Pretrip Inspection (Or How I Figured Out I'm Going To Need To Study REALLY Hard)

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Miss Miyoshi's Comment
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So, I saw a video of a girl who was going through the pretrip inspection and why certain things had to be checked. It was super thorough (as far as I could tell) and extremely informative. That was all fine, but she lost me when she started talking about engine and brake functions and this shaft and that axle. I'm not necessarily very mechanically inclined, and I've had no exposure whatsoever to the inner workings of a vehicle. I've gone from being really hopeful about my chances to feeling completely out of my depth and wondering if this is a good decision to pursue training in the spring. I've been reading what I can on here and elsewhere, and I've been going through the High Road materials, as well as reading "The Book" that's on here as well in between calls at work. I'm suddenly scared that I'll get there and do reasonably well only to fail out because of something small. For those of you that did not tinker with cars and engines before becoming a trucker, how did you manage having to learn basically all the ins and outs of truck mechanics?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Zachary B.'s Comment
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Great Answer!

Check out the heavy metal pre trip on YouTube...I learned alot ....good luck

Heavy Metal Truck Training Pretrip Inspection

This is a Pretrip Inspection video for tractor trailers done by Heavy Metal Truck Training

G-Town's Comment
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Great Answer!

I'm suddenly scared that I'll get there and do reasonably well only to fail out because of something small. For those of you that did not tinker with cars and engines before becoming a trucker, how did you manage having to learn basically all the ins and outs of truck mechanics?

I completely agree with 6 string and Errol. Memorization is the only way to go. The pre-trip is basically two parts; the outside walk-around and the in-cab inspection that includes the air-brake test you mention in your original post.

Something else to consider to ease your mind. Once you are in school, seeing is also believing. You will have the benefit of practicing your pre-trip for several hours per day on an actual truck and performing the above air-brake test in the cab. It will make much more sense, plus you can focus on a specific area if you are having trouble remembering components and what you should be checking.

Repetition, repetition, repetition; study it every night you have the chance. All the stuff that is foreign now, by the time you are well into your second week of class will become part of your vocabulary. You will also begin to realize there is a lot of redundancy, meaning for example, when inspecting the tire/wheel/brake components on each end of the tractor drive axles, you are just repeating the same inspection steps 4 times (2x if a single-drive axle tractor). Same approach can be applied to the trailer wheels/tires/brakes, memorize it once, repeat it 4 times for a tandem axle trailer. When you break it down into smaller chunks, it becomes easier to wrap you head around it.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Miss Miyoshi's Comment
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Oh, I forgot to mention that I did see all the pretrip inspection links on here. I just haven't gotten to it yet because I was trying to study from a foundational point (trucking 101 lite) before I started reading all the really technical stuff. Maybe I should start there first and study that over a longer period of time.....

6 string rhythm's Comment
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It's simple really. Rote learning. You don't have to be mechanically inclined to do well on your pre-trip exam and to perform effective pre-trips for yourself once out on the road. It helps to have an understanding of how things work, but simple memorization will be enough to get your CDL and do the job. Memorizing the pre-trip will give you some understanding of how the parts work, but you don't have to be a mechanic to pass the exam or be a driver.

I am not mechanically inclined and I aced it. You'll wanna use your particular school's information when studying for your pre-trip exam. Once you have that information, transfer it to index cards (or however you learn best by memorizing), and just start the tedious process of repetition. It's easy.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
6 string rhythm's Comment
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By the way, once you memorize the pre-trip, you'll be able to start talking about what's under the hood too. Doesn't mean you really understand how it all works. They way the pre-trip info is taught, you can recite it and sound like you built the truck.

Shiva's Comment
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Oh, I forgot to mention that I did see all the pretrip inspection links on here. I just haven't gotten to it yet because I was trying to study from a foundational point (trucking 101 lite) before I started reading all the really technical stuff. Maybe I should start there first and study that over a longer period of time.....

YouTube has a pre-trip inspection video from Apex CDL Institute and it is awesome! Very informative and the guy in the video runs the school and is very easy to listen to and very informative. I would watch his pre-trip video every night before bed for 2 weeks until I went to take my test and passed with flying colors. I know there are hundreds if not thousands of pre-trip videos out there, but his I liked the most, never got tired of watching it. Also, you know how some instructors, no matter what subject or how much they know, just cannot teach and are hard to listen to. Not this guy. check it out. https://youtu.be/EfW615ZnELE

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Zachary B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Check out the heavy metal pre trip on YouTube...I learned alot ....good luck

Heavy Metal Truck Training Pretrip Inspection

This is a Pretrip Inspection video for tractor trailers done by Heavy Metal Truck Training

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

The Pre-Trip is actually better than rote learning. Rote learning is when you have to recite the Preamble of the Consitituion in your 7th grade history class.

Doing the Pre-trip, you are looking at things, which should key you into one of the few responses you make. You need to know what to look at, such as the alternator, the leaf springs, the hoses, the U-bolts (and the 4 nuts), etc. You check them and then just state "Properly Mounted and Secure. Not Cracked, Bent, or Broken" and "Properly Mounted and Secure at both ends. No Abrasions, Bulges or Cuts and not leaking".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

The Pre-Trip is actually better than rote learning. Rote learning is when you have to recite the Preamble of the Consitituion in your 7th grade history class.

Doing the Pre-trip, you are looking at things, which should key you into one of the few responses you make. You need to know what to look at, such as the alternator, the leaf springs, the hoses, the U-bolts (and the 4 nuts), etc. You check them and then just state "Properly Mounted and Secure. Not Cracked, Bent, or Broken" and "Properly Mounted and Secure at both ends. No Abrasions, Bulges or Cuts and not leaking".

True, although I did say that the pre-trip will give you some understanding of how the parts work. Calling it rote learning kind of fit the description of the majority of my experience when I was memorizing the info - it was mostly memorizing and recitation for me. In fact, we didn't even have the hood open during our pre-trip exam for the examiner, so it was largely recitation without physically pointing at parts.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

She was going into things about the different braking systems (apparently there are three and I had no idea.....) and about letting out the air pressure and feathering brakes and how to check to make sure they all work properly and in which order the levers "pop" and.....I don't remember much else. It was a bit overwhelming. I'll look up the other videos when I get home from work. (I can watch videos here but not with sound.) And watching videos constantly to help with memorization is awesome. I used to memorize study notes in college by dictating them into a .mpg file then either making a CD for my car and/or uploading it to a music player.

6 string rhythm's Comment
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I have a background in education too Errol. smile.gif

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