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Section 11 - Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test

This Section Covers

When a pre-trip inspection test is required, it will be conducted before other required skills tests. During the pre-trip inspection, you must show that the vehicle is safe to drive. You may not take other required skills tests until you have passed the pre-trip inspection test.

You will be given a CDL Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid to use while you are performing the test. This identifies the components that you will need to check. Other memory aids, lists, notes, etc., may not be used during the test. Follow the list in the order it is printed as you walk around the vehicle. Point to or touch each component and explain to the examiner how you are checking that component. Be specific. General explanations such as, “looks good” or, “I’m checking to ensure it is secure”, are not acceptable and you will be asked for more detail. Tell the examiner what leads you to believe the component “looks good” or how you know the component “is secure”. (You may check the security of many components simply by grabbing the component and trying to shake or move it. Make sure the examiner knows what you are doing.) 

An examiner will not knowingly take a person on a drive test in a vehicle that may be unsafe or illegal to operate. If the examiner determines that any of the following components are defective, unsafe or missing, the test will be considered an “equipment failure” and the drive test will be postponed. 

  • Air Brakes 
    • Low air warning device does not activate by 55 psi. 
    • Tractor protection valve on combination vehicle is missing or inoperative. 
    • Air compressor cannot compensate for any leaks that may exist. 
    • The tractor protection valve does not close before the air pressure drops below 20 psi. 
  • Any apparent fuel leak (not to be confused with an overfilled tank). 
  • Wheels and tires 
    • Tire is flat or has noticeable leak. 
    • Loose, missing, broken, or stripped lug nuts or bolts: 
      • 3 anywhere or 2 adjacent on a 10-bolt wheel. 
      • 2 anywhere on an 8-bolt (or less) wheel. 
    • Tires that are bald or damaged and constitute a hazard, e.g.: the tire has obvious breaks or bulges in the tread or sidewall; the tire is so bald that fabric material or metal is showing through the tread; the tire is bald over the entire width of the tire.
  • Other: 
    • Brake lights. 
    • Valid license plates. 
    • Windshield cracks that obstruct view. 
    • Turn signals. 
    • Mirrors (both sides). 
    • Horn. 
    • Four-way flashers (hazard lights). 
    • Brakes that act on all wheels, including trailer wheels. 
    • Exhaust system. 
    • Parking brake. 
    • Headlights. 
    • Speedometer. 
    • Seatbelts for driver and examiner (except busses that have no belts for passengers). 
These additional items must operate dependent upon weather and lighting conditions: 

  • Taillights, clearance and marker lights 
  • Windshield Wipers 
  • Heater/Defroster 
Trucks and tractors must also have hand and footholds that allow 3-point contact for entry or exit. 

DMV cannot test when the vehicle is a combination vehicle with a coupling system that is not described in section 11.3.1, 11.3.2 or 11.3.3. If unsure, contact DMV before scheduling a skills test. 

You may still pass the pre-trip inspection test even though the examiner postpones the basic controls and/or drive test for an equipment failure. 

Study the following vehicle components for the type of vehicle you will be using during the CDL skills tests. You will need to identify each. For most components, you must also explain to the examiner how you would determine whether the component is or is not secure and what conditions would make the component unsafe. 

11.1 Engine Compartment (All Vehicles) 

Leaks
  • Look for fluid leaks on the ground under the engine. You are checking for puddles of oil, coolant, or fuel. 
  • Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine and transmission. 
  • Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.
Oil Level 
  • Indicate where dipstick is located. 
  • See that oil level is within safe operating range. Level must be above refill mark. 
Coolant Level 
  • Inspect reservoir sight glass, or 
  • (If engine is not hot), remove radiator cap and check for visible coolant level. 
Power Steering Fluid 
  • Indicate where power steering fluid dipstick or reservoir sight glass is located. 
  • Check for adequate power steering fluid level. Level must be above refill mark. 
Engine Compartment Belts 
  • Check the following belts (if equipped) for snugness (1/2 to 3/4 inch play at center of belt) and condition (cracks, frays, loose fibers or other signs of wear). 
    • Power steering belt 
    • Water Pump belt 
    • Alternator belt 
    • Air compressor belt 
Alternator 
  • Check that the alternator is mounted securely with no loose or missing bolts. 
  • Check for loose electrical connections or exposed, burned or broken wiring. 
Power Steering Pump 
  • Check that the pump is securely mounted with no loose or missing bolts. 
  • Check for fluid leaks or cut, cracked or frayed hoses. 
Air Compressor 
  • Check that the compressor is mounted securely with no loose or missing bolts. 
  • Check for any fluid or air leaks from the compressor. 
Water Pump 
  • Check that the water pump is not leaking. 

11.2 – External Inspection (All Vehicles) 

11.2.1– Steering 

Steering Box/Hoses
Check that the steering box is securely mounted to the frame. 
Look for any loose or missing bolts. 
Check for power steering fluid leaks, damage to hoses and cracks in the housing. 
Steering Linkage
See that connecting links, arms, and rods from the steering box to the wheel are not worn, cracked or bent Check that joints and sockets are not worn or loose and that there are no missing nuts, bolts, or cotter keys.

11.2.2 – Suspension 

Springs/Air/Torque 
  • Look for missing, shifted, cracked, or broken leaf springs. 
  • Look for broken or distorted coil springs. 
  • If vehicle is equipped with torsion bars, torque arms, radius rods or other types of suspension components, check that there are no loose or missing bolts, bushings or mounting parts. Also check the condition to ensure that the arm or rod is not cracked or broken. 
  • Air ride suspension should be checked to ensure air bags are inflated and have no cuts, bulges or audible leaks. 
Mounts 
  • Look for cracked or broken spring hangers, missing or damaged bushings, and broken, loose, or missing bolts, u-bolts or other axle mounting parts. (The mounts should be checked at each point where they are secured to the vehicle frame and axle[s]). 
Shock Absorbers 
  • See that shock absorbers are secure (no cracked mounting brackets, loose or missing bolts) and that there are no leaks. 
Note: If your vehicle has more than one type of suspension, be prepared to check each type. 

11.2.3 – Side of Vehicle 

Door(s)/Mirror(s) 
  • Check that door(s) are not damaged and that they open and close properly from the outside. 
  • Hinges should be secure with seals intact. 
  • Check that mirror(s) and mirror brackets are not damaged and are mounted securely with no loose fittings. Fuel Tank 
  • Check that tank(s) are secure by inspecting nuts and/or bolts of mounting brackets or looking for shiny areas near the mounting straps that would indicate shifting. 
  • Check that fuels cap(s) are tight, and that there are no leaks from tank(s) or lines. 
Battery/Box 
  • Wherever located, see that battery(s) are secure, connections are tight, and cell caps are present. 
  • Battery connections should not show signs of excessive corrosion. 
  • Battery box and cover or door must be secure. 
Drive Shaft 
  • See that drive shaft is lubricated and is not bent or cracked. 
  • Make certain the drive shaft is mounted securely (grab and try to shake laterally, if possible, or check nuts/bolts on U-joints or carrier bearing housing), shaft couplings appear to be secure, U-joints and/or carrier bearings are not cracked or broken and free of foreign objects.
Exhaust System 
  • Check system for damage such as cracks, holes or severe dents and any signs of leaks such as rust or carbon soot. 
  • System must be connected tightly and mounted securely with no loose or missing nuts/bolts. 
Frame 
  • Look for cracks, broken welds or bends in the longitudinal frame members; loose or damaged cross members; loose or missing bolts/rivets; holes in the floor or floor damage. 

11.2.4 – Rear of Vehicle 

Splash Guards 
  • Check that splash guards or mud flaps are not torn or damaged, are mounted securely and not more than 10 inches from the ground. 
Doors/Ties/Lifts 
  • Check that doors and hinges are not damaged, that doors are latched, and handles are locked in place. 
  • Ties, straps, chains, and binders must be secured. 
  • If equipped with a cargo lift, the lift must be fully retracted and latched securely. 
Air/Electric Lines 
  • Listen for air leaks. Check that air hoses and electrical lines are not cut, chafed, spliced, or worn (steel braid should not show through). 
  • Make sure air and electrical lines are not tangled, pinched, or dragging against tractor parts. 
Catwalk 
  • Check that the catwalk is solid, clear of objects, and securely bolted to tractor frame. 

11.2.5 – Brakes 

Slack Adjusters/Push Rod 
  • Look for broken, loose, or missing parts. 
  • Check for brake adjustment. The pushrod should not move more than one inch (with the brakes released) or exceed the maximum stroke identified on a brake stroke indicator when pulled by hand. 
  • The angle between the pushrod and adjuster arm should not be less than 90 degrees when the brakes are applied or the parking brake set. If the angle between the pushrod and adjuster arm is less than 90 degrees, it is an indication that the brakes may be out of adjustment. 
Brake Chambers 
  • Check that the chamber is mounted securely to mounting brackets and there are no loose or missing bolts. 
  • Check that brake chambers are not cracked or dented. 
Brake Hoses/Lines 
  • Look for cracked, worn, or leaking hoses, lines, and couplings. 
  • Ensure hoses or lines are securely connected. 
Brake Drum/Rotor and Lining/Pad 
  • Check the drum or rotor for excessive wear or cracks. 
  • On some brakes, there are openings where the brake linings or pads are visible. Verify that the linings or pads are not cracked or broken and are at least ¼ inch in thickness. 
  • Brake drums/rotors and brake linings/pads should be free of oil or grease.

11.2.6 – Wheels 

Rims 
  • Check for cracks or welds. Rims cannot have welding repairs. 
  • Check for dents in the bead flange. 
  • Make sure there is no distortion of the bolt holes. 
Tires 
  • The following items must be inspected on every tire: 
    • Tread depth: Check for minimum tread depth (4/32” on steering axle tires, 2/32” on all other tires). 
    • Sidewall condition: Check for cuts, bulges, abrasions or other damage to the sidewalls. Also, make sure that valve caps and stems are not missing, broken, or damaged. 
    • Tire inflation: Check for proper inflation by using a tire gauge. A visual check is not acceptable for dual tires. 
Note: You will not get credit if you simply kick the tires to check for proper inflation. 

Hub Oil Seals/Axle Seals 
  • See that hub oil/grease seals and axle seals are not leaking and, if wheel has a sight glass, oil level is adequate. 
Note: If your vehicle has more than one type of hub, be prepared to inspect each type. 

Lug Nuts 
  • Check that all lug nuts are present, free of cracks and distortions, and show no signs of looseness such as rust trails, shiny threads, bolt hole distortion or cracks around the bolt holes. 
Spacers/Budd Spacing (the space between dual tires) 
  • If equipped, check that spacers are not bent, damaged, or rusted through. 
  • Spacers should be evenly centered, with the dual wheels and tires evenly separated. 
  • Check that dual tires are not touching and that no debris is lodged between them.

11.3 — Truck/Tractor Trailer 

11.3.1 – Fifth Wheel Coupling 

Mounting Bolts 
  • Check that bolts and nuts are not loose or missing. 
  • Check for rust trails which may indicate loose nuts. 
  • Check for shiny metal or filings that may indicate shifting.
Platform 
  • Check for cracks or breaks in the platform structure, above the upper mounting bolts, that supports the fifth wheel skid plate. 
  • Check for loose or missing pins or cotter keys. 
Release Arm (Fifth Wheel) 
  • If equipped, make sure the release arm is in the engaged position. 
Locking Jaws 
  • Look into fifth wheel gap and check that locking jaws are fully closed around the kingpin. 
Kingpin 
  • Check that the kingpin is not bent or cracked and that the jaws are locked around it. 
Apron 
  • Make sure the visible part of the apron (plate attached to underside of trailer that rests on the skid plate) is not bent, cracked, or broken. 
  • Check that the trailer is laying flat on the fifth wheel skid plate (no gap). 
Sliding Fifth Wheel Locking Pins 
  • If equipped, look for loose or missing pins in the slide mechanism of the sliding fifth wheel. If air powered, check for leaks. 
  • Make sure locking pins are fully engaged. 
  • Check that the fifth wheel is positioned properly so that the tractor frame will clear the landing gear during turns. 
Skid Plate 
  • Check for proper lubrication and that 5th wheel skid plate is securely mounted to the platform and that all bolts and pins are secure and not missing. 

11.3.2 – Pintle Hook/Ball Hitch Coupling Systems 

Mounting Bolts 
  • Check that bolts and nuts are not loose or missing. 
  • Check for rust trails, shiny metal, or filings that might indicate loose nuts. 
  • Check for broken or cracked welds. 
Pintle Hook/Ball 
  • Check that there are no cracks or breaks in the pintle hook structure and there is not excessive wear on the pintle hook. 
  • Check that the nut on the shank of the ball is tight. 
Safety Latch/Locking Device 
  • Make sure the safety latch or locking device is engaged. 
Safety Chains/Cables 
  • Check that the chains or cables are attached, hooked, or otherwise connected to the towing unit. 
Eye/Coupler 
  • Check that there are no cracks or excessive wear on the eye, or cracks or breaks in the coupler. 
Drawbar/Tongue 
  • Check the condition of the drawbar or tongue. Check for cracks and verify that it is not bent. 

11.3.3 – Tow Truck Underlift System

Underlift Reach 
  • Check that the reach has no cracks or bends and no welded repairs to the structure. 
Pivot Pin 
  • Ensure the pivot pin is not cracked, broken or excessively worn. 
Crossbar 
  • Check the crossbar for cracks and bends. 
Receiver and Retaining Pins 
  • Check that both receiver and retaining pins are in place and secure. 
Tie-down Chains or Straps 
  • Check that the chains have no breaks or the straps have no frays or cuts. 
Safety Chains/Cables 
  • Check that the chains or cables are attached, hooked, or otherwise connected to the towing unit and towed vehicle. 

11.3.4 – Trailer Front 

Air/Electrical Connections 
  • Check that trailer air connectors are sealed and in good condition. 
  • Make sure glad hands are locked in place, free of damage or air leaks. 
  • Make sure the trailer electrical plug is firmly seated and locked in place. 
Headerboard 
  • If equipped, check the headerboard to see that it is secure, free of damage and strong enough to contain cargo. 
  • If equipped, the canvas or tarp carrier must be mounted and fastened securely. 
  • On enclosed trailers, check the front area for signs of damage such as cracks, bulges, or holes. 

11.3.5 – Side of Trailer 

Landing Gear 
  • Check that the landing gear is fully raised, has no missing parts, crank handle is secure, and the support frame is not damaged. 
  • If power operated, check for air or hydraulic leaks. 
Doors/Ties/Lifts 
  • If equipped, check that doors are latched securely and that handles are locked in place. 
  • Check that ties, straps, chains, and binders are secure. 
  • If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking, damaged or missing parts and explain how it should be checked for correct operation.
  • Lift should be fully retracted and latched securely.
Frame 
  • Look for missing bolts, cracks, broken welds, holes or other damage to the frame, cross members and floor. 
Tandem Release Arm/Locking Pins 
  • If equipped, make sure the locking pins are locked in place and release arm is secured. 

11.3.6 – Remainder of Trailer 

Remainder of Trailer 
  • Please refer to Section 11.2 of this manual for detailed inspection procedures regarding the following components: 
    • Wheels. 
    • Suspension system. 
    • Brakes. 
    • Doors/ties/lift. 
    • Splash guards. 

11.4 – Lights & In Cab (All Vehicles) 

11.4.1 Lights/Reflectors 

  • 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). 
    • Tail lights. 
    • Turn signals (left and right). 
    • Four-way flashers. 
    • Brake lights. 
    • Red reflectors or reflective tape (on rear) and amber reflectors (elsewhere). 
Note: Checks of brake lights, turn signals and four-way flasher functions must be done separately. 

11.4.2 – Cab Check/Engine Start 

Clutch/Gearshift 
  • Depress clutch if the vehicle has a manual transmission. 
  • Place gearshift lever in neutral (or park, for automatic transmissions). 
  • Start engine, then release clutch slowly. 
Air Gauge 
  • Make sure the air gauge is working properly and that air pressure builds while the engine is running. 
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. 
Ammeter/Voltmeter 
  • Check that gauges show alternator and/or generator is charging or that warning light is off.
Anti-lock Braking System (if equipped) 
  • Check that the warning light comes on at start-up and then turns off. 
  • For combination vehicles only, check that the yellow light on the left rear of the trailer comes on at start-up and then turns 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. 
Lighting Indicators 
  • Left and right turn signal indicators operate when the corresponding signal is activated. 
  • Four-way emergency flasher indicator operates when the flasher is turned on. 
  • High beam headlight indicator operates when headlights switched to high beam. 
Mirrors and Windshield 
  • Mirrors should be clean, not cracked, broken or loose and adjusted properly from the inside. 
  • Windshield should be clean with no illegal stickers, no obstructions, and no cracks. 
Emergency Equipment 
  • Check for spare electrical fuses. 
  • Check for three red reflective triangles, 6 fuses or 3 liquid burning flares. 
  • Check for a properly charged and rated fire extinguisher. 
Note: If the vehicle is not equipped with electrical fuses, you must mention this to the examiner. 
Wipers/Washers 
  • Check that wiper arms and blades are secure, not damaged, and operate smoothly. If equipped, windshield washers must operate correctly. 
Horn 
  • Check that air horn and/or electric horn work. 
Heater/Defroster 
  • Test that the heater and defroster fan works. 
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. 
Air Brake Check (Air Brake Equipped Vehicles Only) 
Failure to properly perform all portions of the air brake check will result in an automatic failure of the vehicle inspection test. This procedure is designed to check that air brake safety devices operate correctly as air pressure drops from normal to low. During the brake checks, you must perform and explain the criteria outlined below. Unless you are certain that the vehicle will not roll, use wheel chocks while performing the checks. You will be scored based on the following procedure: 

Engine-Off Air Brake Check 

Step 1 - Leaks Test 
This test will determine if there are any air leaks that may deplete the vehicle air reserves and cause the spring brakes to drag or lock up. 
  • With the engine running, build the air pressure to governed cut-out (100-125 psi). 
  • Shut off the engine, chock your wheels if necessary, release the parking brake (all vehicles), and the tractor protection valve (trailer supply valve), if it is a combination vehicle with air brakes, and fully apply (at least 50 pounds of application pressure) the foot brake. 
  • Continue to apply full pressure to the foot brake for one minute. After the initial air pressure drop, due to the brake application, check the air gauge to see if the air pressure drops more than three pounds in one minute (single vehicle) or four pounds in one minute (combination vehicle). 
If the air pressure drops more than three pounds in one minute (single vehicle) or four pounds in one minute (combination vehicle) it is considered an equipment failure. 

Step 2 - Low Air Warning 
This test will determine if the low air warning system activates early enough to allow the driver to stop the vehicle safely. 
  • Without re-starting the engine, turn electrical power to the “on” or “battery charge” position. Begin fanning off the air pressure by rapidly applying and releasing the foot brake. 
  • Low air warning devices (buzzer, light, or flag) should activate before air pressure drops below 60 psi or level specified by the manufacturer. 
The low air warning device must activate by 55 psi or it will be considered an equipment failure. 

Step 3 - Tractor Protection Valve 
This test will be performed on a combination vehicle only when the trailer has air brakes. The test will determine if the tractor protection valve functions properly by stopping air flow to the trailer so that the truck/tractor’s service brakes will remain operable. 
  • Release parking brakes and make sure the tractor protection control valve (trailer supply valve) is in the operational (released) position. Continue to fan off the air pressure. 
  • By the time the air pressure gauge reaches 20 psi the tractor protection control valve (trailer supply valve) and parking brake valve should close (pop out). 
  • If the knob on the dash fails to pop out by 20 psi, you must manually check that the tractor protection valve is functioning. 
    • To do this, the air pressure must be built up to above 60 psi and the engine shut off.
    • Place the transmission in the lowest possible gear and release the parking brake. 
    • Then disconnect the emergency air line from the trailer. There should be a rapid discharge of air from the emergency line. If the tractor protection valve is working properly, it will shut off the air flow from the emergency line. This is verified by looking at the air pressure reservoir gauge. It must stop at 20 pounds or greater.
If the tractor protection valve fails to operate by 20 psi, it will be considered an equipment failure. 

Parking Brake Check 
  • Apply parking brake only and make sure that it will hold the vehicle by shifting into a lower gear and gently pulling forward against the brake. Alternatively, pull forward slowly (<5 mph) and apply the parking brake.
  • With the parking brake released and the trailer parking brake engaged (combination vehicles only), check that the trailer parking brake will hold the vehicle by gently trying to pull forward.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with an auto-neutral feature that automatically places the transmission in neutral when the parking brake is applied, drive forward slowly (<5 mph) and then apply the parking brake. The vehicle should stop almost immediately.
Service Brake Check
  • You will be required to check the application of air or hydraulic service brakes. This procedure is designed to determine that the brakes are working correctly and that the vehicle does not pull to one side or the other.
    • Pull forward at 5 mph, apply the service brake and stop. Check to see that the vehicle does not pull to either side and that it stops when the brake is applied.
Breakaway Control Module
This check will be performed only on a Class A combination vehicle when the trailer has electric brakes. This test will determine if the module functions properly and will set the trailer brakes.
  • Disconnect the breakaway wiring from the connector on the trailer.
  • Start the engine, place the transmission in first gear and slowly drive the truck forward.
  • If the trailer moves freely, with no signs of braking on the trailer axle, the emergency breakaway control module is not working properly.
If the emergency breakaway is inoperative or missing, it will be considered an equipment failure.
Safety Belt
  • Check that the safety belt is securely mounted, adjusts, latches properly and is not ripped or badly frayed.

11.5 – Coach/Transit Bus Only 

The following items must be inspected in addition to items listed in sections 11.1, 11.2 and 11.4 .

Passenger Entry/Lift 
  • Check that entry doors operate smoothly and close securely from the inside. 
  • Check that hand rails are secure and, if equipped, that the step light(s) are working. 
  • Check that the entry steps are clear, with the treads not loose or worn excessively. 
  • If equipped with a wheelchair lift, look for any leaking, damaged or missing part, and explain how it should be checked for correct operation. 
  • Lift should be fully retracted and latched securely. 
Emergency Exits 
  • Make sure that emergency exits are identified and that emergency exit doors operate smoothly and close securely from the inside. 
  • Check that any emergency exit warning devices are working. 
Passenger Seating 
  • Look for broken seat frames and check that seat frames are firmly attached to the floor. 
  • Check that seat cushions are attached securely to the seat frames. 
Doors/Mirrors 
  • Check that entry/exit doors are not damaged and operate smoothly from the outside. Hinges should be secure with seals intact. 
  • Make sure that the passenger exit mirrors and all external mirrors and mirror brackets are not damaged and are mounted securely with no loose fittings. 
Baggage Compartment 
  • Check that baggage and all other exterior compartment doors are not damaged, operate properly and latch securely.

11.6 – School Bus Only 

The following items must be inspected in addition to items listed in sections 11.1, 11.2 and 11.4.

Emergency Equipment 
  • In addition to checking for spare electrical fuses (if equipped), three reflective triangles, and properly charged and rated fire extinguisher, school bus drivers must also inspect the following emergency equipment: 
    • Fully stocked and sealed first aid kit. 
    • Fully stocked and sealed body fluid cleanup kit. 
Lighting Indicators 
  • In addition to checking the lighting indicators listed in Section 11.1.2 of this manual, school bus drivers must also check the following lighting indicators (internal panel lights): 
    • Alternately flashing amber lights indicator, if equipped. 
    • Alternately flashing red lights indicator. 
Lights/Reflectors 
  • In addition to checking the lights and reflective devices listed in Section 11.2.1 of this manual, school bus drivers must also check the following (external) lights and reflectors: 
    • Stop arm light, if equipped. 
    • Alternately flashing amber lights, if equipped. 
    • Alternately flashing red lights. 
Student Mirrors 
  • In addition to checking the external mirrors, school bus drivers must also check the internal and external mirrors used for observing students: 
    • Check for proper adjustment. 
    • Checks that all internal and external mirrors and mirror brackets are not damaged and are mounted securely with no loose fittings. 
    • Checks that visibility is not impaired due to dirty mirrors. 
Stop Arm 
  • If equipped, check the stop arm to see that it is mounted securely to the frame of the vehicle. Also, check for loose fittings and damage. 
Passenger Entry/Lift 
  • Check that the entry door is not damaged, operates smoothly, and closes securely from the inside. 
  • Hand rails are secure and the step light is working, if equipped. 
  • The entry steps must be clear with the treads not loose or worn excessively. 
  • If equipped with a wheelchair lift, look for leaking, damaged, or missing parts and explain how lift should be checked for correct operation. Lift must be fully retracted and latched securely. 
Emergency Exit 
  • Make sure that emergency exits are identified, and that emergency exit doors operate smoothly and close securely from the inside. 
  • Check that any emergency exit warning devices are working.
Baggage Compartment 
  • Check that baggage and all other exterior compartment doors are not damaged, operate properly and latch securely. 
  • Seating 
  • Look for broken seat frames and check that seat frames are firmly attached to the floor. 
  • Check that seat cushions are attached securely to the seat frames. 
School Bus Labeling 
  • Check to ensure “Unlawful to Pass When Red Lights Flash:” lettering on rear of bus is present and clear. 
  • Check that “School Bus” letters and bus numbers are clear and legible.

11.7 – Taking the CDL Pre-trip Inspection Test 

11.7.1 – Class A Pre-trip Inspection Test 

If you are applying for a Class A CDL, you will be required to perform a pre-trip inspection in the vehicle you have brought with you for testing. The test includes a check of lights and reflectors, engine compartment, the outside of the truck or tractor, the coupling system, trailer and an in-cab-inspection. 

11.7.2 – Class B Pre-trip Inspection Test 

If you are applying for a Class B CDL, you will be required to perform a pre-trip inspection in the vehicle you have brought with you for testing. The test includes a check of lights and reflectors, engine compartment, the outside of the truck or bus, and an in-cab inspection. You will also have to inspect any special features of your vehicle (e.g., school or transit bus). 

11.7.3 – Class C Pre-trip Inspection Test 

The pre-trip inspection for Class C commercial vehicles includes the same components and areas that are inspected in the Class B CDL test.


​​​Table of Contents

Section 1 Introduction
1.4 – Commercial Tests
Section 3 Transporting Cargo Safely
Section 4 Transporting Passengers Safely
Section 5 Air Brakes
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
Section 7 Doubles and Triples
7.2 – Coupling and Uncoupling
7.3 – Inspecting Doubles and Triples

Section 8 Tank Vehicles
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
Section 10 School Bus
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test

Section 12 Basic Control Skills Test
Section 13 On-Road Driving Test​