What are FMCSA's Truck Maintenance Recordkeeping Requirements?

The FMCSA requires that your truck maintenance program document all activities including repairs, service schedules, maintenance checklists, and more.

Published On: 06/01/2024
Truck maintenance mechanic
J. J. Keller Industry Consultant Tom Bray

Written by:

Tom Bray

Sr. Industry Business Advisor — J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that your truck maintenance program document all maintenance-related activities including repairs, service schedules, and maintenance checklists, including:

  • The “informational record” on a unit, to be kept the entire time the vehicle is in service, plus six months after the vehicle leaves service. Identifying information includes:
    1. Fleet number (if assigned one)
    2. Make, model, and year
    3. VIN
    4. Tire size
    5. Owner (if not the carrier)
  • A maintenance schedule for the unit, which includes the last time it was serviced and when it is next due for service.
  • Records of all inspection, maintenance, lubrication, repairs, and upcoming maintenance. These are to be kept for one year while the unit is in service, and six months after the unit leaves service (§396.3).
  • Copies of roadside inspections for the unit, with the carrier official signature. These are to be kept for one year (§396.9).
  • Daily Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs). These are to be retained for three months, with either one or three signatures (§396.11 and 396.13).
  • Copies of periodic (annual) inspections. These are to be kept for 14 months (§396.17).

The regulations require a bare minimum for recordkeeping, but in reality, you’ll want and need detailed records of all work done on the vehicles — inspections, maintenance, or repairs. When properly used and analyzed, your vehicle data is a powerful tool that gives you insight into vehicle health, operational capacity, strategic planning, and safety. 

If you haven’t already, digitize your records in order to determine your actual maintenance costs, and quickly make sound decisions when it comes to updating your inspection and maintenance program (scheduling, checklists, cutoffs, etc.).

What Does the FMCSA Look for During a Maintenance Program Audit?

During the audit or investigation, the FMCSA official will decide if the maintenance program is adequate by:

  1. Reviewing the carrier’s roadside inspection history,
  2. Tracking defects noted on roadside inspection reports and driver inspection reports to determine that they were repaired,
  3. Verifying that the company is completing required inspections in time (such as the passenger-vehicle exit inspections and annual inspections), and
  4. Ensuring that the company is doing the maintenance and inspections, as told to the auditor. For example, if the company said the maintenance program is doing a maintenance inspection monthly and a full service/inspection every 90 days, that’s what the auditor will expect to see in the maintenance records.

Bottom line? What auditors and investigators look at, is what you should always be watching.

Simplify DOT Maintenance Recordkeeping with Encompass

A vehicle maintenance program and recordkeeping are an FMCSA requirement and a best business practice. The Encompass® Fleet Management System can help you ensure your maintenance program is on track. Call 855-693-5338 to talk with a compliance specialist or request a conversation. Learn more.

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