Benefits of using a vehicle checklist
As the name implies, a vehicle checklist is mainly intended for vehicles when performing vehicle checks. There are several vehicle inspection checklists you can use. For instance, we have a vehicle maintenance checklist that mechanics use to check the parts and functions of your vehicle.
The inspection outcome could be that the vehicle is alright and functions properly. If not, you should address any issues. This inspection can come in handy, especially if you plan to buy a second-hand car.
As part of a vehicle’s maintenance, you should have it checked regularly to make sure it’s functioning properly. When you get your car checked up, the inspector starts with a blank vehicle inspection sheet. This is an important tool to identify defects and mechanical issues of a vehicle undergoing inspection. Here are the benefits of using a vehicle inspection checklist:
- It lists all of the things that need inspection to ensure that every part of the vehicle gets checked.
- It informs the inspector which parts of your vehicle need maintenance work, replacement or repair. Most vehicular parts should undergo necessary inspection to ensure optimal vehicle performance.
- It helps inspect the vehicle’s safety, to ensure the safety of passengers when the vehicle is in use.
- It makes the inspection easier and less of a hassle for you and the inspector.
What to include in your vehicle checklist for inspections?
For businesses, you can have the most efficient packaging and assembly lines in the entire world but this means nothing if your business’ vehicle fails to start in the morning. Whatever the problem is, the time wasted because of such failure is time that those expecting your products must wait.
The worse part of this predicament is that if you haven’t done any regular maintenance work on your vehicle, you won’t even have a clue of what’s wrong with it. Fortunately, a vehicle checklist can solve your problem.
It’s important to have your car undergo a regular vehicle checkup at least time each year for each of your business’ service vehicles. This ensures that they are always in prime condition. This, in turn, helps you plan for any business costs since repairs could blindside you if you have no budget for them. The details to include in your vehicle maintenance checklist are:
- Details of the vehicle inspector
You should jot down the details of the one who will perform the inspection of your vehicle. This makes it easier to identify the person in charge of the inspection in case they get tempted to cut corners during inspection.
- Your details as the vehicle operator
Next to record are your details as the vehicle’s operator. Although this is not really necessary, it’s always recommended to link yourself to your vehicle when possible.
- Details of your vehicle
These is the last set of details to record on your car inspection checklist before starting on your vehicle’s inspection. Use the fields on your vehicle checklist to write down the details of your vehicle for making it easier for you and the inspector.
Parts of the vehicle to include in your vehicles checklist
When it comes to vehicle inspection, look for an inspector who could give you the highest quality vehicle assessment. Whether you’re bringing in your car for its regular maintenance checkup or repairs, make sure that it gets a comprehensive vehicle inspection to ensure that your car performs its best.
Expert auto mechanics assess all of the main operating systems of the car using a vehicle inspection sheet. The parts they check include:
The usual inspections for tires involve tread, tire wear, and pressure. For pressure, use a tire gauge. Radial tires today always appear somewhat flat because of their tread mushrooms at the bottom. These ensure a better contact with the road.
Then there are some vehicles that use run-flat tires that always appear inflated even when they are low in air. Even new cars would eventually lose air in their tires. This is why drivers should pay close attention to their tire-pressure warning light on the dashboard.
- Tire tread
After checking tire pressure, it’s time to look at the tire treads, especially if you have driven some miles in your car. To test if you still have good tire treads, put a quarter upside down into the groove. If the entire head shows, you need to replace your tires soon.
You can also purchase a tread-depth gauge at any auto parts shop. A depth measuring less than 1/8 of an inch means it’s potentially illegal and unsafe in most states.
Batteries undergo several tests including voltage checks, securing tie-downs, and charge and discharge load checks. You have to replace your vehicle’s batteries after they reach their 4th year of service or about the time your new-car warranties end. Cars exposed to extreme weather have batteries with shorter lives.
- Steering and suspension
Power steering belts, fluid levels, and pumps should undergo inspection too. Add to this a check on fluid leaks. Steering systems develop problems after some time and when one occurs, a warning light on the dashboard gives you a signal.
Electric power steering is more common today and this eliminates some issues with drive belts and hydraulic fluids. Vehicles with the traditional power steering feature may leak fluids or screech if the belt becomes worn out or loose.
- Safety lights
Another important item in a vehicle inspection checklist the safety lights which include headlights, hazard lights, turn lights, and brake lights. All these have their own special functions.
Even new cars can already have burned-out or lights. Testing lights is easy. Just turn on the lights while your car is in the garage or aim at a wall. If the light works, you will see them work. For backup lights, put the car in reverse while firmly holding the brakes. The backup lights should work.
- Windshield wipers
The inspector performs a physical inspection on the wiper blades and windshield. If you’re doing the checking, just turn them on. Do the same with the rear-window wiper. Squirt some washer fluid on the glass while the wipers move so they can clean the glass without smearing. You should replace wipers regularly as they wear fast, especially when you keep your car outdoors.
- Fluid levels
The vehicle maintenance checklist also requires you to check the oil levels of your car and these include brake fluid, motor oil, transmission fluid, washer fluid levels, and coolant levels. These are part of the routine checkup when you bring your car to an inspector.
However, when the warranty expires, it’s suggested to bring your car to a different shop. Some of these levels you can check yourself. Just refer to the owner’s manual to provide you with instructions on how to do these.
- Other parts to check are:
Check the brake fluid and assess wear on the rotors, drum, and brake pads.
The inspector must perform a complete exterior inspection.
Engine inspection for damages, leaks, and maintenance checks must take place too.
The inspector must check the belt operations.
The inspector must also check the hoses for any leaks or other issues.
The inspector must check the exhaust manifold, tailpipes, muffler, and catalytic converter for damage, leaks or cracks.
All these are part of a full car inspection checklist. This ensures that your vehicle will be completely safe and performs at its best. If you think your vehicle needs to undergo a full inspection, seek the services of professional car technicians.
Checking your vehicle checklist
The main purpose of a vehicle checklist is to make your vehicle effective. Here are a few guidelines to consider when making your own vehicle inspection checklist:
- When you create a checklist, you should have a purpose why you need it in the first place.
- You should know the vehicle parts and their functions so you know what to check regularly. Make a list of these things then make an outline to organize your checklist.
- Consider the things that you want to have in the checklist including the instructions for using the checklist or how to conduct a vehicle check. Keep your writing skills and language as simple as possible to ensure that the inspector can understand it easily.
- Proofread your final work a few times just to make sure you don’t mess up any of the important points you considered. Better yet, you can ask a friend to help you out with this.
- For your reference, you can check out some checklist examples then use these as references when creating your own.
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