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The 411 on a Truck Inspection: What Does it Reveal?

Truck inspections are in place to ensure the safety of the driver, other drivers on the road, and their cargo by examining the vehicle for the purposes of safety, maintenance, and compliance. Inspections reveal any and every fault that may be going on with the truck that could cause possible issues for the driver and others. Below is an explanation of what a truck inspection could look like and what the inspection may bring to light. To ensure the truck is suitable for the road and is compliant with every safety regulation, an inspector may analyze the following components and require specific repairs or replacements to be made for the vehicle to pass. 

What does an inspector examine?

The inspector's job is to examine every component of the truck to ensure every part and fluid is of the appropriate standard. The inspector will analyze certain components for wear and tear or lack completely. Here are some of the most common portions of an inspection process:

  • Walk-around inspection - The inspector may look at the windows, side mirrors, steps, lights, doors, reflectors, and license plates to ensure all are functioning properly and are up to date.
  • Engine compartment check - This inspection consists of examining all engine components including the oil level and the heating and cooling systems. These areas greatly assist in maintaining the engine for an optimal performing turnaround by eliminating breakdowns due to overheating during travel.
  • Lights and Signals inspection - The inspector may examine the lights and signals to ensure that the driver is always safe during daylight and nighttime travel. This examination also ensures that the driver is able to properly communicate with others on the road. The inspection may consist of an examination of the headlights, high beams, brake lights, hazard lights, and turn signals. 
  • Brake System examination: The brake system is a component that can never be compromised. To ensure the driver along with others on the road is safe, the inspector may perform a thorough inspection of the brake system. This inspection may include checking the parking brake, brake pads, fluid, and hoses. 

What problems can be addressed during an inspection? 

The most common uncovering during a truck inspection can either be big or small problems. All issues must be rectified for a truck to pass inspection and can be done so by either repair or replacement of parts using top-of-the-line service from an adequate shop to superior parts that are supplied by the best vendors. 


Brake components such as rotors and pads are not allowed to be warped or worn and must be replaced. Inspectors may look out for excessive noises when the brakes are in use to detect if there is an adequate amount of fluid. The inspector may require that fluids meet standard levels before the vehicle is approved. 

Gas Cap

Inspectors often fail truck inspections for simple issues like a missing or leaking gas cap. A simple replacement using a new and appropriately sized cap ensures that it is secure and could save an examination from failure. 


The lights in a truck are a part of the safety portion of the examination. Inspectors will investigate all light components to ensure they are performing optimally, and that the visibility of the driver or others is never compromised. This inspection could reveal failing signals, backup lights, taillights, headlights, or fog lights each of which can be rectified with the replacement of the bulb using the appropriate watt and size. 


The tires on a vehicle are also a part of the safety portion of the test and are not acceptable when they lack certain requirements. Inspectors may investigate the tires for either under or over-inflation, improper size, mixed tire types, or missing lug nuts. The inspector will ensure the tires are safe before the vehicle gets on the road by requiring new tires that match in style and size are replaced for old tires, and lug nuts are also replaced and tightened. 


Inspectors will analyze fluid levels like the engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolants. These fluids must be maintained through a routine maintenance regimen to ensure constant lubrication is in place for all truck parts. An inspector will require all fluid maintenance to be completed appropriately before a vehicle is approved for travel.

The inspection process requires a detailed examination of parts and fluids to ensure proper maintenance is in place and parts are replaced on time due to normal wear and tear. Professionals suggest always allowing a qualified expert to make these inspections to make certain that every part is examined and no surprises come about that will result in a truck inspection failure.