11 Must-Know Tips to Pass DOT Truck Inspection

Annual DOT truck inspections can be nerve wracking, especially if you’re not sure if your truck will pass. Below, we’ve compiled the maintenance steps that will help your truck complete the inspection successfully and smoothly!

1) Know If You Need A DOT Truck Inspection

The following vehicles are required to be inspected annually or every 25,000 miles:

  • Commercial motor vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds
  • Vehicles that transport more than 16 passengers (including the driver)
  • Vehicles that transport hazardous materials
  • Passenger buses
  • School buses

2) Know What to Expect

We want you to be prepared, because that’s the best way to ensure you pass. DOT Truck inspection includes:

  • Inspection of interior and exterior
  • Testing of all crucial components
  • Takes 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Inspection is good for 1 year or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first

3) Walk Around Your Truck

Make sure exterior components are in good working order. This includes your windows, side mirrors, steps, doors, and reflectors. You\’ll also want to make sure your license plate is securely fixed and clearly visible.

4) Maintain Your Engine Component Systems

Regular check ups ensure that your engine, oil levels, and heating and cooling systems are functioning properly. However, if you do experience issues with any of these components, schedule a repair with M&L right away to minimize or even avoid downtime.

5) Regularly Test Your Lights and Signals

Ensure that your headlights are working, as well as the high beams. Also, check your brake lights, hazard lights, and turn signals. If any bulbs are dim or not functioning, you should replace them, because your DOT truck inspection includes a look at all of your lights and signals.

image of dot inspection tips truck headlights

6) Double Check Your Brake System

You will likely know right away if anything is wrong with your braking system, but it’s not a bad idea to double check that your parking brake, air brake, brake pads, and fluids and hoses all look good prior to your appointment. Routine maintenance appointments with M&L can help prevent these types of issues.

7) Regularly Assess Your Cab Interior

Even cab interiors are inspected when you come in for a DOT truck inspection. Everything from your seat belt, horn, windshield, wipers, airbags, defroster, and controls and gauges will be tested. Keep an eye out for any issues on the interior to avoid failing your inspection!

8) Visually Inspect Your Coupling System

Because your DOT truck inspection also includes the trailer, you’ll want to make sure your coupling system doesn’t have excessive wear and tear prior to your DOT inspection. This includes the truck’s electric and air lines, locking jaws, platform, release arm, skid plate, and all pins and bolts.

9) Don’t Delay Semi Trailer Maintenance

Ensure that the frame, shock absorber, brake chamber and lining, mud flaps, slack adjusters, and push rods are in good shape. If any of these components need to be repaired or replaced, our expert mechanics have decades of experience working on trailers.

10) Check Your Tires

A commonly overlooked component of the DOT inspection is the tires. Because your axle seals, rims, lug nuts, tire inflation, and air pressure will all be examined to determine if your truck passes inspection or not, we recommend you inspect your tires for any issues.

11) Ensure You Have Proper DOT Driver Documentation

While we do not need your documentation for the inspection, drivers should be sure to have a CDL license, cargo manifest, daily logs, and medical examination card ready at all times when driving so that if you get pulled over, you’ll be prepared.

Bring your truck to M&L for routine maintenance, and you shouldn\’t have any trouble passing your DOT truck inspection. When you choose M&L, you can be sure the inspection is done thoroughly and correctly by certified mechanics for the safety of you and everyone else on the road! Schedule your DOT truck inspection or maintenance today so you can keep on rolling.