The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold its annual three-day International Roadcheck in June. This year, inspectors will place a special emphasis on steering and suspension.
During the 72-hour inspection blitz, nearly 17 trucks or buses, on average, will be inspected every minute in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial and federal inspectors in jurisdictions across North America will perform truck and bus inspections and conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver and cargo safety and security.
International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with inspectors conducting North American Standard Level I, Level II walk-around, Level III driver-only and Level V vehicle-only inspections. However, inspectors will primarily focus on Level I inspections, which is the most thorough roadside inspection and includes an examination of both the driver and the vehicle.
Proper maintenance as well as thorough pre- and post-trip inspections can help drivers receive positive inspection reports. "Typically if the driver is doing what they're supposed to do during the pre- and post-trip and get educated on the truck, they should have no issues," said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance for Penske Truck Leasing.
Hasinec noted that things could break while the truck is moving, and he suggests drivers pop the hood and do a quick visual every time they fuel. "It doesn't take long to glance over everything quickly," he said, adding that Penske performs a visual on the drivers' behalf each time customers fuel on Penske's fuel islands. "That should be every few hundred miles, depending on how often you need to stop for fuel."
This year's focus on suspension and steering may mean maintenance technicians and drivers want to pay particular attention to those areas. With steering, Hasinec said there should be no fluid leaks or irregular noise and no excessive free play, which could be caused by worn components, such as tie rod ends. "For the most part, the tie rod ends and the things on the front axle shouldn't have any issues if they are regularly maintained and receive a regular greasing," he said. "It is typically the poorly maintained vehicles that have too much wear in them."
With suspension, technicians and drivers will want to ensure there are no loose U-bolts or rust around suspension fasteners and no broken springs visible on both the front suspension and rear leaf suspension. They should also make sure the airbags are in good condition with no visible damage or deterioration and that there are no air leaks with an air ride suspension.
Hasinec also provided a list of items that should be done as a best practice. He suggested drivers as well as technicians: