What to Know About Commercial Vehicle Inspections
Alberta truckers are familiar with long hours on the road, traveling the long highways that cross our province. But as the economy continues its recovery, and the volume of commercial truck traffic increases, so does the frequency of commercial truck inspections.
These temporary stations are often seen on the side of Alberta highways, conducting safety inspections on drivers, vehicles, and cargo. But what you might not know is that there are also mobile versions – and these pop-up inspection stations can set up in new locations all the time (including major freeways like Stoney Trail) to catch unsuspecting drivers. These “blitz” style operations are nearly impossible to predict, and can’t be avoided when you’re already cruising down the highway.
Now don’t get us wrong: it’s important to follow the law, and these stations are enforcing strict standards for the safety of everyone on the road. After all, big trucks + small passenger vehicles + speed = bad news! That’s why during an inspection, if infractions are found, you can be fined or even have your truck held temporarily until the problems are fixed. If your cargo is not secured properly or documented poorly, or if your truck is mechanically not up to par, you might be stuck indefinitely – and that’s not good.
You need to ensure you stay on top of your regular maintenance and do everything you can do to avoid failing a CVIP inspection before booking in for one.
Mobile Commercial Truck Repair
Here at West Tech Mobile Truck & Trailer Repair, we know that this situation would already be inconvenient enough – and that’s why we bring the fix to YOU! If you find yourself stranded at an inspection station, with repairs needed before you can get back to the road, simply call us and we’ll meet you there, on-site with our fully-equipped service trucks. We’ve got everything you’ll need to get your truck or trailer working again – and we work to the highest standards at a reasonable price. We can take on almost all heavy-duty trucks, trailers, light machinery, and equipment.
No matter what time of day it is, we’re here to help. Our roadside assistance is available 24 hours a day, because we know how frustrating it is to be stuck on the shoulder or at a station at the end of the day. We want to make sure you don’t lose any more time than you have to on your schedule. And with 4 separate mobile service units, we can even be in more than one place at a time.
Annual Brake Checks for Commercial Vehicles
If you’ve been driving a truck or other heavy vehicles for a long time, you may remember a time when inspections weren’t quite as strict or stringent as they are now. One of the big shifts happened in 2019, changing the standards for maintaining brake systems to require an inspection at least once a year.
A big reason for this is quality. At any automotive shop, in the parts section, you’ll find plenty of options for every vehicle – and every budget. These cheap parts can be tempting when you’re looking to replace something that’s worn out on your truck. Now, while these cheaper brake pads or drums will work, they may not work as well as something more expensive, because they are often produced or manufactured for as cheaply as possible – which may be here at home, or may be far overseas. This means quality control may not be effective, the component parts may be low-quality to begin with, or they may just get damaged during a long trip across an ocean. Our advice? Buy the cheapest brake pads at your own risk, because you’re likely to be paying again if they fail early.
Another reason that brakes have to be checked annually is that the latest criteria of inspections for the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program (CVIP) has changed. Inspections of years past included a cam rotation, lining thickness measurements, and push rod traveling, from which shops like ours could pinpoint the drum wear, even though we usually visually inspected the brakes through the hole in the backing plate. We only pulled drums if physical damage or the measurements showed we had to.
Now CVIP standards state that brakes must be pulled every year on various makes and models of equipment, in order to verify things like pad/shoe condition, drum wear, heat dissipation, and cracking to within one inch of the drum lip. This causes us to replace many more brake parts, because the visual inspection is much more thorough.
It’s always a good idea to leave inspections like this to the pros. Our specialty is preventative maintenance and we’re dedicated to keeping your rig running, operational, and compliant before the major problems appear.
The Difference Between CVIP and Preventative Maintenance
It’s not easy to maintain a single vehicle that gets used every day, let alone an entire fleet of them. Between dust and debris, bad driving conditions, extreme temperatures, and just plain old wear and tear, it won’t take long to run into trouble somewhere if you’re not keeping up with inspections and maintenance.
One part of keeping your truck or heavy equipment in good shape is the CVIP (Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program), a mandatory inspection that looks at all your systems to ensure smooth operations. Generally speaking, the CVIP catches the things that would make your driving unsafe, and is only done at specific intervals, such as once a year. While a great start, that leaves a lot of time for something to go wrong under the hood, or somewhere else. You might bring your commercial vehicle in for an inspection, only to find something costly and critical that must be dealt with immediately – and that’s stressful for anyone.
The solution to this shortfall is preventative maintenance. It’s not mandatory or enforced, but this routine means you are getting regular check-ups on the overall function of your vehicle – everything from the tires being a little low on air, to the A/C needing a recharge soon, or even the door handle sticking now and then. The whole point of this proactive approach is to catch issues when they are small, fix them before they become large, and save you plenty of time and money along the way.
By using a consistent PM schedule, you have much more control over your time and money when it comes to what you’re spending on your heavy-duty equipment. Small issues are fixed before they become crippling. Large repairs can sometimes be dealt with in stages, helping to alleviate immediate expenses, and you’ll be aware of anything that might be problematic in the near future, allowing you to budget accordingly as well as extending the life of your vehicle. Plus, you get the peace of mind knowing you won’t have any trouble while far from home and trying to get your work done – it reduces unplanned downtime and lost income.
It doesn’t have to be a big project. At West Tech Mobile, our service trucks will even come to you – on site, on the roadside, at a shop – when it works for your schedule.
On-site Commercial Vehicle Inspections
All heavy-duty commercial trucks and equipment follow rigorous standards for inspection and safety. There are different types for different purposes, though, and some of them don’t require much downtime at all, or even a visit to a shop.
Our favourite type is plain old preventative maintenance. While we believe this is just as necessary as any mandatory inspections, it doesn’t officially count as one. These “in-between” inspections can be done either on-site or in our shop, and will help you get the most efficiency, life, and safety out of your engine and other components. They won’t, however, replace the official inspections that happen regularly.
Quarterly inspections, PDIs (pre-delivery inspections), and PPIs (pre-purchase inspections) can, for the most part, be done at your site, minimizing lost time and productivity. If there are repairs needed that will take more than a day or two, or the conditions are especially poor, we can help tow problematic vehicles back to our shop, too. We’ll assess the situation and help make sure everything is safely working as it should.
This isn’t just limited to trucks, either. We do these inspections on cranes, manlifts, bucket trucks, forklifts, jackstands, and other heavy machinery, all on-site and without interference with your logistics. We have a professional engineer in our staff who’s qualified to do this, and experienced with basic inspections, annual certifications, checkups, and structural magnetic particle inspections.
For CVIP inspections, the law says we must do them in our licensed shop. There are a lot of tools required to do the full procedure that cannot be moved from the facility. These are the strictest rules because it is about your safety, and it’s not something to rush through.
Booking A Commercial Vehicle Inspection in Calgary
If you’re overdue for any of these inspections (or if you simply want to make sure everything in your vehicle is functioning as it should), give West Tech Mobile a call today. If it’s possible, we’ll come to you, and if you have to come in to our shop, you’ll find that you’re leaving your equipment in very capable hands. We offer 3-month warranties on minor repairs and 12-month warranties for major work.
And don’t forget, we offer emergency roadside assistance around Calgary and southern Alberta at 403-899-8805. When you need a part, an inspection, a licensed technician, or a commercial truck inspection, make West Tech Mobile your first call!