Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection Forms Help Reveal Problems

Posted on August 13, 2009 by Linda Moore

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Pre- and post-trip inspections are important for identifying vehicle problems and maintaining the highest quality of your service.

John Pearman, COO of Cooper Atlanta, shared his pre- and post-trip inspection forms with us. These forms were built for Cooper-Atlanta's operation but key points are applicable for every limousine business. Cooper Atlanta uses one set of forms for all of its vehicles instead of separating them out by vehicle type. This allows them to streamline their processes and keep the forms to one page.

The pre-trip inspection reports are placed on the windshields of every vehicle and must be removed by the chauffeur before taking the vehicle out on a run. There is no way for them to be avoided or forgotten.

But more critical than the forms is what is done with them. At Cooper Atlanta, if a problem is identified at pre-trip inspection, the chauffeur informs the dispatcher. The dispatcher will diagnose whether the vehicle's problem will render the vehicle out of service. Problems are entered into the maintenance software and prioritized by the nature of the problem. Cooper Atlanta's maintenance department reviews the forms daily. "Inspections allow us to catch damage. Usually, we catch most things at vehicle prep. The more eyes that are on the vehicle, the better chance of spotting a problem," Pearman explains.

Detecting Noises and Smells Breeds Good Diagnostics

Chauffeurs see and hear problems often before they become apparent to your maintenance departments. Teaching them to identify those noises and smells can help you quickly diagnose problems before they get out of hand. Lou Saif of Royale shares his experience with five common noises and odors to be aware of in limousines:

1. Squeaky Shrieky Brakes

The simplest noise to identify is squeaking brakes. If your chauffeur hears them, it probably means the pads need to be changed as soon as possible to avoid also changing the rotor. Identifying this noise early will save you money in the long run.

2. Bad Vibrations

These can mean a number of things: a nail in a tire, a bent wheel, wheels out of alignment, or an unbalanced wheel. Aside from it annoying your customer, this gives the client a poor impression of your company. It is easy to repair. 

3. Stinky Smells

A rotten egg smell tells you that the car is overcharging. If you look at the battery, it will appear a bit bloated. Sometimes you will see battery acid residue by the terminals. This could indicate an overcharging alternator. The internal diode on the alternator would then be bad. Dealerships will check this and often will misdiagnose it as it will show it as charging. High voltage will boil out the battery acid and cause the nasty smell. Any kind of bad smell means something. A mildewing smell could be a leak. A fishy kind of smell could be an antifreeze leak. Rubber burning usually relates to the belts. 

4. Psychotic Cycling
If the air conditioning compressor appears to be constantly cycling, it could mean that it has the wrong amount of refrigerant. If it is not cycling at all, it could be low on refrigerant, causing the compressor to shut off. 

5. Clickety-Clacks

Steering wheels turning to extremes sometimes have a clicking sound. In earlier Lincolns, that symbolized a loose rack and pinion.

After the jump: 10 Ways to Keep Vehicles in Top Shape and Boost Resale Value

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