Vehicle Maintenance File Requirements

Sam Tucker is the founder and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based transportation risk management startup. Prior to this venture, Sam spent 13 years underwriting trucking and logistics accounts at some of the most well known insurance companies. He holds degrees in Business Economics and Finance/Risk Management as well as multiple professional insurance designations. Carrier Risk Solutions' innovative safety management platform can be found online at Reach Sam by email at

What are the FMCSA’s requirements for a vehicle maintenance file? (If you have an audit looming, you should have this locked down!)

This question was posed to me by one of our new clients and I wanted to share my response with everyone.

Per the FMCSRs (§396.3), this is what is required:

A Vehicle information file must be kept for each vehicle while in service and at least 6 months after the vehicle is removed from service.

The information file must contain:

Fleet number (if one is assigned)
Make, model, and year
Tire size
Owner (if not the carrier)
A maintenance schedule for the unit

The regulations also require that we retain records of all inspection, maintenance, lubrication, repairs, and upcoming maintenance.

These records can take any form we want; there are no “required forms” for documenting normal maintenance and repairs.


Other items that must be included in each vehicle maintenance file:

All copies of roadside inspection reports for that vehicle (Retain for 12 months after receipt)

Periodic (annual) inspections reports (Retain for 14 months after completion)

If any defect or deficiency is noted on the post-trip inspection report, then you are required to keep a copy of that post trip inspection report. (Retain these for at least 3 months after completion)

You also have to show proof of the issue being corrected.

That proof should also be included in that vehicle’s file and retained for at least 12 months.

Be sure to include the qualifications for each inspector or mechanic in your vehicle maintenance files. This is especially true for anyone who adjusts or corrects brakes.

We can handle all of your vehicle maintenance file maintenance needs! This is included in our My Safety Manager service along with some other great features for only $50 per driver per month! Please check out the My Safety Manager website for more information!

To help you keep track of everything, we capture all of this information electronically and store it in our system. We also handle all of the records retention as well.

We set up the vehicle’s maintenance on your requested schedule on a shared calendar and have automatic email notices sent prior to items coming due. This really helps keep everything rolling.