Vehicle Inspection Checklist: 31 Essential Things for a Safe Drive

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One of the primary responsibilities of vehicle owners is to ensure the roadworthiness of their cars. It entails inspecting your vehicle regularly to ensure the safety of its passengers and other road users. 

Aside from personal use, businesses must do their best regarding the upkeep of their vehicles for commercial use, like trucks and heavy equipment. For one, you must consider public safety. Regular vehicle inspection also ensures you won’t shell out hefty amounts to settle payments for any damage or accident you might cause.

If you’re unsure what to do, check out the infographic below to understand what should be in your vehicle inspection checklist.

vehicle inspection checklist infographic

Vehicle Inspection Checklist: 31 Essential Things for a Safe Drive

Cars have complex mechanisms, systems, and components. When checking a vehicle’s roadworthiness, you must thoroughly inspect each of the following parts to ensure a safe drive.

Critical Equipment

Your vehicle has many crucial pieces of equipment that can affect its performance. Checking that each one is in good working condition can ensure that your drives are always smooth and without worries. Here are some mechanisms you need to add to your vehicle inspection checklist.


Brakes are essential vehicle parts, enabling you to stop or slow down. This mechanism can prevent collisions or hitting potholes that might result in injury, car or property damage, or worse—death. 

When brakes deteriorate because of exposure to weather conditions, lack of maintenance, or regular wear and tear, they can make your vehicle’s safety system inefficient. So, watch out for signs of brake problems, like the car taking longer than usual to stop or slow down or if you are experiencing vibrations and noise while applying the brakes. 

Here are some brake essentials you need to check to ensure safe driving:

  • Service brakes
  • Parking brakes
  • Rotors
  • Brake hose
  • Anti-locking braking system


In driving, lights are vital in ensuring road safety by illuminating the path ahead. They also alert other drivers of your presence, especially in low visibility. If your lights aren’t working correctly, it can lead to accidents, putting you and other road users at risk. 

For example, drivers behind you may not be alerted when you’re slowing down or stopping if you can’t give them a signal with your lights, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. That said, check for signs indicating light problems, such as dimming or flickering. Consider checking the lights’ casings for cracks or condensation and address them immediately.

Some lights to note in your vehicle inspection list include the following:

  • Brake lights
  • Headlights
  • Reverse lights
  • Tail lights
  • Turn signals

Commercial vehicles like trucks and heavy equipment also have clearance and marker lights to help indicate their length and width to other road users at night.


Another essential piece of equipment you need to check is the mirrors. They enable you to see what’s happening around and behind your vehicle, which is especially important when driving a large car. 

For example, your mirrors can help you change lanes safely by letting you see if there are any vehicles in the adjacent lane. On top of this, mirrors reduce blind spots, enabling you to see more of the road. You also need mirrors to avoid scratching your car or hitting something from behind when parking or backing up. 

Many factors can affect your vehicle’s mirror placement, including the size of the load you’re carrying and strong winds. As such, regularly checking on your mirrors can help you drive safely. Here are some vehicle mirrors you should check before going on a road trip: 

  • Rearview mirrors
  • Side mirrors

Trucks and other large vehicles also have the following specialty mirrors to increase the visibility around blind spots:

  • Fender-mounted mirrors 
  • Hood-mounted mirrors
  • Look-down mirrors 


Of course, the wheels are another critical part of cars. Not only do they support your car’s weight, but they can also ensure proper traction on the road and keep your vehicle moving. That’s why you must keep them in good working condition before heading out on the road. 

Your tires can become under or overinflated, damaged, and worn out, causing them to lose traction and lead to accidents. You could prevent losing traction by immediately addressing tire punctures or tread depth changes.

Then, ensure your tire pressure is optimal for prolonged use. Remember to get a set of new ones with the same tire size, model, and tread depth for those that need replacement. 

Plus, it’s best to get the right tires according to your vehicle. Whether for passenger cars or light trucks, installing the right tires can give you a smooth and comfortable ride. Essential things to check about your car wheels include:

  • Tires
    • Tire pressure
    • Tread depth
    • Side walls
    • Valve stem
  • Rims
    • Fasteners 

Other Critical Equipment

When it comes to vehicle inspection checklists, the most talked-about essential parts are brakes, lights, mirrors, and wheels. Beyond these, you must regularly examine the following:

  • The steering mechanism allows you to maneuver and change the direction of your car, helping you avoid oncoming traffic or hitting objects on the road.
  • Windshield wipers can provide clear visibility by removing dirt, rain, and debris.
  • If you tow equipment or have a tractor-trailer, you must ensure the coupling devices are in good condition. Doing so prevents detaching them from your vehicle and hitting others on the road.


Ensuring your car’s interior components are tip-top can give a smooth and comfortable riding experience. You’ll sit inside the vehicle for long periods, especially if your destination is far. As such, your car’s interiors must be in order so you and your passengers can enjoy the drive.

Here are some interior parts you should check before embarking on a trip. 

Air conditioner 

Driving long hours in hot and humid weather can be exhausting and uncomfortable, especially during summer. However, you can avoid this by ensuring your air conditioner works properly. This way, you can have a comfortable temperature, preventing fatigue and dehydration.


Dashboard cameras let you record what happens on the road as you drive. You could use these devices to support your insurance claims in case of accidents. Meanwhile, backing cameras can increase rearview visibility while parking or driving reversely.

Dashboard indicators and gauges

These components provide critical information about your vehicle’s performance, such as fuel levels, engine temperature, and oil pressure. Ensure your dashboard indicators work fine to maintain accuracy and avoid unexpected vehicle breakdowns.


This essential safety feature can help alert drivers in emergencies or dangerous situations. So, test them to guarantee they work properly.


In an accident, seatbelts can keep you and your passengers safe. These safety features can prevent you from crashing into a deploying airbag that can result in severe injuries.


Your car’s exterior parts are your first defense against weather, road debris, and other elements in your surroundings. They help ease your worries about something hitting you—or your passengers—as you cruise along the highway.

For example, windows and windshields can protect you from wind, rain, and debris while providing excellent visibility. Also, a clear windshield can give you a better view and prevent glare that can otherwise be blinding on the road. 

Meanwhile, frames and doors can keep you safe and walled-in inside your car. These exterior features keep you from falling off during the drive, especially on bumpy roads. You must check for dents, rust, and corrosion that could spread to other car parts when left unaddressed.

Additionally, a well-maintained transmission system can improve your car’s handling and performance. This system is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. As such, regular check-ups are necessary for a safer and smoother drive.

To recap, the following exterior parts you should include in your vehicle inspection list are: 

  • Frames
  • Doors
  • Windows 
  • Windshield
  • Transmission system

Components Under the Hood

The parts under the hood of your car are responsible for ensuring it runs smoothly and safely. Taking care of these components can prevent unexpected breakdowns while ensuring optimal performance. This way, you can keep yourself and your passengers unharmed and relaxed.

For example, maintaining optimal engine oil levels and quality can ensure proper lubrication of engine components. With this, you can prevent your engine from overheating and extend its lifespan.

As such, you should never skip this area during your routine vehicle inspection. By checking on these components, you can identify issues or signs of wear and tear that may cause the vehicle to stall. Then, you can immediately address these issues before your trip, avoiding accidents along the way.

That said, here are the essential components under the hood you should inspect regularly:

  • Battery
  • Brake fluid 
  • Engine oil level 
  • Power steering fluids
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Engine hoses

Tools and Spares

To further ensure hassle-free driving and road safety, your vehicle must also have tools and spare parts. These tools can come in handy during emergency repairs when your car breaks down in the middle of the road. This way, you can reduce the risk of being stranded in a potentially unsafe location. 

Additionally, having spare parts and relevant tools can save you money. For example, you won’t have to pay for towing services to get your car to a mechanic for minor damage you can fix by yourself. Also, being prepared can give you peace of mind, knowing that you have the essentials to handle issues that may arise during the trip.

Ensure you’re always prepared by including the following tools and spares in your vehicle inspection checklist.

  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Spare fuses
  • Jack
  • Warning triangles
  • Spare tire
  • High-visibility clothing

Safe Driving Starts with a Thorough Vehicle Inspection

Safety should be the priority of all vehicle owners and drivers on the road. Part of it includes maintaining the car via a thorough vehicle inspection. 

Regularly checking your vehicle’s essential components can help you keep yourself, your passengers, and others on the road safe. Plus, you can ensure a smooth and convenient driving experience, free of worries about serious accidents.

Getting quality tires from Triangle Tires will enable you to cross off one of the items on your vehicle inspection checklist. We have tires for passenger cars, light trucks, and heavy equipment vehicles available for delivery at an affordable price. 

Browse our tire catalog, or contact us for your tire needs.

Triangle Tires are designed to provide better handling and maximum fuel efficiency for your truck or passenger car.
Mikha Dela Cruz
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