Driving a vehicle safely requires attention to road conditions, basic vehicle operation, and the responsibility of the driver. Maintenance has been linked to occupant fatalities due to failure to maintain a vehicle properly.
Vehicle inspections address some potential safety issues depending on the specific type of inspection conducted – pre-trip, on-the-road, and post-trip, respectively.
A pre-trip inspection involves checking that all major components are properly functioning before getting behind the wheel. Items such as turn signals, brakes, and steering should function within specifications as specified by state law.
A certified mechanic evaluates proper functioning by steering the wheels, checking for excessive play in wheel bearings, and observing proper parking brake functionality. Learn more about your tires as they are also checked for wear and tread depth as well as wheel alignment to ensure correct wheel spin depending on road type.
Brake pads should be securely attached with no looseness felt when pushing down on them while moving forward. Front rotors should move freely without dragging, squeaking, or any other abnormal noise.
A licensed mechanic should perform the inspection, which costs about half the cost of an on-the-road or post-trip inspection. The pre-trip inspection is usually performed at a vehicle service centre to ensure that all systems are working. Also, any repairs done during the process are recorded in your car’s maintenance logbook.
An on-the-road inspection is essentially the same as a pre-trip inspection but with an actual road test. This type of vehicle inspection is usually conducted in response to a specific problem or complaint brought forward by the driver or another individual who has witnessed dangerous driving behaviour.
The inspector makes a note of unsafe conditions during the road test, which is later used when filing your report. The process costs about twice that of a pre-trip inspection and takes between 20 to 30 minutes. Items checked, in this case, include brake function, headlight operation, turn signals, speedometer calibration, and wiring connection reliability.
The post-trip inspection follows immediately after you’ve driven your vehicle for some period of time. First, the speed, sound system, and other systems are checked for proper operation after the journey. This is usually conducted by an automotive technician at a service station who will test the battery, tire pressure, fluids levels, and drive belts.
Post-trip inspections serve as a way to ensure that proper vehicle operation continues over time, even with wear and tear from normal usage or exposure to excessive heat. In addition to pre-trip inspection issues such as oil changes, post-trip inspections help ensure the continued maintenance of the powertrain – including batteries, belts, hoses, and filters – plus other components not seen during a pre-trip inspection, including air conditioning filters.
The three types of vehicle safety inspections will help ensure that your car is ready to drive at all times. Make sure you know the required inspections for your area and by who they are conducted. Contact a mechanic or an automotive technician if you have questions about performing maintenance on your vehicle or what kind of inspection it needs next.