What are Commercial Vehicle Inspections?

Commercial Vehicle Inspections
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Commercial vehicle inspections are integral to our daily lives. This class includes various sizes and shapes of vehicles, including delivery vans, heavy haul trucks and flat deck trucks. Many businesses are built around vehicle fleets, and so many others rely on them to conduct a large portion of their services, including transportation. 

In fact, according to this survey from Statista, about one-quarter of the vehicles in use were commercial vehicles between the years 2006 and 2015. Unlike passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles are often held to a higher standard that is enforced by municipal or provincial governments.

This is the basis for commercial vehicle inspections.

Mach 6 Truck & Heavy Equipment Repair looks at several questions related to commercial vehicle inspections in the article below. Chief among these is, “What are commercial vehicle inspections” but there are way more than that! Learn everything you need to know about commercial vehicle inspections below.

What Are Commercial Vehicle Inspections?

Commercial vehicle inspections are a way for provinces to ensure a specific set of standards for an entire class of vehicles. This class includes trucks, truck-tractors, semi-trailers, trailers and buses, among others. Verification of these inspections is done with documentation and physical evidence on the vehicle, like a decal. 

Where to Get a Commercial Vehicle Inspection?

Commercial vehicle inspections are conducted by trained professionals employed by private facilities and technicians. These inspections follow a specific program that includes licensing and approval by the province. The program also uses standardized forms, processes and training.

The training these professionals go through is typically a Red Seal equivalent Journeyman qualification. This includes:

  • Heavy-duty equipment technicians
  • Commercial transport mechanics
  • Automotive service technicians
  • Motorcycle mechanics
  • Commercial transport vehicle technicians

How Often Should a Commercial Vehicle Be Inspected?

Inspections must be conducted on an annual basis. Decals are usually changed each year so that enforcement and management are easier for the company and law enforcement. 

Do Commercial Vehicle Inspections Vary By Province?

Yes, the inspection, licensing and legislative requirements for commercial vehicles vary by province. Although it is worth noting that many of the core elements discussed above are consistent across the systems. Still, differences are present in the systems as well. Some of these differences include

British Columbia

British Columbia (BC) requires all vehicles to go through the same inspection process, whether they are private or commercial. 


The Saskatchewan vehicle inspection program retains the right to demand an inspection for any vehicle they deem necessary. They base the type of inspection on the type of damage, including the following inspections:

  • Body integrity inspections
  • Mechanical safety inspections
  • Total loss vehicle inspections
  • Motorcycle inspections


Ontario requires both annual and semi-annual inspections for commercial vehicles. They also use a consistent colour (orange) for their inspection sign.

What Are Typical Parts of Commercial Vehicle Inspections?

Commercial vehicle inspections are often more involved than regular inspections. One reason for this is the increased danger that comes with commercial vehicles transporting large amounts of weight or dangerous materials, like fuel or explosive gases. Another reason for more stringent requirements is the added mechanical systems that may be present on these vehicles, like air brakes or pneumatic arms.

Still, many parts of the inspection process will be similar. For instance, checking tire systems, fluids, power train, steering, instruments, structural components and electronics exist in both systems. Usually, each part of the process will come with specific acceptance or rejection criteria, removing as much of the guesswork and variability as possible. 

As we mentioned before, another part of the commercial vehicle inspection process is consistent reporting. This includes the forms used to identify the vehicle and its many systems. These also serve as a guide to help mechanics ensure their inspections are complete. 

Article and permission to publish here provided by Saaed Darwish. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on May 17, 2021.