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cdl pre-trip


Look for puddles on the ground.

Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine and

Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.

coolant level

Inspect reservoir sight glass, or

If engine is not hot, remove radiator cap and check for visible coolant level.


Depress clutch.

Place gearshift lever in neutral or (park, for automatic transmissions).

Start engine, then release clutch slowly.

engine compartment belts

Check the following belts for snugness (up to 3/4 inch play at center of belt), cracks, or frays:
-Power steering belt.
-Water pump belt.
-Alternator belt.
-Air compressor belt.
-Make sure component(s) are operating properly, are not damaged or leaking, and are mounted securely.

steering play

Non-power steering: Check for excessive play by turning 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 front left wheel barely moves.

parking brake check

apply parking brake only & make sure it will hold the vehicle by shifting into a lower gear and gently pulling against the brake

steering linkage

see than connecting links, arms and rods from the steering box to the wheel are not worn or cracked. Check that joints & sockets are not worn or loose and that there are no missing muts, bolts, or cotter keys.


look for missing, shifted, cracked or broken leaf springs or broken or distorted coil springs. Check torsion bars or torque arms and if they are not damaged and are mounted securely. Air ride suspension should be checked for damage and leaks.

slack adjustors

When pulled by hand, the brake rod should not move more than one inch (with brake released).


look for cracked or broken spring hangers or missing or damaged bushings, or missing bolts

lug nuts

check all lug nuts are present, free of cracks and distortions and show no signs of looseness such as rust trails or shiny threads. Make sure all bolts holes are not cracked or distorted.

drive shaft

drive shaft should not be bent or cracked, couplings should be secure and free of foreign objects

air/electrical connections

check air connection are sealed & in good condition, glad hands are locked in place, free of damage or air leaks, trailer electrical plug is firmly seated & locked in place

header board

check to see it is secure, free of damage, & strong enough to contain cargo, tarp carrier must be mounted & securely fastended, check for cracks, bulges or holes

air/electric lines

listen for air leaks - check that lines are not cut, chafed, spliced or worn. Make sure lines are not tangled, pinched or dragging against tractor parts.

exhaust system

..., check for damage & signs of leaks such as rust or carbon soot, system should be connected tightly and mounted securely

mounting bolts

look for loose or missing mounting brackets, clamps, bolts or nuts. Both 5th wheel & slide mounting must be solidly attached. Inspect for missing or broken parts.

release arm

Functional, in lock position.

landing gear

gear is fully raised, no missing parts, crank handle is secure & support frame is not damaged


check doors & hinges are not damaged & that they open/close and latch properly from the outside. Ties, straps, chains and binders must also be secure.

tandem release arm/locking pins

make sure locking pins are locked in place and release arm is secured

remainder of trailer

look at section 10.2; wheels, suspension system, brakes, doors/ties/lift, splash guards

doors/ mirrors

check that doors are not damaged, open/close properly from outside. Hinges should be secure with seals intact. Check that mirrors & mirror brackets are not damaged & are mounted securely w/ no loose fittings.


battery is secure, connections are tight, and cell caps are present; connections should not show signs of excessive corrosion, box & cover must be secure

passenger entry/lift

Entry door is not damaged, operates smoothly and closes securely. Handrails are secure.

lighting indicators

Test that dash indicators work when corresponding lights are turned on:
-Left turn signal.
-Right turn signal.
-Four-way emergency flashers.
-High beam headlight.

brake chambers

check that brake chambers are not leaking, cracked or dented and are securely mounted

brake hoses/lines

look for cracked, worn or leaking hoses, lines and couplings

brake linings

check that a visible amount of braking lining is showing (if visible)

shock absorbers

make sure they are secure and that there are no leaks

fuel tank

check that tank is secure, cap is tight, & that there are no leaks from tank or lines


if equipped, check that spacers are not bent, damaged or rusted through, should be evenly centered, with the dual wheels and tires evenly separated

splash guards

check mud flaps are not damaged and are mounted securely

platform fifth wheel

Mounting holding the fifth wheel skid plate and locking jaws mechanism.


check that doors are not damaged, open/close properly from outside. Hinges should be secure with seals intact. Check that mirrors & mirror brackets are not damaged & are mounted securely w/ no loose fittings.

hub oil seals/axle seals

check that hub oil/grease seals and axle seals are not leaking and, if wheel has a sight glass check if oil level is adequate


Must be inspected on every tire: TREAD DEPTH - min (4/32 on steering axle tires, 2/32 on all other tires). TIRE CONDITION - check that tread is evenly worn & look for cuts or other damage to tread or sidewalls. Also , make sure valve caps and stems are not missing, broken or damaged. TIRE INFLATION check for proper inflation be using a tire gauge or by striking with a mallet.


Check for damaged or bent rims. Rims cannot have welding repairs.

steering box/hoses

check steering box is securely mounted & not leaking. Look for any missing nuts, bolts & cotter keys. Check for pwer steering fluid leaks or damage to power steering hoses.


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).
-Turn signals.
-Four-way flashers.
-Brake lights.
-Red reflectors (on rear) and amber reflectors (elsewhere).

Note: Checks of brake, turn signal and four-way flasher functions must be done separately.

safety belt

check that safety belt is securely mounted, adjusts and latches properly

hydraulic brake check

Pump the brake pedal three times, then hold it down for five seconds. The brake pedal should not move (depress) during the five seconds.

If equipped with a hydraulic brake reserve (back-up) system, with the key off, depress the brake pedal and listen for the sound of the reserve system electric motor.

Check that the warning buzzer or light is off.

mirrors and windshield

mirrors should be clean and adjusted properly from the inside, windshield should be clean with no illegal stickers, no obstructions or damages to the glass.

emergency equipment

Check for spare electrical fuses.

Check for three red reflective triangles.

Check for a properly charged and rated fire extinguisher.


Check that gauges show alternator and/or generator is charging or that warning light is off.

temperature gauge

Make sure the temperature gauge is working.

Temperature should begin to climb to the normal operating range or temperature light should be off.

oil pressure gauge

make sure oil pressure gauge is working, check that pressure gauge shows increasing or normal oil pressure or that the warning light goes off, oil temp. gauge should climb to normal operating range

power steering fluid

Indicate where power steering fluid dipstick is located.

Check for adequate power steering fluid level. Level must be above refill mark.

oil level

Indicate where dipstick is located.

See that oil level is within safe operating range. Level must be above refill mark.

passenger entry/lift

Entry door is not damaged, operates smoothly and closes securely. Handrails are secure.

stop arm

If equipped, make sure attached securely to the body of the vehicle.


Check that cushions are attached to frames and there are no cracks in frames and firmly attached to floor.

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