How to Do a Daily Heavy Vehicle Check

Trucks keep Australia moving, and that means our heavy vehicles are subject to some of the hardest working conditions in the world.

Millions of kilometres and tonnes of cargo takes its toll on heavy vehicles. This reduces on-road safety and increases the likelihood of accidents, breakdowns and vehicle downtime.

One of the best ways to prevent this is with a daily safety check.

Daily safety checks give operators the chance to inspect their vehicles and ensure everything is in good condition. A heavy vehicle check only takes a few minutes, but it can save you a substantial amount of time and money when you’re on the road.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to do a daily heavy vehicle check, and why they’re an important part of your daily workload.

The Importance of Daily Safety Checks

Performing a thorough safety check each time you leave the depot is crucial to road safety and business uptime.

It’s the responsibility of the vehicle operator to ensure the safety check is performed, although some businesses employ dedicated technicians to handle this task. Regardless of who handles the inspection, daily safety checks offer three major benefits:

  • Improved safety – Heavy vehicles are always on the move. The more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. The likelihood of road accidents drops sharply when your vehicle is in roadworthy condition. Performing daily checks ensures minor problems are identified and fixed before you get out onto the road. That’s safer for heavy vehicle operators, pedestrians and other road users.

  • Reduced breakdowns – Breakdowns and downtime can be a huge cost to your business. Heavy vehicle checks can reduce your chances of breaking down unexpectedly. Consider a common scenario – a truck breaks down on the side of the road due to a small fault. The operator spends most of their day stranded, and incurs the cost of a mobile mechanic to repair the issue. In most cases, it’s faster and cheaper to repair the issue before leaving the depot. Daily checks give you a chance to identify points of failure. Simple problems like badly routed air lines can leave you stranded on the road, and inspecting your vehicle is the best way to avoid that outcome.

  • Reduced costs – This is the major benefit of performing a daily vehicle inspection before you leave the depot. When you reduce the chance of breakdowns and downtime, you substantially reduce the costs of operating a heavy vehicle. You’ll also be able to repair small issues in the depot where labour and parts are readily available, helping to reduce the cost of each service. Whether you’re operating a single vehicle or an entire fleet, daily checks can save you thousands.

How to Do a Daily Heavy Vehicle Check

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) requires the operators of heavy vehicles to perform a daily inspection before taking a heavy vehicle on the road. This is a legal requirement.

Daily heavy vehicle checks are a visual inspection that only takes a few minutes. During the inspection, you’ll mark off each item against a checklist showing that it meets the inspection criteria.

The checklist we’ve provided below is a guide only. Your daily checklist should be expanded to suit your vehicle and business. At a minimum, you need to check the following systems:


  • Brakes are operational

  • Brake failure lights are operational

  • Brake pressure gauges are operational

Wheels and Tyres

  • Tyres are properly inflated

  • Tyres have adequate tread

  • Wheels are fastened securely

  • Hub seals are intact


  • Fifth wheel/turntable and mounting is secure

  • Kingpin is correctly engaged

  • Tow couplings are securely mounted

  • Safety chains are connected securely

Body Condition

  • Body is in good condition with no significant damage or wear

  • Door and bonnet catches are secure

  • No corrosion or damage to the chassis and undercarriage

Lights, Reflectors and Signals

  • Lights and signals work as intended

  • Reflectors are properly fitted


  • Side and rear vision mirrors are functional

  • Reversing cameras are functional

Windows and Windscreens

  • Windows and windscreens are clear and undamaged

Engine and Driveline

  • No signs of fluid leaking from the engine, transmission and driveline

  • No warning lights are illuminated when the vehicle is running


  • Springs are fitted and in good condition

  • Bushes and pins are in good condition, showing no signs of wear or cracks

  • Air bags and shock absorbers are in good condition

  • Axles and boots are in good condition, showing no signs of leaks


  • Steering box and arms are functional

  • No signs of hydraulic fluids leaking

Air Systems

  • Air lines are routed properly

  • Leak and low air warning lights are operational

  • Air tank drain valves are operational

The Legalities of Heavy Vehicle Checks

Daily heavy vehicle checks are a legal requirement. The operator of a heavy vehicle is responsible for checking the vehicle's condition before leaving the depot, yard or rest area.

If you don’t perform heavy vehicle checks, or if you take a “tick and flick” approach to the task, you can be subject to criminal and civil penalties. These include:

  • Fines and penalties – The NHVR has the power to issue fines and penalties if you fail to perform a daily check and your vehicle is not in a road  worthy condition. The maximum penalty is currently up to $7110, depending on the nature and severity of the breach.

  • Demerit points – Drivers may incur licence demerit points for breaching the Heavy Vehicle National Law. Repeated offences may result in the suspension or loss of your licence, and your vehicle registration may be cancelled. This causes a loss of revenue and income for businesses and drivers alike.

  • Legal liability – Most importantly, failing to complete a comprehensive vehicle check can leave you liable for any damage or injury that’s caused by a faulty vehicle. This can include both personal injury and damage to property. Losses for these types of cases can be in the millions, and it’s unlikely that your insurance will provide coverage.

Keep Your Heavy Vehicles on the Road with Kel Stanton’s Mobile Diesel!

Uptime is everything in the heavy vehicle industry. The more time you spend on the road, the easier it is to hit your targets and reduce costs.

But accidents and breakdowns are a fact of life. Whether you identify a problem during your daily inspection, or encounter an issue while you’re driving, Kel Stanton’s Mobile Diesel Service can help!

We’re a mobile truck mechanic that works all over the Brisbane region. Our technicians operate a fleet of vehicles that carry the tools, equipment and spare parts needed to repair all types of heavy vehicles and diesel equipment.

The best part is we come to you! Our mobile diesel truck mechanics can provide on-the-spot repairs for most issues, ensuring you get back on the road sooner.

You can contact us online to book an inspection or service appointment, or call us if you need emergency roadside repairs.

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Book an appointment or give us a call to discuss how we can help!