Both to protect their own safety and that of other road users, HGV drivers are dependant on their driving skills each day they are on the road. However, there are times when more than skill is needed to keep everyone safe. As is the case with any vehicle, your HGV needs to be maintained in good condition at all times. To ensure this is the case your HGV needs to have an annual safety inspection. Any while you’re organising it, why not arrange a hazard perception test and your HGV licence renewal.
Why Do HGVs Need an Annual Inspection?
HGVs could definitely be described as being large and rather complicated pieces of machinery. They are made up of many moving parts and systems which all need to work in unison to keep the vehicle running correctly. If something in one of the systems isn’t quite right it can cause issues for the whole vehicle – it could be fuel inefficiency, or bad brakes and the list goes on. From a tachograph to the air brakes, every part of the HGV has to be maintained in good working order.
Just like a car has to pass an annual MOT to be able to be used on the road, a HGV has to pass an annual safety inspection. The inspection considers how roadworthy the vehicle is and when a pass is awarded it gives a guarantee that the lorry is safe to drive for another year. All HGV drivers who have undergone this inspection are well aware of how thorough it is and there are many good reasons for this.
What Is Checked in the Inspection?
HGV drivers are used to carrying out a daily walk-around of their vehicle. These checks are pretty standard and tend to quickly become routine. However, the annual check is where an inspector examines the vehicle and ensures that it passes minimum standards which show how roadworthy the vehicle is. A few of the areas which are checked include:
This is the first part of the inspection and includes the top of the HGV, the inspection is carried out on a hard standing surface and will look at the following factors:
- Confirming the identity of the vehicle against the VTG2 plate,
- Making sure that the mirror fairings are in good working order and securely fixed,
- Ensuring that the driver and passenger doors open and close safely,
- Ensuring all tyres are in good condition and match the vehicle rating,
- Making sure that spray suppressors are of the appropriate size,
- Checking all lights, including the fog lights, repeaters and indicators to ensure that they are properly aligned and operate correctly.
This part of the inspection checks all visible parts of the vehicle. The driver accompanies the inspector and they move around the vehicle methodically to check the complete structure, as well as the inside of the cab. A lot of these elements are part of the daily checks which HGV drivers carry out so any issues will likely already have been caught.
Following the inspection of the upper part of the HGV, you will have to move the HGV over a pit and the underside will be looked at. This will include checking:
- alignment of the axle
- the function of the air brakes
- the bearings
- the foot brakes
- shaker plates
- any leaks of oil or fuel.
Inspectors are experts and know how to find wear and tear, bolts that are loose and all sorts of signs that ring alarm bells. You may feel that they are a little too rigorous but since road safety is in question we believe this can only be a good thing.