• Tread Talk

Steps to do a CDL Pre-Trip Inspection

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

If you're driving a truck, you should be doing a pre trip inspection every time you hit the road. There are a lot of steps to a truck pre trip inspection that you must remember, and sometimes that can be challenging. Even the most experienced drivers need a refresher occasionally, so we have put together the steps to do a truck pre trip inspection for you as a reminder.

It is required by law that you perform a pre-trip inspection at least every 24-hour driving period. It should take you at least 30 minutes to do a good, thorough inspection to help ensure you do not miss any needed repairs or law violations.

Fluid levels

Check that all fluid levels are at the recommended level to prevent damages to your truck. Check your dipstick for oil levels, and all gauges and caps. None should be loose or broken in any way. If they are, replace them immediately.


Check your truck for leaks in the engine, hoses and connections, and under the truck. If you find any leaks make a note of them and make the necessary repairs.


Inspect all belts in the engine compartment of your truck that they are not loose or too dry.

Steering and horn

Make sure the wheel steers correctly to avoid losing control of your truck. Also check that your horn sounds.


All brakes and emergency brakes should be fully working when you inspect them. Any that are malfunctioned could cause an accident that could be fatal to anyone involved, so make sure to inspect this properly.

Tires, wheels, and rims

Check your tires for good air pressure, tread and that no wires are showing. Also check your rims for any damage to them and inspect your wheels for any rust.

Mirrors and windshield

Make sure you can see clearly through all mirrors and your windshield, that there are no obstructions or damages, and that all mirrors are aligned in the proper positions for your view while driving.


Check that the clutch and gear shift move smoothly into all gears.

Lights and reflectors

All lights on the truck need to be working. Headlights, break lights, bright lights etc. and including the emergency lights. Both your reflectors and reflective strips must be checked for broken or missing parts.

Emergency supplies

It is extremely important that you always have all emergency equipment on board your truck. Emergency supplies include reflective triangles, fire extinguishers, spare electrical fuses, spare tires and supplies, multipurpose took kit, flash lights, extra batteries and anything else you can think of that you might need on a long haul.

If you do not take enough time doing your pre-trip inspection thoroughly, or you skip it all together, there could be serious consequences. Not only can your truck be damaged or someone gets hurt, but you can receive Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) violations from the FMCSA, and legal violations, that would go on your record. So make sure to follow these steps and do your pre-trip inspection every time you get on the road!

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