HGV daily walkaround checks: checking your fuel and oil levels

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Updated 02/12/2022

All vehicles need oil and fuel to operate; without them, they can suffer from mechanical failures which can lead to breakdowns. HGVs and PSVs, with or without a trailer, must have their oil and fuel checked every single day by the driver before they set off on their journey. Failure to carry out these checks, or to report any vehicle defects, can result in a fine or harsher punishment given out by the DVSA.

In this guide, we will explain why it is so important to check fuel and oil during an HGV daily walkaround check, what exactly needs checking, and when you should report any fuel and oil defects. We will also explore what the consequences could be if your fuel and oil conditions are not up to standard, and how our compliance management system can help.

Why is checking HGV fuel and oil during a daily check so important?

Checking your fuel and oil levels during your HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) daily walkaround check is incredibly important if you want to avoid potential breakdowns and failures. It is advised that drivers of any vehicle regularly check their oil levels, and fuel should be topped up whenever the tank is getting empty. However, failing to check oil and fuel in an HGV could lead to fines issued by the DVSA if they find faults during a roadside check.

Driving with low oil levels can cause damage to the engine as it can overheat and cause parts inside to seize. This in turn can cause other mechanical systems within the vehicle to fail, which becomes a safety hazard not only to the HGV driver, but other road users too. When an engine overheats or seizes, it can lead to deformities, depleted fuel consumption and costly repairs, and you may even have to replace your vehicle altogether.

Truck driver fuelling up freight transport truck

What do I need to check during my HGV fuel and oil checks?

When checking over your HGV during your daily walkaround checks, pay careful attention to your fuel and oil. Before setting off, ensure that you have the correct amount of oil in the tank. It might also be beneficial to check for petrol stations along your route if your journey is long and you need to top up. During your checks, ensure that the fuel filler cap is fitted correctly. You should also turn your engine on and check underneath the vehicle or trailer for any leaks from your fuel and oil tanks.

If you notice anything dripping from the bottom of your HGV or PSV, you should investigate further to see where the source of the leak is. When carrying out your daily vehicle checks, it can be hard to note down any checks and defects using paper. Paper checklists can easily be misplaced or damaged; using a paperless checklist and CMS system can store all of your data and reports in one place, allowing you to complete your checks more efficiently. You can find out more about our app here.

When should I report my fuel and oil defects?

If you notice, during your checks, that your fuel cap isn’t connected properly, or there is a leak coming from your oil or fuel tank, you should mark this down on your checklist as a defect and you must not drive your vehicle. If you notice a little damage to your fuel cap, but it will still attach and is in pretty good condition, you may still be okay to drive your HGV. However, if you are still unsure, you should report your concerns to the relevant person within your company.

Driving with any leak or fault to the fuel cap is highly dangerous and can lead to punishment directly from the DVSA. If you have checked your fuel and oil and notice no issues or faults, just put “nil” next to them on your checklist to prove that you have carried out your daily walkaround check.

Closeup of an oil probe from a car with an oil drop on the end

What happens if my fuel and oil are not up to DVSA standards?

If you fail to carry out your HGV daily checks, or you drive your HGV or PSV knowing there is a fault with your oil or fuel, you could face a fine or even criminal prosecution. All DVSA standard checks should be taken seriously; if your vehicle is pulled over by a DVSA officer and they find an issue or realise you have not carried out your checks, they can immobilise your vehicle straight away. This is known as immediate prohibition. You may be granted delayed prohibition, meaning you can drive your vehicle away, but you must have it fixed within 10 days.

When checking your fuel levels, you should also look to see if you have enough AdBlue in your vehicle, and you should top up when necessary. To find out more about the importance of AdBlue in HGVs, and to read about the importance of a daily vehicle check for HGVs, you can visit our advice centre.

How AssetGo can help

Here at AssetGo, we aim to make daily walkaround checks easier with streamlined compliance procedures and defect reporting all in one app. Records of previous checks will be kept safe and secure in an easy-to-navigate CMS system. HGV drivers and Fleet Managers no longer have to worry about misplacing paperwork, as all daily checks can be completed in one app. Drivers can submit their faults with ease, and past reports will be easy to access should the DVSA choose to pull your vehicle over for a safety inspection.

To find out more about our app and system, or to request a demonstration to improve your vehicle safety checks, you can get in touch with us today.

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