CDL Pre-trip inspection is a part that you must be through to make your CDL complete. However, most people fear and fail this test because it is too complicated to remember and study as well as perform for the examiner. Hence, people also wonder how to remember pre-trip inspection CDL effectively. In this article, we will provide you with detailed information about the CDL Pre-trip Inspection Study Guide as well as useful tips to help you ace the test!


cdl pre trip inspection
Steps to do the CDL pre-trip Inspection


1. What is CDL pre-trip inspection?

First and foremost, a pre-trip inspection is a daily comprehensive checkup of your truck to ensure that everything is in a well-ness position. Completing your pre-trip inspection checklist guard not only your vehicle but also your own safety on the road and avoid any concerns or unexpected situations before taking the wheel. The process of pre-trip inspection takes about 15 minutes. You will be required to follow a pre-trip checklist and document on a report (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report). If you want to be a truck driver, this is an essential part of your job every day, do not ignore it for your own security. It is the reason why to get your CDL, you must pass the CDL Pre-trip Inspection Test.


2. What does the CDL Pre-trip Inspection Test cover?

As mentioned above, to get your CDL, you must pass the pre-trip inspection test. This test is considered one of the most challenging factors of the CDL test. 

You will have 50 minutes to complete a pre-trip inspection test with an examiner. Your responsibility is to identify parts of the truck and how to operate them. There are several points that can be covered on your test, such as Approach, Engine, Steering System, Coupling, Trailer Side, and so on) depending on which class are you taking.

There are some main contents that can be listed: 

  • Checking your truck’s undercarriage for leaks
  • Checking to see if the brakes are in excellent working order
  • Checking fluid levels under the hood
  • Ensure that all lights can be turned on
  • Examining the condition and depth of the tread on the tires


cdl pre trip insection study guide
Several contents will be covered in the test 


3. How to study for CDL Pre-trip Inspection?

The key to learning the pre-trip inspection is to practice constantly. To remember some things, the best way is to repeat them over and over. The more you practice, the more you memorize. Let’s look at some method we provide you here to find out which one suit you most.


3.1. Watch someone record

You may watch a video of someone taking a pre-trip inspection on YouTube, and they usually work very well (more about YouTube later). Or else, you can request someone (such as an instructor or a friend) to perform a pre-trip and record it. Try to use the zoom option on your camera while they’re doing it so you can see what’s going on and what’s being checked. This method is supposed to function well because the video and audio are of high quality. Simply watch your recording over and over until it becomes ingrained in your mind. Just make sure the person you’re recording knows exactly what they’re doing and is showing you everything. You don’t want to view a video that skips over any material that will be covered in the exam.


3.2. Break the content into smaller parts

To make the pre-trip less stressful, break it down into manageable units. It will be a hard job if you try to memorize everything all at once. For example, you learn the air brakes first, then the cab interior, the engine compartment, and finally the remainder of the vehicle. You are free to choose any order you wish as long as it is helpful to you. Memorize each section before putting it all together. You will discover that learning the CDL pre-trip inspection in this manner is considerably easier.


3.3. Find a real truck

Having access to a truck is quite beneficial. Pictures are still insufficient. Most of you received your education at a private school, through company-sponsored training, or at a community college. All of them will provide you with access to a real truck, and you should practice the pre-trip every day. Use this time with the truck to get as much experience as possible for your CDL pre-trip inspection. Try to stay after class to get some extra practice in, it could mean the difference between passing and failing.


3.4. Use the CDL Pre-trip Inspection Checklist

Using a checklist is perhaps one of the most popular strategies to remember pre-trip information. There’s a good chance that wherever you’re getting your training already has a checklist for you to use. To revise all the major parts of your truck before heading out on the road, a CDL pre-trip inspection checklist was designed. Besides, you should remember this checklist to perform at the CDL Pre-trip inspector test. There are many sources that you can look for on a checklist, they might differ in order but the content is nearly the same.


3.5. Use pictures/diagrams

There are numerous image resources available to assist you in memorizing the test. You can discover a lot of information by searching for “CDL pre-trip inspection photographs.” Most of them are clear, with unambiguous arrows pointing to each component. There’s a description of what to look for and say for each segment, as well as photographs.


cdl pretrip
Sample of CDL Pre-trip Inspection


3.6. Practice by online practice test

Nowadays, there are several online websites that you can use to practice. The online website brings you opportunities to practice with flashcards and multiple-choice questions that can appear on the actual test. Besides, watching and reading only may not be a good way to learn, because you might forget what is a key factor to remember, using online practice website can help you with this.  You can check on the CDL Practice Test to know more about it!


In conclusion, remembering and understanding all the needed information for the CDL Pre-trip Inspection test is not an easy task, and it is even harder when you are in front of the examiner. We hope that our suggestion above will help you get over it.