Vehicle Maintenance Files Part 3

Holy cow! We have 5 blogs just on vehicle maintenance files!

What a process it is just to track your vehicle maintenance for your CMV’s

Well let’s not take a ton of time chatting and just start digging into what’s left for Vehicle Maintenance files.

  • Annual DOT Inspections
  • Last 14 months of DOT annual inspections
  • Last 2 inspections

DOT Annual Inspections are required for ALL units that are a part of a CMV combination.

Yes, that includes the trailer.

One of the biggest questions we get here at Eclipse DOT is, what if the trailer has a GVWR less than 10K? Do I still need a DOT annual inspection?

The answer is pretty simple.

We ask you a few more questions. Lol

Is the trailer being used in commerce (for business)?

If the answer is yes then we ask you, is the trailer rated more than 3500 lbs.?

If the answer is yes to both questions, then YES you do need to have a DOT annual inspection on your trailers too.

The regulations say that you need to keep the last 14 months of inspections on file. To KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple) what it really means is that you need the last 2 DOT annual inspections on file.

Nothing else!

To learn more about DOT annual inspections you should check out our other blog about it! Let’s move on.

  • Cab cards / registration
  • Current cab card / registration

This is already stupid simple.  Keep your current cab card / registration in the file!


  • All roadside inspections for that vehicle
  • FMCSA requires that you have 1 year of previous roadside inspections on file.
  • We recommend keeping 2 years of previous roadside inspections.

We actually don’t store roadside inspections in the vehicle maintenance folder!

Ours have their very own folder.

The reason we do that is for litigation reasons. You see when asked you still have to be able to produce the roadside inspections.

But we have had some attorneys request vehicle maintenance files, but not eh roadside inspections.

Like we said in the last blog.

When they ask for the gun, you have to give it to them. That doesn’t mean that you need to hand over all the ammunition too!

Make them hunt for the ammunition!!

The other thing here that you’ll notice is different is that this is one of the only times that we recommend keeping MORE than the bare minimum.


Well your SMS scores are currently compiled and calculated off of the last 2 years of inspections.

If they can use that date to select you for an audit. You should have access to it too!

And that’s why we say to keep 2 years of roadside inspections.

Let me tell you, we have had multiple officers tell us after an audit, that they are glad that we kept 2 years. Because it saved our bacon more than once.

It shows that you KNOW the regulations, and you know how you are scored too!

The last item needed for vehicle maintenance is

  • Maintenance schedule
  • A written maintenance schedule for each class of vehicle you operate in your company.

This can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

We have had companies that wrote a different maintenance plan for each and every vehicle.

In my opinion that is not very simple.

So, the way we KISS this part of the regulation is to make it part of our fleet policy!

We include all vehicles in specific classifications (keep it vague) and loop them all into one specific maintenance plan.

The other thing to keep in mind for this is that you need to follow what you have listed in routine maintenance.

Let’s say that you think you are going to impress the auditing officer by saying that you will change oil every 1500 miles.  I mean if you it’s supposed to be 5000 miles, 1500 sounds like we really care!



If you say that you are going to do a service at a specific interval and you miss it, it shows that you don’t care about your maintenance schedule!

In fact, you could get cited for not performing routine maintenance as prescribed in your policy.

Crazy right!

So, here’s what we do. Let’s say that you change oil every 15,000 miles in a big truck. We say in the fleet policy that we will change oil every 18,500 miles!

Then when we change oil every 15,000 miles, they look at it as if we are going above what our recommendations are.

I know it’s crazy, but hey it works!

We had a customer once that said, well if that’s the case, let’s just say that we will be servicing the vehicles every 100,000 miles. Then we are covered!



That shows a lack of integrity, and no one ever buy into it.

Oh man 5 blogs just on vehicle maintenance.

I didn’t even expect that!

Talk about over delivering! That’s what we do here at Eclipse DOT, Over deliver!

So, here’s what I want you to do for right now! 

Go to and sign up for a free trial to check out the only platform that actually KISS everything DOT!

What are you waiting for?

Go get it done.


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