April 3, 2024

5 Things Checked During a Vehicle Inspection (And Why They Matter)

Regular vehicle inspections are crucial for commercial vehicles, ensuring safety and reliability. In this article, we'll explore key areas for peak performance and peace of mind.

5 Things Checked During a Vehicle Inspection

Ever been driving down the highway when a disconcerting warning light illuminates your dashboard? Suddenly, a sense of unease washes over you — is it a minor inconvenience, or a major mechanical issue waiting to happen?

Regular motor vehicle inspections are akin to preventive medicine for your car or truck. Just like scheduling regular checkups with your doctor helps identify and address potential health concerns before they escalate, vehicle inspections play a vital role in keeping your vehicle running smoothly and safely. This is especially crucial for commercial vehicles, where safety and reliability are paramount. 

In this article, we'll delve into five key areas checked during a comprehensive motor vehicle inspection and explain why they matter for your peace of mind and the overall health of your commercial vehicle. By understanding what's inspected, you can ensure your truck is operating at peak performance, saving you money on repairs and keeping you on the road, delivering essential goods and services.

What is Checked During a Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection (CMVI)

Powertrain and Fluids

A thorough motor vehicle inspection typically begins under the hood, where certified technicians meticulously examine the engine, transmission, and other vital components that keep your commercial vehicle humming. 

This in-depth examination includes checking fluid levels and condition, looking for leaks or signs of wear on belts and hoses, and ensuring everything is functioning as intended. A healthy powertrain translates into smooth operation, optimal fuel efficiency, and fewer costly repairs down the line. Technicians will use their expertise to identify any potential issues, such as low engine oil or a coolant leak, and recommend corrective actions before they snowball into major problems.

Brakes and Tires

There's no overstating the importance of brakes — they are arguably the most critical safety feature on any vehicle. During a motor vehicle inspection, technicians will meticulously assess the condition of your brake pads and rotors, ensuring they have sufficient life remaining and are functioning properly. This includes measuring pad thickness and checking for uneven wear, which can indicate underlying problems with the braking system.

Tire health is equally important. Inspectors will check tire pressure, tread depth, and for any signs of damage or uneven wear. Faulty brakes and worn-out tires can significantly increase stopping distances and put you, your cargo, and others on the road at risk. By proactively addressing potential brake and tire issues through regular inspections, you can ensure your commercial vehicle comes to a safe and controlled stop every single time.

Steering and Suspension

A well-maintained suspension system is the foundation for a comfortable ride and allows for proper handling, especially when navigating challenging road conditions or maneuvering tight corners. During an inspection, technicians will check the suspension components for signs of wear or damage, such as worn-out shocks or struts, loose ball joints, or leaking steering components. A faulty suspension can affect vehicle stability and handling, making it more difficult to control the vehicle, especially in adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or high winds. This can lead to accidents and put the safety of the driver, passengers, and anyone sharing the road at risk. Regular inspections help identify and address suspension problems before they escalate, ensuring a smooth and predictable driving experience.

Lights and Electrical Systems

Headlights, taillights, turn signals, and other lighting systems play a crucial role in nighttime visibility and safe driving. During a motor vehicle inspection, technicians will ensure all lights are functioning properly and are properly aligned. Imagine navigating a dark highway with a malfunctioning headlight — not only is it dangerous, but it's also illegal. 

The electrical system will also be thoroughly checked for any faults or potential issues. Having reliable lighting and a healthy electrical system is essential for safe nighttime driving and ensuring you comply with road safety regulations. A properly functioning electrical system also powers essential components like the engine control unit and GPS navigation, keeping your commercial vehicle operating at peak efficiency.

Body and Coupling Devices (For Commercial Vehicles)

For commercial vehicles, a comprehensive motor vehicle inspection goes beyond the standard checks outlined above. Inspectors will pay close attention to the vehicle's body for any signs of damage or corrosion that could compromise its structural integrity. Even a seemingly minor crack in the frame can pose a significant safety risk, especially when hauling heavy loads. 

They will also meticulously examine coupling devices, such as fifth wheels and kingpins, used to connect trailers. Ensuring the body and coupling devices are in top condition is paramount for the safety of the driver, passengers, and anyone sharing the road. A compromised coupling device can lead to trailer detachment, causing catastrophic accidents.

Why Motor Vehicle Inspections Matter

Regular motor vehicle inspections offer a multitude of benefits for commercial vehicle owners and operators, helping to ensure the safety, reliability, and overall health of your fleet. Here are some key reasons why inspections are so important:

  • Enhanced Safety: By identifying and addressing potential problems before they escalate into major breakdowns, inspections play a vital role in preventing accidents and keeping drivers and others on the road safe. A properly maintained commercial vehicle is less likely to experience a mechanical failure that could lead to a collision.
  • Reduced Downtime: Early detection of issues through regular inspections allows for timely repairs and preventative maintenance, minimizing downtime and keeping your trucks on the road, where they generate revenue. Unexpected breakdowns can cause significant delays and disrupt your carefully planned delivery schedules. Regular inspections help you avoid these costly disruptions.
  • Lower Repair Costs: Catching problems early often translates to less expensive repairs compared to waiting for a major component to fail. Ignoring a minor issue can lead to more extensive damage down the road, resulting in a significantly higher repair bill. Regular inspections are an investment that can save you money in the long run.
  • Improved Fuel Efficiency: A well-maintained vehicle operates more efficiently, leading to lower fuel costs and a healthier bottom line. Regular inspections help ensure your engines are running optimally, maximizing fuel efficiency and reducing your environmental impact.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Commercial vehicles are subject to specific safety regulations. Regular inspections help ensure your vehicles comply with these regulations, avoiding costly fines and potential delays during roadside inspections. Operating a non-compliant vehicle can lead to hefty fines and even vehicle impoundment, significantly impacting your business operations.

Final Words

Taking the time for a regular motor vehicle inspection is an investment in the safety, reliability, and overall health of your commercial vehicle. By proactively addressing potential problems through routine inspections, you can save money on repairs, minimize downtime, ensure your trucks are operating at peak efficiency, and keep your business moving forward. 

At Rhino Truck Lube Centres, we understand the critical role that commercial vehicles play in keeping our economy running smoothly. That's why we offer comprehensive motor vehicle inspections through our PM service which is performed by our certified technicians. We utilize the latest diagnostic tools and equipment to ensure your vehicles are in top condition and adhere to all safety regulations.