If You Haven't, Try Our Daily Grain Market Reports FREE for 30 Days!

CDL Pre Trip Inspection Guide

CDL Pre-trip Inspection Guide Line


State what you will check; do not check! Time limit: 30 minutes.


Identify each part and what you are looking for on each part.


As approach vehicle, look for fluid spill on ground, hanging lines, low tires and balance suspension.


Start at front of vehicle

Lights & reflectors:

Say: all of the following are not broken, clean, proper color and properly located

Right & Left turn signals & flashers

5 cab roof clearance lights

Two headlights

Engine Compartment

From left side of engine compartment:

Say: check engine oil with oil level between full and add marks

check transmission oil level between full and add marks

check power steering oil level between full and add marks

check steering column & box secure, no oil leaks, missing nuts, bolts, cotter pins, bent, loose, broken parts on steering column, pitman arm, drag link, steering arm, knuckle, tie rod

power steering hoses not frayed, leaking secure at both ends

water pump secure, not leaking, no loose bolts or broken parts

fan, alternator, compressor secure, belts tension ¾" give middle, lines, hoses, wires not damaged or loose

Any part not belt driven must be stated "gear driven"

steer tire not a recap, 4/32 inch tread, no cloth or steel, no bulges, tread evenly worn, no cuts on tread or

side walls, valve cap & stem OK, proper air pressure with gauge or mallet

wheel not bent, cracked, lug nuts not cracked, rust or shiny threads, hub oil seal not leaking

main leaf and auxiliary spring not broken, spring shackle secure nut and cotter pins

torque rod secure at both ends, shock absorber secure, not leaking

bearing plates, axel hangers, frame not cracked or bent, bolts tight, U-bolts not broken & tight

brake hoses not leaking, frayed, secure at both ends; slack adjuster, push rod secure

brake chamber not leaking, cracked, dented and mounted securely

brake rod (connected to brake chamber and S-cam) should not move more than one inch with brakes off

brake shoes & drum not excessively thin, no cracks in drum more than halfway across friction area

Go to right side and say:

check coolant level bulb and same steering, brake, tire, wheel, suspension system check as on left side


Cab Check

Say: Driver door not damaged, latch functioning, hinges secure, window not broken, dirty, and rolls up & down

Flat & convex mirrors clean, not broken, secure

Cat walks & steps secure, not damaged or excessively dirty, slippery

Fuel tank secure, lid in place, not leaking or damaged

Lights & reflectors not broken and amber color

Do chock wheels before getting in cab

Get in cab

Say: Seat belt in place & securely fastened & latches, steering no more than 10 degrees of play, gauges not broken

Three diagonal safety signs, BC fire extinguisher

Transmission in neutral, parking brake on, clutch depressed (safe start engine)

Turn on key, check all dash indicators to be functional and ABS light on






Start engine:

Say: observe engine oil pressure, volt meter, air pressure, temperature, light indicators work

Turn on wipers and check washer pump and check:

Horn

Heater fan motor

Indicators function for flashers, left & right turn signals, high bean signal, ABS indicator

Apply parking brake (already engaged) and try to move tractor to check to make sure parking brake works

Do air brake check (don't just say it!)

Did you chock wheels before getting in cab?

Build air pressure to 100 to 125 psi

Shut off engine

Release parking brake (no brakes engaged!)

Check that air pressure does not drop more than 3 psi per minute for combination; 2 psi for straight

Apply service (foot) brakes and hold for one minute

Time air pressure drop must be less than 4 psi per minute for combination; 3 psi per minute for straight

Fan-off air pressure (continuous pushing & releasing brake pedal) to see if parking brake engages at 40 psi

If ABS equipped, must check to see if working properly


Check to make sure parking brake engaged and exit cab to complete pre-trip test left side

Tractor Say: twist drive shaft for slack in universals, loose or missing clip pins, nut, excessive wear

frame free of bends, cracks, loose nuts

drive tires 2/32 inch tread, no cloth or steel, no bulges, tread evenly worn, no cuts on tread or

side walls, valve cap & stem OK, proper air pressure with gauge or mallet

wheels not bent, cracked, lug nuts not cracked, rust or shiny threads, hub oil seal not leaking

no spacers on bud wheels

main leaf and auxiliary spring not broken, spring shackle secure nut and cotter pins

torque rod secure at both ends, shock absorber secure, not leaking

bearing plates, axel hangers, frame not cracked or bent, bolts tight, U- bolts not broken & tight

brake hoses not leaking, frayed, secure at both ends; slack adjuster, push rod secure

brake chamber not leaking, cracked, dented and mounted securely

slack adjuster & push rod should not move more than one inch with brakes off

brake shoes liners & drum not excessively thin, no cracks in drum more than halfway across friction area

air bags securely fastened, no leaks or tears.

Control arm securely fastened and no damage

splash guard not touching tires or ground, not torn & securely fastened

left & right rear tractor lights, reflectors proper color & location, not broken

5th wheel frame solidly connected to tractor & slide solidly connected to frame; no broken or loose bolts,

no damage or cracks; fifth wheel slide proper location

no gap between trailer & tractor skid plates, locking jaws closed, release arm in locked position & secured

with safety latch, king pin not bent

Tractor to trailer air & electric lines properly connected, not tangled, cut or pinched; enough slack to turn

Catwalk clear and securely fastened

Landing gear all the way up and handle locked

Header board secure and proper for cargo

Running lights & reflectors on side of trailer amber color and properly located

Trailer side board holes and tie-down points available and secure

Trailer Axels

Say: frame free of bends, cracks, loose nuts

tires 2/32 inch tread, no cloth or steel showing, no bulges, tread evenly worn, no cuts on tread or

side walls, valve cap & stem OK, proper air pressure with gauge or mallet

wheels not bent, cracked, lug nuts not cracked, rust or shiny threads, hub oil seal not leaking

no spacers on bud wheels

main leaf and auxiliary spring not broken, spring shackle secure nut and cotter pins

torque rod secure at both ends, shock absorber secure, not leaking

bearing plates, axel hangers, frame not cracked or bent, bolts tight, U- bolts not broken & tight

electric brake wires securely connected, not frayed, not rubbing

brake shoes liners & drum not excessively thin, no cracks in drum more than halfway across friction area

air bags securely fastened, no leaks or tears.

Control arm securely fastened and no damage


Rear of trailer

splash guard not touching tires or ground, not torn & securely fastened

left & right rear trailer lights, reflectors red & proper location, not broken, proper color

Say: Do the same thing on left side

Exhaust System: on left side, go to exhaust and say check exhaust system for holes, black streaks, mounted securely and not rubbing other parts


Lights Get in cab and ask examiner to check emergency flashers, right turn, signal, left turn signal, head light low

beam, headlight high beam



Pre-trip Step Summary


1) As approaching vehicle, observe truck for uneven suspension, fluid pools under truck, anything hanging down


2) Front end inspection


3) Left side engine compartment inspection


4) Right side engine compartment inspection


5) Left side cab inspection


6) Left side behind cab inspection


7) Tractor – trailer connection inspection


8) Front of trailer inspection


9) left side of trailer inspection


10) Rear of trailer Inspection


11) Right side inspection of exhaust


(state: "I would inspect same things on right side as left, plus exhaust system.")


12) Get in cab to do pre-start inspection


13) Start-up inspection


14) Brake checks


15) Light checks

Recent Posts

See All