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NOTE: Information in this section is not all inclusive and is subject to change due to law changes. For the latest information refer to the current CDL Manual for the
state you live in.
Pre Trip Inspection Cab Check/Engine Start

Clutch/Gearshift (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Depress the clutch.
  • Place the gearshift lever in neutral (or park, for automatic transmissions).
  • Start the engine, then release the clutch slowly.

Oil Pressure Gauge (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Make sure the oil pressure gauge is working.
  • Check that the pressure gauge shows increasing or normal oil pressure, or that the warning light goes off.
  • If equipped, the oil temperature gauge should begin a gradual rise to the normal operating range.

Temperature Gauge (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Make sure the temperature gauge is working.
  • The temperature should begin to climb to the normal operating range or the  temperature light should be off.

Ammeter/Voltmeter (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check that the gauges show the alternator and/or generator is charging or that the warning light is off.

Air/Vacuum Gauge (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check for proper operation of, and acceptable readings on the air and/or vacuum gauge(s).

Speedometer (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • The speedometer should be present, not obscured or obviously broken.

Mirrors and Windshield (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Mirrors should be clean and adjusted properly from the inside.
  • Windshield should be clean with no illegal stickers, obstructions, or damage to the glass.

Emergency Equipment (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check for spare electrical fuses.
  • Check for three red reflective triangles.
  • Check for a properly charged and rated fire extinguisher.

Steering Play (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Non-power steering: Check for excessive play by turning the steering wheel back and forth. Play should not exceed 10 degrees (or about two inches on a 20-
    inch wheel).
  • Power steering: With the engine running, check for excessive play by turning the steering wheel back and forth. Play should not exceed 10 degrees (or about
    two inches on a 20-inch wheel) before the front left wheel barely moves.

Wipers/Washers (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check that wiper arms and blades are secure, not damaged, and operate smoothly.
  • If equipped, windshield washers must operate correctly.

Lighting Indicators (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Test that dash indicators work when the corresponding lights are turned on:
  • Left turn signal.
  • Right turn signal.
  • 4-way emergency flashers.
  • High beam headlight.

Horn (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check that air horn and/or electric horn work.

Heater/Defroster (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Test that the heater and defroster works.

Safety Belt (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check that the safety belt is securely mounted, adjusts, and latches properly.

Lights/Reflectors (Pre Trip Inspection)
  • Check that all external lights and reflective equipment are clean and functional. Light and reflector checks include:
  • Clearance lights (red on rear, amber elsewhere).
  • Headlights (high and low beams).
  • Taillights.
  • Turn signals.
  • 4-way flashers.
  • Brake lights.
  • Red reflectors (on rear) and amber reflectors (elsewhere).
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Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Pre-Trip Inspection: Cab Check/Engine Start
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