What goes on an Annual Vehicle Inspection Report Checklist?

October 7, 2013 12:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

606Annual Vehicle Inspection Reports are used when a motor vehicle undergoes inspection to ensure that it meets government regulated safety and emissions standards. These inspections can be required when a title is transferred, before renewing a license plate, or as part of a periodic motor vehicle inspection. The purpose of these inspections are to ensure that every vehicle is road safe.

The very top of the form should have a place to record details about the vehicle being inspected. These details should include the license plate, VIN number, vehicle type, and owner information. The person inspecting the vehicle must meet government qualifications in order to perform the inspection and there should be a spot on the form to indicate this:



The next part of the form will be the in-depth account of every part on the vehicle. This section is subjective in order but everything should be included when giving a detailed report of a motor vehicle. Having the parts listed will help the mechanic or inspector keep an accurate record of their findings. There should be a place to mark that the part is in working condition or that it needs repaired. If the part is repaired, a repair date should be listed to complete the vehicle’s records.

Brake System:

The type of brakes on a vehicle depends on the type and model. Because an auto center may perform inspections on many different kinds of vehicles, all brake types should be listed under this category. Other parts of the braking system are also included.


  • Service Brakes
  • Parking Brake System
  • Electric Brakes
  • Hydraulic Brakes
  • Vacuum Systems
  • Brake Drums or Rotors
  • Brake lines
  • Low Pressure Warning Device
  • Tractor Protection Valve
  • Air Compressor


Coupling Devices:

An annual inspection form will also include a section for coupling devices. All parts used to tow should be listed in this section.coupling

  • Fifth Wheels
  • Pintle Hooks
  • Towbar Eye
  • Towbar Tongue
  • Saddle Mounts

Some forms also include safety devices or chains in this section or disregard it completely. If you choose not to include towing devices on your annual inspection form, a section that covers the interior of the car could go into the available space.

Exhaust System:

Depending on the needs of your business, this section can be designed in a few ways. The thing inspectors are looking for is any leakage, discharge or damage that could result in fire. These three things could be listed on the form without any explanation. Another choice would be to list the parts of the exhaust system (manifolds, gaskets, exhaust lines, mufflers, resonators, tail piping, and hardware) so that you can check off if they’re in working condition or not. Or you could choose to go into detail about the condition of the exhaust system:


  • Exhaust System determined to be leaking at a point forward of or directly below the driver/sleeper compartment
  • Bus exhaust system leaking or discharge into the atmosphere
  • Exhaust system likely to result in burning, charring, or damaging the electrical wiring, the fuel supply, or any combustible part of the motor vehicle



Fuel System:

The fuel tank is normally inspected for these three things:


  • Visible Leak
  • Fuel tank filler cap missing
  • Fuel tank securely attached

Lighting Devices

Lighting devices include the head lights, lamps, turn signals, and reflectors. The requirements for lighting devices depend on the vehicle type. A typical annual inspection form includes a line similar to this one:lighting&safe

  • All lighting devices and reflectors required by section 393 shall be operable

If there is room on the form, some inspection companies choose to list lights, lamps and reflectors on the form instead of the above statement.

Safe Loading:

Inspections that see a lot of big rigs will want to include this part. If this is rare at your auto inspection center, considering adding more parts or descriptions to another section.

  • Part (s) of vehicle or condition of loading such that the spare tire or any part of the load or dunnage can fall onto the roadway
  • Protection against shifting cargo
  • Container securement devices on intermodal equipment

Steering Mechanism:

The steering system is thoroughly inspected to see if there is excessive wear on the mechanism or if it is out of alignment. The below checklist is the most common used terminology on an inspection form:

  • Steering Wheel Free Play
  • Steering Column
  • Front Axle Beam and All Steering Components Other than Steering Column
  • Steering Gear Box
  • Pitman Arm
  • Power Steering
  • Ball & Socket Joints
  • Tie Rods & Drag links
  • Nuts
  • Steering System

Some forms will also include idler arm and gear box.


Suspension is what keeps the wheel in contact with the road. An inspection company can keep this section simple by adding these three points as a quick overview:


  • Any U-bolt (s), spring hanger (s), or other axle positioning part (s) cracked, broken, loose or missing resulting in shifting of an axle from its normal position
  • Spring Assembly
  • Torque, Radius or Tracking Components

Some annual inspection forms will also list the parts of the spring assembly by including a line for each tire.


Some forms go into detail about the exterior condition of the car by including doors, windows, after market kits, secured racks and any dents to the body. This annual inspection form focuses on the frame of the car:


  • Frame Members
  • Tire & Wheel Clearance
  • Adjustable Axle Assemblies (Sliding Subframes)


This section varies from form to form. These two lines are the most common:

  • Any tire on any steering axle of a power unittires&wheel
  • All other tires

Other forms will have a more detailed report about what the inspection found regarding the condition of the tires:

  • Tire pressure
  • Tire condition and wear
  • Tire type and size
  • Amount of wear LF___RF____LR___RR___
  • Sidewall condition

These checklists are a lot to consider but keep it as simple as you can and focus on what your business comes across the most.


This section is often grouped with the Tire section. Keeping the separate or merging them together is up to you.

  • Lock or Side Ring
  • Wheels & Rims
  • Fasteners
  • Welds

windshieldWindshield Glazing:

Requirements and exceptions as stated pertaining to any crack, discoloration or vision reducing matter (Reference 393.60 for exceptions).

The above statement keeps this part of the form simple and clear. However, you could choose to add illegal tinting or any other safety hazard you’ve seen in your business.

Windshield Wipers:

Any power unit that has an inoperative wiper, or missing or damaged parts that render it ineffective. If you choose to include a section that goes into detail about the exterior of the car, the windshield wipers would be better placed there. Since this form focuses more on the frame, the above line has been included in a separate part.


A mechanic could run into a part not listed that is creating a safety issue. This section is critical for noting these instances.

And like every form, your annual inspection record should include an area for Terms and Conditions:

termsThese terms say:

U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Periodic Inspection Record Keeping Requirements
396.21 (b) (1) The original or a copy of the inspection report shall be retained by the motor carrier, intermodal equipment provider, or other entity that is responsible for the inspection for a period of fourteen months from the date of the inspection report. The original copy of the inspection report must be retained where the vehicle is either housed or maintained. (2) The original or a copy of the inspection report must be available for inspection upon demand of an authorized Federal, State or local official

The most important thing to remember when putting together a form for your business is to make sure it makes sense for you. Any wording above should be changed to reflect the terminology most used by you and your crew. At Printit4Less, we will make any changes you need for free when you purchase an Annual Vehicle Inspection form template.

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This post was written by Progressive Printing Team

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