Posted: May, 24th 2019

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Road check will take place the first week of June. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers. The focus this year will be on steering and suspension systems.

In May, all carriers should have their mechanics do a preventative maintenance check on the equipment, paying particular attention to the items listed below. Any of bulleted items could prevent passing an annual Periodic Appendix G inspection.  Roadside officers can list any items discovered as defective on a roadside inspection and the driver could receive a ticket.  If any of the items listed are found to be in the CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria, the roadside officer will put the CMV Out-of-Service.  This will require your company to have the Out-of-Service violation repaired at a scale facility or a truck stop.  These repairs, not corrected by your own mechanics, could cost two or three times more than if it were caught before leaving your shop.   

§393.207   Suspension systems.

(a) Axles. No axle positioning part shall be cracked, broken, loose or missing. All axles must be in proper alignment.

(b) Adjustable axles. Adjustable axle assemblies shall not have locking pins missing or disengaged.

(c) Leaf springs. No leaf spring shall be cracked, broken, or missing nor shifted out of position.

(d) Coil springs. No coil spring shall be cracked or broken.

(e) Torsion bar. No torsion bar or torsion bar suspension shall be cracked or broken.

(f) Air suspensions. The air pressure regulator valve shall not allow air into the suspension system until at least 55 psi is in the braking system. The vehicle shall be level (not tilting to the left or right). Air leakage shall not be greater than 3 psi in a 5-minute time period when the vehicle's air pressure gauge shows normal operating pressure.

(g) Air suspension exhaust controls. The air suspension exhaust controls must not have the capability to exhaust air from the suspension system of one axle of a two-axle air suspension trailer unless the controls are either located on the trailer, or the power unit and trailer combination are not capable of traveling at a speed greater than 10 miles per hour while the air is exhausted from the suspension system. This paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit—

(1) Devices that could exhaust air from both axle systems simultaneously; or

(2) Lift axles on multi-axle units.

§393.209   Steering wheel systems.

(a) The steering wheel shall be secured and must not have any spokes cracked through or missing.

(b) Steering wheel lash. 

(1) The steering wheel lash shall not exceed the following parameters:




Steering wheel diameter

Manual steering system          

Power steering system

406 mm or less (16 inches or less)

51mm (2 inches)

108mm (4 ¼ inches)

457 mm (18 inches)

57mm (2 ¼ inches)

121mm (4 ¾ inches)

483 mm (19 inches)

60mm (2 3/8 inches)

127mm (5 inches)

508 mm (20 inches)

64mm (2 ½ inches)

133mm (5 ¼ inches)

533 mm (21 inches)

67mm (2 5/8 inches)

140mm (5 ½ inches)

559 mm (22 inches)

70mm (2 ¾ inches)

146mm (5 ¾ inches)

(2) For steering wheel diameters not listed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section the steering wheel lash shall not exceed 14 degrees’ angular rotation for manual steering systems, and 30 degrees’ angular rotation for power steering systems.

(c) Steering column. The steering column must be securely fastened.

(d) Steering system. Universal joints and ball-and-socket joints shall not be worn, faulty or repaired by welding. The steering gear box shall not have loose or missing mounting bolts or cracks in the gear box or mounting brackets. The pitman arm on the steering gear output shaft shall not be loose. Steering wheels shall turn freely through the limit of travel in both directions.

(e) Power steering systems. All components of the power system must be in operating condition. No parts shall be loose or broken. Belts shall not be frayed, cracked or slipping. The system shall not leak. The power steering system shall have sufficient fluid in the reservoir.

While all listed are critical, pay particular attention to the items in 393.209(d). These components make up most of the steering system under a power unit. Officers look at these on a daily basis and will put you Out-of-Service if the violations exceed the limits in the Out-of-Service Criteria.  It is highly recommended that every company should have access to a copy of the CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria. This will aid in the process of knowing if the officer has placed your CMV Out-of-Service properly.  If you don’t have a copy of the CVSA Out-of-Service criteria, how will you know if the officer is right?  These can be purchased through ITI.  We have a limited supply on hand today but can secure additional copies overnight if necessary.     


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