Illustration of a pre-trip checklist on a notepad for CDL Class A drivers with a pen and cup of coffee

The most important part of a truck driver’s routine is their pre-trip inspection. This helps to ensure the safety of you, drivers you share the road with, and your company. Comprehensive pre-trip inspection can be paired with a preventative maintenance schedule and truck driver safety tips to keep you safe while traveling your route.

Checklist Overview

  • Benefits
  • Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist/li>
  • Engine compartment
  • Driver door fuel area
  • Coupling area
  • Tires
  • Trailer
  • Light check
  • In-cab inspection
  • Brake tests

Download our CDL Class A Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist PDF.

Benefits of Pre-Trip Inspections

  • Reduce your potential unexpected breakdowns that cause delayed delivery
  • Discover maintenance issues before they become bigger problems
  • Prevent issues that could reduce profitability, such as increased fuel consumption due to improperly air tires

CDL Pre-Trip Checklist for Class A Drivers

Engine Compartment Inspection

Coolants and oils should be atop your checklist. Ensure your coolant levels are proper and your oil is clean.

Next, inspect the power steering and alternator. Confirm that your power steering is working properly and the steering wheel moves with ease. Test your alternator and make sure your battery is receiving a charge.

Driver Door Fuel Area Inspection

Your pre-trip inspection for Class A trucks continues by examining both the fuel and DEF tanks. Make sure all straps and brackets are secure.

You also want the caps on the tanks to be tight and the seal in place. If you notice any leakage, you must have this taken care of before heading out on the road.

Coupling Area Inspection

Start your coupling area inspection by listening for air leaks in the lines and check the electrical wires to ensure they aren’t worn out.

Keep the catwalk clear of any objects and ensure everything is adequately secured. You also want to inspect the mounting bolts to guarantee that none of them are loose.

Finally, check the hitch release lever, locking jaws, skid plate, release arm, kingpin, and locking pins to ensure the integrity of every component.

Tire Inspection

Tread depth can be the difference between slipping and sliding in rainy or snowy conditions and navigating through them safely. According to the Department of Transportation, 2/32” is the minimum tread depth allowed to semi and semi-trailer tires.

The PSI in your tires can affect your fuel economy and cost you or your company more money in transport costs. In order to be as profitable as possible ensure the proper PSI is in your tires before every trip.

The recommended PSI can vary depending on your chosen brand of tire, so be sure you know the PSI of your brand.

Download our CDL Class A Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist PDF here.

Trailer Inspection

One of the vital aspects of your Class A CDL pre-trip inspection is the trailer. Examine the frame for broken welds and cracks. Investigate the mud flaps to make sure they aren’t broken and are bolted correctly.

Finally, you will inspect the header board and trailer axles to ensure the integrity and remember to examine the rear of your trailer. You want the door to open and close with ease without any bending or cracks.

Light Check Inspection

On the front of the truck, you will have amber lights that need to be checked. These include the headlights, right and left turn signals, and four-way flashers.

In the rear of the tractor, there are red lights that must also be operational. These include the right and left turn signals, four-way flashers, brake lights, and clearance lights.

On the trailer, check amber lights on with clean lenses, red clearance lights, brake lights, emergency flashers, and the right and left turn signals are all working properly.

In-Cab Inspection

As part of your class A CDL pre-trip inspection, you will also examine several items within the cab. Check all the gauges to ensure they are reading correctly.

Ensure your windshield is free of any obstructions and that your windshield wipers and wiper fluid work properly.

From here, you will adjust all your mirrors for optimal visibility, try out the horn, turn on the heater and A/C, and test your seat belts before you hit the road.

Brake Test Inspection

As part of your pre-trip inspection Class A checklist, you also want to spend a little more time on the brakes to ensure your on-road safety. To test the parking brake, put your truck into a low-gear, and attempt to gently and slowly move with it while engaged.

To check service brakes, move forward at five mph with your foot on the brake. You shouldn’t notice any pulling to one side or the other.

Finally, you need to check the air brakes. Turn off the truck engine but leave the key in the on position. Release the parking brake and apply the foot brake. Keep pressure on the brake for one minute. At this time, the system shouldn’t lose more than four pounds of air. You should also listen for leaks during this time.

Download our CDL Class A Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist PDF here.

Do Pre-Trip Inspection Checklists Change from State to State?

All CDL pre-trip inspection forms are a check of all major systems to ensure your rig is operating properly. CDL pre-trip inspections are routine across state lines and throughout the country.

Completing these tasks every day before driving shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes and it is a federal requirement. While we highlighted some of the top aspects of your check, you will want a complete pre-trip inspection Class A cheat sheet.

LCL Bulk Transport is Hiring CDL Class A Drivers

LCL Bulk Transport is a family-owned kosher liquid food grade carrier looking for qualified drivers in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the country. We offer competitive pay rates and a generous benefits package. If you are a CDL Class A truck driver in PA, WI, IL, IN, or NJ, apply with LCL Bulk Transport today.

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