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Some Basics About Trailer Repair…

April 29, 2016

When you stop and think about it, tractor trailers are an integral part of our daily lives.  Almost every type of consumer good is transported by tractor trailer.  Look around your home or office for a moment and try to identify one item that was not moved or delivered by a trailer.  Pretty difficult.  Even if the finished product was not actually transported by tractor trailer, its component parts most certainly were.

Is there an item that was manufactured overseas and imported to the US?  Well it probably was imported via container ship.  But once the item was off loaded it was most likely delivered by trailer.  In North America, trailers deliver consumer goods coast to coast across the United States as well as to Canada and Mexico.  For that reason, there is a great need for trailers to be repaired and maintained.

One of the most basic tools in trailer maintenance is the FMCSA Inspection.  Both tractors AND trailers fall under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirement that every commercial vehicle be inspected at least once every 12 months; basically an annual inspection.  The inspection includes most of the basics such as lamps and reflectors, electrical connectors and wiring, brakes (including the linings, drums, etc.), landing gear, etc.

The person who performs the inspection (the inspector) is required to complete a report that indicates the following:

  • The motor carrier
  • The person performing the inspection
  • Vehicle being inspected
  • Date of inspection
  • The components being inspected & the result of each component inspection (Pass/Fail)
  • Certification that the inspection is complete and accurate

Of course if there is any component that fails the inspection, that component must be repaired and/or replaced before the trailer can be put on the road.

Normally a sticker or decal is applied to the trailer as well, indicating when the trailer was inspected.

A copy of the inspection report must be maintained by the motor carrier and retained for 14 months following the inspection. A copy of the report should also be kept with the trailer since the report must be made available on demand to any authorized federal, state or local official.

Why is this inspection required?  Quite simply it is to help ensure that commercial vehicles are in good operating condition and safe to be on the road.


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