What is covered on a CDL inspection checklist?

Familiarizing yourself with an inspection checklist is important for two reasons:

1) You must pass an inspection test to obtain a CDL. 

2) Federal and state laws mandate pre-and after-trip CDL inspections. 

And though inspections may seem like a hassle to you, the driver, they do serve a purpose. They promote safety for yourself and other drivers on the road. And they also help prevent breakdowns, saving you time and your company money.  

 Each state adheres to the same inspection requirements. So before getting into your vehicle you must check the following:

 1) The engine compartment
- Engine oil level
- Radiator coolant level
- Condition of hoses
- Power steering fluid level
- Windshield washer fluid level
- Battery fluid level; connections in proper order
- Automatic transmission fluid level
- All belts for tightness and excessive wear
- Leaks in the engine compartment (fuel, coolant, oil, battery fluid, power steering fluid)
- Cracked and worn electrical wiring insulation

 2) Inside the cab

- Check, if applicable, to see if the anti-lock braking system light comes on then turns off
- The oil pressure gauge reads properly
- The air pressure gauge reads properly
- That the anmeter and/or volmeter reads properly
- That the coolant temperature reads properly
- That the engine oil temperature reads properly
- That warning lights and buzzers are functioning properly
- That there's no sticking, looseness or damage to the clutch, steering wheel, gas pedal, all brake controls, transmission   controls, interaxle differential lock (if applicable), horns, windshield wiper and washer, all lights

 3) Check windshields and mirrors for cracks, dirt and obstructions such as stickers

 4) Check that the truck carries all required safety equipment
- Spare electrical fuses
- Three red triangles
- Properly charged and rated fire extinguisher

 5) Check that all lights are working
 - Make sure lights and reflectors are clean

 6) Check all tires for wear

 7) Check wheels and rims

 8) Check brake drums or shoes

 9) Look for steering system defects

 10) Check the suspension system

 11) Look for exhaust system defects

Consult your state's CDL manual for more exact details on how to look for defects or warning signs on a rig. Some states, like North Carolina for example, provide downloadable checklists for you to follow. If offered, you can find these checklists on your state DMV's Web site.

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