If you drive an HGV or PSV, or manage a whole fleet, you will need to carry out daily walkaround checks as required by the DVSA. Failure to carry out these necessary checks could result in a fine or further punishment should a DVSA enforcement officer find a serious fault with your vehicle. These checks can also give you peace of mind as a driver too, as you can rest easy knowing your HGV is roadworthy. But how can you carry out these checks, and how do you report a defect easily and efficiently should you find one?
In this guide, we will highlight the importance of an HGV daily walkaround check. We will also cover some important components of the checks, such as tyres, AdBlue, brakes and oil levels, as well as how you can accurately report a defect to the relevant people within your company. Furthermore, we will explore the benefits of the AssetGo app, and how all of your HGV daily walkaround checks can be stored in one place.
What is an HGV daily walkaround check and why is it so important?
Daily walkaround checks are a legal requirement for all HGVs and the DVSA has the right to perform a roadside check on your vehicle. If you have failed to perform your checks, or you cannot provide your checklist, the DVSA can issue punishment. If two different drivers will be driving the HGV or PSV, they will both need to perform their own checks.
During a daily walkaround check, you should investigate the interior and exterior of the HGV, as well as the trailer if one is attached (however, a trailer check is separate from a regular HGV check). Inside checks include mirrors, steering and the windscreen, whereas exterior checks include the lights and indicators, the battery and tyres. Performing these checks can not only keep your vehicle DVSA compliant, but they will also keep you and other road users safe. You can perform these checks by filling out a paper or digital checklist, the latter of which is more convenient, efficient and provided by AssetGo.
To find out more about the importance of HGV daily walkaround checks, please read our full previous guide here.
Checking your HGV tyres
For any vehicle, routinely checking the tyres is essential to improve safety and handling. Driving with the wrong tread depth and air pressure can be dangerous, which is why HGV drivers should check their tyres every day before setting off on their journey. Drivers should check that the tyres are properly attached, with a suitable tread depth and pressure, and there are no deep holes or cuts.
HGV tyres should have a tread depth of at least 1mm; if you notice that the tread depth of any tyre is below this minimum level, you should report it and get the affected tyres changed immediately. The optimum HGV tyre pressure is between 8 and 9 bar, and it should never exceed 10. Checking your tyres is incredibly important, as tyres that do not meet the legal requirements can cause hazards on the road. Issues with your tyres should be logged in your daily checks and presented to a DVSA officer if your vehicle is pulled over.
To find out more about checking your tyres during a daily walkaround check, please read our full guide here.
The importance of adequate AdBlue levels in an HGV
Vehicles such as diesel HGV’s that use SCR technology require AdBlue to function. AdBlue reduces the emissions released by diesel vehicles; without it, your vehicle will cease to operate as the engine will not turn on. Therefore, it is important to check your AdBlue levels during your daily walkaround checks.
Your AdBlue tank is next to your fuel tank, and has a blue cap to avoid confusion. During your daily HGV checks, you should ensure that the cap is fitted securely so that no debris can enter the tank and contaminate it. You should also check your dashboard for the AdBlue warning light; if this has illuminated, you should top up your AdBlue tank as soon as you are able. DVSA examiners can check your AdBlue levels, as well as look for any emissions cheat devices such as an AdBlue emulator. Such device can result in a £300 fine if it is not removed within 10 days.
Checking the brakes of an HGV
Brakes that operate effectively are crucial to ensuring your and other road users’ safety. HGV brakes should be checked every day by the driver; they should check for air leaks, ensure the warning system works and make sure that the air build-up is up to standard. The driver’s footwell should also be clear for easy access to the brakes, and the tractor or trailer service brake needs to be in good working order.
Failure to perform these checks can result in a £100 fine issued by the DVSA as well as three points on your licence. The DVSA have guidance on how you should test your brakes, though this is not required as part of your daily walkaround checks. HGV brakes should be tested at least four times a year, and your vehicle should have a full load before testing to ensure that the brakes can withstand the weight.
To discover more about the importance of checking your brakes, please read our full guide here.
Why you should check your HGV fuel and oil levels
All vehicles, especially HGVs and PSVs, need sufficient fuel and oil to operate. Checking fuel and oil levels during your daily walkaround checks can avoid breakdowns and mechanical failures, and the DVSA can issue fines if you fail to perform your checks. Before embarking on your journey, make sure you check that you have enough oil; it is also worth checking for petrol stations along your route in case you need to top up. You should also check that the fuel cap is fitted correctly, and there are no fuel or oil leaks under your HGV.
If you notice any issues with your fuel or oil, including leaks and problems with the fuel cap, you should avoid driving your vehicle and report them immediately. If you are unsure as to whether an issue classifies as a serious fault, you should still check with the relevant person within your company. If the DVSA notice any issues, they can either seize your vehicle straight away, or they will give you 10 days to fix the issue.
Daily walkaround checks; how to report defects
HGV daily walkaround checks should be carried out by each driver operating a particular vehicle. Any faults detected following these various checks should be reported immediately on a paper or digital checklist. Until the fault is fixed, the vehicle should not be driven if the defect is classed as a safety fail. Faults found during the journey should also be reported; these are known as in-service defects. The driver should make note of the details of the defect, the registration number of the vehicle, their name and the date on which the fault was found. All details should be reported to the relevant person within your company.
You should keep all defect reports for 15 months. Paper checklists can easily be misplaced and can be less practical to fill out. Digital checklists such as the ones found on the AssetGo app are easy to access and conveniently located in one place, making them a more practical choice when compared to paper. All data is stored in a CMS system which can be easily accessed if a DVSA officer asks to see your past checklists.
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