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Pass your CDL pre-trip inspection on TEST DAY - watch the video.

5 Things To Know Before Taking Your CDL Pre Trip Test


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- Today, we're going to give you five tips to pass your CDL pre-trip inspection, when you show up at the DMV.

This is directed towards tractor trailers, but it'll work for buses and smaller trucks as well.

You Have 45 Minutes to Finish - No More

First tip for tractor trailer, you have 45 minutes to complete your pre-trip inspection, so you need to be moving.

Don't dawdle when you're doing your pre-trip inspection.

And don't get stuck on a component if you can't remember the name of it.

When doing your CDL pre-trip inspection test, stick to your sequence so that you get everything.

Simply touch it, secure, not damaged, not leaking.

If you make a mistake, just keep going, take a breath, and carry on because the examiner may not even have seen the mistake that you thought you made.

Keep it simple.

Don't make it overly complex.

Otherwise you're going to forget the major components of the vehicle and be able to determine if they're working.

And I'll put a video up in the corner here for you, up here on ways to memorize the information you need for your pre-trip inspection, because there's a lot of it.

So, 45 minutes to complete your pre-trip inspection.

Don't dawdle.

#2 - You're NOT Determining if the Vehicle is Safe

For the purposes of your CDL test, you are not determining if the vehicle is safe, you are demonstrating a competency.

       Start your CDL pre-trip inspection on the passenger side of the engine compartment.

You know how to do the pre-trip inspection.

You know, the names of the major components of the unit and you can determine if they are working and they are safe to go up and down the road.

So, you are determining a competency and demonstrating that to the examiner.

You know, not determining if the vehicle is safe or not.

That's for after you get out and start working.

So again, this goes back to point, number one, you got 45 minutes.

Keep going, get it down and time yourself when you're getting near the end and getting closer to your test date so that you're within the 45 minutes.

If you miss something on your CDL pre-trip inspection, you can go back and check it.

Most examiners are only going to give you a couple of minutes and then they're going to cut you off and you're going to be unsuccessful on your CDL pre-trip inspection.

#3 - Stick to Your Sequence

Don't get out of your sequence because then you'll forget stuff.

If you stick to your sequence, then you're going to remember all of the information that you need to present to the examiner to be successful on your test.

For me, the best sequence that I have found is on the passenger side of the engine compartment.

Driver's side of the engine compartment.

Close the hood in the cab, outside front of the truck around the truck and unit in a counterclockwise direction and then under the truck, and then back in the truck at the end.

Break the truck into sections. For each section, start at the top and work to the bottom left-to-right.

That is your path of travel around the vehicle.

When you're breaking the vehicle into sections, do the section, start at the top and move left to right.

If you stick to the sequence it's less likely that you're going to forget something on your pre-trip inspection when you're doing your test.

Blood, sweat and tears.

That's what went into this video, cause it was hot.

And I cut my head on the end of that angle iron, underneath the trailer.

Ah! that's going to bleed.

If you want the complete list, detailed list of what you need to say, what you need to inspect for the purposes of passing your pre-trip inspection, click here to pick up that course material.

#4 - If You Remember Something You Forgot

Tip number four, if you forget something, you can go back and check it.

For your CDL pre-trip inspection test you're NOT determining if the vehicle is safe - you're demonstrating a compency.

If you're in the cab, you're finishing up, you're filling out your pre-trip inspection sheet, and you look at it and you go, oh, I forgot my emergency equipment.

Yes, you can go out, check your emergency equipment which is your:

  1. Fire extinguisher;
  2. First aid kit;
  3. Flares, which are not flares in this day and age because we've figured out that, you know fire and flammable materials, tend to create fires so, now they're triangles;
  4. Flashlight;
  5. Fluids - extra fluids.

Those are your five F's.

You can go out and check that, come back in.

And once you sign the pre-trip inspection and hand it to the examiner, that's when you're finished your pre-trip inspection.

But until that point, yes you could go back and check something else.

Arrive at the test centre 30-40 minutes early and get all your tools and clothing ready prior to checking in at the DMV.

#5 - Get Everything Ready

When you show up at the DMV or the test center, get everything ready.

Chock the wheels, release the parking brakes on the truck.

If you've got an older truck with an older air brake system, drain the wet tank.

Most newer trucks are going to have an ADIS system - Air Dryer Integrated System.

And you'll know that through the course of your training, get all your tools out.

If you're doing the pry bar method you're not going to have measuring tape and markers and those types of things but that'll all be set up with the driving school because most of you're going to be attending a driving school.

Few if any new trucks are going to be fitted with an air brake wet tank. Almost all will have an ADIS air brake system.

If you're using the pry bar method you might need some safety equipment.

Make sure you wear gloves, you want to protect your hands and keep the dirt outside of the vehicle.

So have all your tools ready, your overalls and those types of things cause you're going to have to go underneath the truck.

If you need a creeper as well, have that ready.

So have that all set up, ready to go, so when the examiner comes out, you can launch right into your pre-trip inspection and get that done within the 45 minutes that you're allotted.

Good luck on your test and remember, pick the best answer, not necessarily the right answer.

Have a great day.

Bye now.


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