIC.

The higher the severity of the vehicle maintenance violation, the more your grade in this BASIC will be affected, and the higher the chance you’ll have of getting a little visit from the FMCSA. The following table contains examples of some common vehicle maintenance violations:

Violation Severity
Violating a vehicle out-of-service order 10
Violating the tire tread standards 8
Suspension-related violations 7
Violating the lighting standards 6
Steering-related violations 4
Brake-related violations 4
Failing to be knowledgeable of Part 396 rules 4
Failing to complete a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report 4
Reflective sheeting/reflector violations 3
Defective coupling device 3
Underinflated tire or excessive load on tire 3

Under CSA 2010, the responsibility of vehicle maintenance falls on both you AND your carrier company. Violations will damage both parties’ safety ratings and as previously mentioned, could lead to contact from the FMCSA. If this happens, you and your employer could be warned, audited, or fined, and ordered to fix the problems that caused the violations.

A simple way to avoid points on your BASIC and fines from the FMCSA is to perform preventative maintenance on your vehicle. By keeping up with regular maintenance checkups and procedures, you protect any financial investment you may have in your truck. You're also able to keep commitments to customers. If your truck is constantly breaking down and getting stuck in the shop, eventually customers and clients will lose trust in your company to deliver their shipments on time. It’s best to avoid this possibility completely by preventing breakdowns and repairs from the start.

It’s never a bad idea to learn to make small repairs by yourself in order to avoid visiting the shop, but don’t try to be your own mechanic. If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, don’t attempt it anyway! As long as you perform your pre-trip inspections and conduct routine maintenance checks, your truck should remain in good working condition and you'll remain a responsible, safe truck driver in good standing with the FMCSA.

Apply Now Interested in becoming a professional truck driver? Go ahead and fill out our no obligation online application! This get the process started, but does not commit you to anything. From there, you can schedule a time to speak with one of our Driver Agents about your options.