Driving a second hand commercial vehicles requires much care and flair. Long drives can be daunting especially if the unexpected happens. Here is a checklist to prevent the unnecessary and keep you prepared for a safe and happy journey.
Check The Battery
It is good practice to check the expiry date of your commercial vehicles battery and replace it if you have used it for more than 3 years. Check the voltage of the battery when the engine is on and when the engine is off. Ensure the voltage levels are within the acceptable range. A dying or a corroded battery will give starter noises like clicking, grinding or whirring. If it is corroded, you will need to clean out the white chalk on the outside before driving.
Inflate The Tyres
In the case of tyres, you will need to check both the pressure of the tyre and the tread of the tyre. While checking the pressure, ensure that the tyre pressure is not over or under inflated. Over inflation or under inflation can give you a bumpy ride and cause wear and tear. Worst case, your tyre might blow out due to overheating. Ensure that treads in your tyre are deep enough. This gives you enough traction on the road to make braking and turning easier.
Fill Up The Tank & Check All Oil Levels
Considering your journey will be long, make sure you fill up the tank before starting the journey. Measure the engine oil level with a dipstick and check if you have adequate engine oil. The check does not stop with engine oil alone. You will also need to check the fluid levels of the radiator, transmission, brakes and power steering. If you have adequate levels of all fluids, your journey will be smooth as these fluids will lubricate all your parts sufficiently.
Turn On The Lights & Wipe The Front/Rear Glasses
Lights play a very important role during highway travel. Check the headlights thoroughly. Activate the high beam switches, pass by light switch, fog light switch and check if all of them work fine. It is good practice to have spare headlight bulbs. Toggle between the left and right indicators and see if all indicators are burning bright. Thoroughly wash and clean the front and back glass of the vehicle. Ensure that there are no spots or dirt on the glasses. Check the wiper blades and replace them if they leave any streaks or patterns while wiping the glass. This exercise will help you to have proper visibility during the drive.
Clean The Exhaust System
Not much attention is given to the exhaust system. But you must note that proper functioning of the exhaust system is much required for a smooth journey. Ask someone to accelerate the vehicle while in neutral. Check if the exhaust of gas release is continuous without any hissing or popping. If you hear hissing or popping sounds you must get the exhaust system serviced.
Test The Brakes
Brakes are lifesavers. In terms of safety features, brakes are right at the top. Thus, it is a mandate to check the brakes before a long drive. Go round and inspect the brake hoses, rotors, brake fluids, drums, and brake pads. A faulty brake will show up as squeaking or grinding noises. While driving, you may notice shaking at the steering wheel and some sponginess while using the brake pedals. Never ignore these signs. Whether you take your vehicle for a long drive or short drive, get your brakes serviced once a while.
Spare Tyre, Toolkit & Emergency Kit
A spare tyre and the toolkit should always be in the vehicle. The spare tyre must be in working condition and not deflated. Ensure you also have workmen clothing because changing a tyre or other parts might be a dirty job. Depending on the number of wheels of your vehicle, you may need more than one spare tyre. The toolbox must include wrenches, pliers, hammers and the mechanical toolkit (ratchets, drive sockets, Allen wrenches). The emergency kit must have blankets, waterproof gloves, non-perishable food, a can of water, extra medication, fully stocked first aid kit, jumper cables and torchlight with extra batteries.
List Of Things To Check In The Drivers Cabin Of A Truck
- Adjust the seat height for proper road visibility.
- Rotate the steering wheel and check if it is perfect for driving conditions.
- Drive the vehicle and see if the suspension is alright. Else, adjust the suspension.
- Check if all the electronic components in drivers cabin work fine.
List Of Documents To Carry
- Registration certificate
- Pollution certificate (PUC)
- Road tax
- Vehicle fitness certificate
- Road permit
- Driving licence
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