Keeping up with CSA

April 5, 2019
Common vehicle issues that cause breakdowns.

Implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2010, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability roadside inspection program is designed to monitor fleets and drivers to ensure commercial vehicles are operated safely on U.S. roads.    

Top CSA roadside violations can shed light on issues that should be monitored within the fleet.

The top three historical violations – lights, brakes, tires – account for well over half of all CSA truck safety violations each year. In addition, since changes to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas emissions requirements have influenced changes to vehicle engine system design, more exhaust and aftertreatment issues have occurred in the last decade.

Pre-trip, en route and post-trip inspections are critical to ensure these issues are caught and addressed before a CSA roadside inspection violation is sited, or a larger vehicle issue occurs. Proper driver training is key to conducting these inspections accurately.

“The truck might be road worthy for the eyes of the driver, but may not be road worthy in the eyes of the DOT officer,” says Ray Grant, operations manager for Fleet Interstate Services.

Common roadside calls are due to a number of factors, such as: 

Tires, including leaks or blowouts. “Proper inflation is the biggest issue,” says Hillary Hansen, marketing & data mining manager, JAM Best-One Fleet Service. “Under- and over-inflated tires are more prone to blowouts and/or failure cause by road hazards than tires at the correct psi.” Also be sure to monitor uneven wear, and ensure proper tread depth for each tire – at minimum 4/32nds of an inch for steer tires, 2/32nds of an inch for drive and trailer tires.

Brake issues. “We’ve seen a lot of bad chambers losing air out of rusted spots that probably would’ve been caught in a PM,” Hansen says. “We get called out to the scales quite frequently for brakes out of adjustment, which is another either pre-trip miss and something that could have been avoided by routine maintenance.”

Air system. Problems with the air compressor; frozen, loose or damaged air lines, etc.

Electrical issues. Starter, alternator or battery issues. Loose or corroded wiring.

Engines. For instance, hot operating temperatures, and no-starts requiring a jump start or additional diagnostics.

Fueling system. Fuel filter issues, gelling in cold weather, or running out of fuel.

“Most mechanical issues are caused by lack of maintenance,” says Hansen. A comprehensive preventive maintenance program, along with diligent inspections by drivers, can help to limit some of these issues. 

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Media Relations Manager | Navistar

Erica Schueller is the Media Relations Manager for Navistar.

Before joining Navistar, Schueller served as Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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