Inspect My Truck: How Provincial Inspections Save Money
I’ve heard tell of jurisdictions that only require MVI’s (Motor Vehicle Inspections) to be performed on commercial tractors yearly.
A commercial truck tractor is a complex machine, with many potential hazards. I try and keep up on the repairs and the maintenance, and consider myself rather diligent. In my opinion, 12 months is too long to wait to perform said ‘wheel-off inspections’.
The bulk of my driving has always been in British Columbia, and, from my perspective, one of the toughest and most comprehensive jurisdictions for roadside inspections. Combined with — I know many of you will laugh at this — educated roadside inspection staff. While they might not all be fully certified mechanics, in general British Columbia’s commercial vehicle inspectors are knowledgeable in what they are looking for.
Until recently, I spent close to five years with my truck being registered and licensed outside the province of BC, but continued to get my tractor inspected in BC.
Reasons for this? It started out as convenient, but I noticed a few things shortly after my truck adopted out of province registration. The level of interest towards my truck from the scale attendants was noticeably higher than the exact same truck that was previously registered in BC.
Curious? Sure. Unwarranted? I don’t believe so.
After several trips into the scale masters’ office for a paperwork check or a chat about my covered road lights, I wondered what had changed with my truck since I moved to another company.
Did I work for a less reputable carrier? No, I have always been lucky that any move made by my little one truck operation was a step up the transportation ladder.
Was my truck suddenly at an age that it was more likely to have issues? No, the truck was only two years old.
The only difference between this week and last week was the registration and licensing on the truck being transferred to a different jurisdiction.
At the time, I was extremely aggravated by the additional attention that was being given to me and my truck; I started to take it personal. However, after further reflection, and looking around the industry a little closer, I realized that it was because of the reputation of the jurisdiction that I was now associated with. The perceived "Wild West" attitude of the province I was now registered in, warranted or not, was the only reason I could think of that my truck was a ‘vehicle of interest’ to the BC authorities.
It was after this realization I decided I would continue to get my trucks’ MVI inspections done within the province of BC every six months and at the dealership that I had been using for many years.
It was also a requirement of the company I worked for. They, believing too that the extended intervals for MVI inspections that were the norm in the jurisdiction we operated under were inadequate, demanded a wheel off inspection every six months. So if it was required anyhow, I might as well get a gov’t decal for my troubles.
I am convinced that these shortened intervals of required inspections saved me money and downtime. From the front axle bushings that were found on one inspection, to the broken piggy back springs that were discovered in another, and more recently, the cracked weld on a steering shaft. The extra money and time that was spent on my truck ‘unnecessarily’ from the view of the jurisdiction I was licensed in saved me more than it might otherwise have cost me in the long run.
It didn’t prevent an accident and it didn’t prevent my truck from breaking. It did, however, give me, my family and the company I work for added security and certainty that everything was being done to keep me and the highways safe.
I know many who feel otherwise. "Why do you inspect your truck there? You don’t have to, it’s cheaper and less often if you get it inspected over here!"
My response has always been "Is it? Is it really? Or is it just putting off repairs that you know will be required, eventually costing you more money in the long run?"
There are enough things I have to worry about, enough danger and stress involved with the job — a job I have to do safely.
While inspecting my truck more often than necessary in some of my colleagues' view adds unnecessary costs, I view it as piece of mind for both myself and my carrier. My reputation and professionalism is the only thing I have to offer as a service. By ensuring my truck is kept up and being properly looked after, I am confident that I will continue to provide for my customer, as well as the carrier who’s name I put on the door — whose reputation is on the line.
Just like mine.