Module 4: Vehicle Maintenance Previous Module Overview Glossary Help Next Module


In this module, you’ll learn all about the National Safety Code vehicle maintenance requirements and how to develop a maintenance program.

Timeframe: 30 mins

In this section you will:
  • Explain vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements.
  • Develop a plan for routine vehicle maintenance, mandatory CVIP (Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program)inspections and trip inspections.
  • Identify when trip inspections must happen and what drivers must record.
  • Explain why regular trip inspections are important.
  • Distinguish between major and minor defects.
  • List the information that needs to be in a vehicle file.

For technical assistance please reference the Help and Troubleshooting Guide.

What are Your Obligations for Vehicle Maintenance?

Part of a complete Safety and Maintenance Program is looking after your fleet. The National Safety Code (NSC) requires that you maintain all vehicles operating under your Safety Fitness Certificate. Whether you own, rent, or lease your company’s vehicles, you need to keep them in good working order. You are also responsible for any vehicles towed as part of your carrier business.

To meet your obligations, you must set up a maintenance and inspection program and record it on a schedule. This can be as simple as a written document that sets out the time or distance when a vehicle requires its next inspection or maintenance. These intervals are commonly linked. For example, an inspection could be due at 30,000 km or three months, whichever occurs first.

You also need to keep records of all the maintenance done on vehicles in your fleet.

Tip: Vehicle ID

The National Safety Code requires you to properly identify your vehicles. Make sure you keep a copy of your Safety Fitness Certificate and vehicle registration in each of the vehicles operating for you .You must also display the name or logo of the certificate holder on both sides of your vehicles along with the vehicle’s TARE (empty) weight and Gross Vehicle Weight (maximum gross weight).

Good Vehicle Maintenance

Alberta does not determine the intervals that you must complete your preventative maintenance, other than your commercial vehicle inspections (CVIP). It’s a good idea to include preventative maintenance such as oil changes and tune-ups in your schedule, as well as an annual or semi-annual CVIP.

Along with scheduled inspections and maintenance, your drivers must inspect the vehicle within 24 hours of every trip. The areas a driver inspects depends on the type of vehicle they are operating. There are different inspection schedules for buses and trucks with different parts of the vehicle that need to be inspected.

Type Inspection Schedule
Trucks and Trailers Schedule 1 (Part 2)
Buses Schedule 2 (Part 2)
Motor Coaches Schedule 3 (Part 2)

Your driver should never drive a vehicle that isn’t in good working order.

Not everything may seem like a serious safety issue. For example: You might not think a broken windshield wiper blade would be a hazard on the highway. But if that wiper blade smudges rather than clears a section of window that obscures the driver’s vision, that could lead to an accident!

Note: Alberta Transportation has the authority to establish standards for inspections. Approved facilities for commercial vehicle inspections can refer to the CVIP inspection manual. As a carrier, you just need to make sure you have set up a preventative maintenance schedule and follow it.

Written Safety and Maintenance Plans

Regular maintenance can save you money.

Whether you have one vehicle or many, you need to plan when you will do regular maintenance and write it down. When you have a written plan, you are more likely to keep up the routine maintenance on your fleet. A well maintained fleet means you lose less time to out of service orders and you spend less on repairs in the long run. It’s good for business and for safety!

How to get started

The law states you must maintain your vehicles.

But how you maintain your fleet is up to you. Start by looking at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Remember to take the number of engine hours, kilometers driven and/or timed passed into consideration when making your maintenance schedule for each vehicle.

►Alberta Transportation has sample safety and maintenance programs online at: These sample programs contain the minimum transportation policies required by law and can be used as a guide for developing your own programs.

Keep Record of Maintenance Done

Use one form to record all maintenance and repairs for each vehicle.

Any time you have the vehicle serviced, attach a copy of the invoice to the maintenance form for that vehicle.

►It helps to have the vehicle maintenance form at the front of a file folder where you keep all the invoices for repairs and service.

Make a Schedule

The table, below, shows a caption of one written plan for maintaining a commercial truck. 

As a carrier, you need to create a schedule that fits your needs. Each vehicle in your fleet will have particular maintenance and inspection requirements. For example, all vehicles need regular oil changes, but if your truck is equipped with a power lift, you’d want to check that it rises and lowers smoothly when activated.

Vehicle Inspections

We want only the safest and most roadworthy highway vehicles operating on Alberta’s highways. That means that every day your vehicles head out onto the road, they should be checked to make sure they’re safe. We call these daily checks trip inspections and you’ll learn all about them in this module.

You may also be required to complete mandatory safety inspections under the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program (CVIP). You are required to get a CVIP inspection done on your vehicles either once every 6 months (buses) or once a year. For example if you operate a truck-trailer, the truck and trailer’s inspection is annual, if you operate a bus it must be inspected every 6 months.

CVIP inspections don’t replace the ongoing preventive maintenance or trip inspections that you do as a carrier.

Don’t let Inspections and Maintenance Slip

Not too long ago, a commercial truck hit and killed a pedestrian in an intersection. It was night and the roads were wet. After the accident: unaligned brakes and a series of maintenance issues were found when the truck was inspected. No one individual issue was solely responsible for the accident, but all together, the poor maintenance meant the truck wasn’t operating at its best. Regular inspection and maintenance doesn’t just save money… it saves lives.

Who does Trip Inspections?

You are responsible for ensuring the vehicle is in a safe operating condition. So you must train your drivers or a designated person to do a thorough trip inspection.

Your driver or a designated person must complete the trip inspection report and sign that they have completed it. Signing the report means they are accountable for finding and reporting any defects to you.

►If you have more than one driver on the trip, just one driver needs to sign the report.


When Does my Driver Make a Trip Inspection?

Trip inspections must be completed within 24 hours of when the trip occured. A trip inspection report is valid for 24 hours from the time it is recorded.

Some carriers choose to complete two daily trip inspections: pre-trip and post-trip. A post-trip inspection should be conducted at the end of the last trip of the day, or on the final rest stop on trips lasting more than one day.

Why do Trip Inspections?

You want drivers to do the daily trip inspections so that you have the report of any maintenance issues as soon as possible. Then you can make any repairs as soon as possible. Safe trucks mean you don’t endanger your driver, passengers, or others on the road.

A peace officer can ask to see your trip inspection report. By law, you must be able to produce one for that day.

If your vehicle is inspected and found to have a maintenance issue, it could be placed Out of Service. But if you keep your fleet running well, you won’t suffer those delays or get tickets for maintenance issues.

It only takes a day for some maintenance issues to arise. For example: A tire that was at full pressure when you checked it post-trip can still go flat overnight.

How to Record the Inspection

At a roadside inspection, an inspector will want to know what you have done about a maintenance issue that had been logged previously. Retain receipts for repairs and any other expenses to show you’ve addressed problems.

 ►It’s illegal to drive a commercial motor vehicle without a current daily trip inspection report on hand.

The completed daily trip inspection report below shows all the different elements that must be included:

  1. State the inspected vehicle’s licence plates or unit numbers.
  2. Odometer or hubometer reading of the inspected vehicle at the time of inspection.
  3. Name of the carrier operating the vehicle.
  4. Location where the vehicle was inspected.
  5. Whether any defects were found and details about those defects.
  6. Name and signature of the driver or person who inspected the vehicle.
  7. Name and signature of the driver or person making the report.
  8. The nature of any repairs made to fix defects identified during the inspection.

Keeping Trip Inspection Reports

  • Get trip inspection reports from your drivers within 20 days.
  • File these with your own records within 30 days.
  • Keep the trip inspection reports for each vehicle file for at least 6 months.
  • Trip inspection reports that require additional maintenance work, must be retained with the maintenance documents for the current year plus an additional four years.
►Drivers or a designated person must let you know about any defect as soon as they discover it—tell your drivers or designates they should let you know as soon as possible—and not to wait until they submit the trip inspection reports.

Record Keeping


Tip: Set a time period for the vehicle maintenance records you collect. You could decide to set a 12 month period for all invoices, CVSA, CVIP and other related records for one vehicle will be kept in one file folder. At the end of that 12 months, open a new folder for next year’s records. You must keep the current year and the previous four years. But keeping 12 month folders keeps your files organized—whether you keep digital records, or paper.


In this module, you learned about the National Safety Code (NSC) requirements for maintaining your fleet of vehicles. Whether you have one vehicle or many, you need to plan and record a maintenance schedule, conduct daily trip inspections and keep good records.

Next, you’ll learn how to monitor your own safety practices by using your online carrier profile and build awareness of the different levels of intervention that are used in NSC monitoring. You’ll learn the consequences for not improving a poor safety profile and how to use all the elements of the Safety and Maintenance Program to meet your NSC obligations.

NOTE: To complete the training, save your progress and receive a certificate, you are required to have an account and be logged in with 511 Alberta.