Leaving For Prime Training Saturday, Some Questions

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Martin M.'s Comment
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Hello everyone, I am leaving Saturday for Missouri to train at Prime Inc. I am very dedicated and made it through grad school so I'd like to think I am no moron, however I feel like one when studying the pre-trip inspection requirements. There is just so many things that need to be inspected. I understand the reasoning for this and was just wondering how you all managed to learn and remember all of the different parts of the truck to inspect. Will the pre-trip inspection requirements be on the permit test? Will my trainer conduct a pre-trip each day so the procedure will become familiar to me? Any other pointers are welcome, especially regarding studying the materials and what I can do to ensure success at testing and training in general.

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.


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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
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I'm an instructor at Prime, the Pretrip Inspection is a lot to handle all at once. But just like all things, practice makes perfect.

You should aim to do a full inspection of your equipment twice a day while on the road. You will be given papers that list everything on the inspection and what to say, read that daily when you're done driving or bored.

The Pre-Trip Inspection breaks down into several categories. You have the Engine Compartment, Drivers Side Door Area, Couplins Area, and Trailer. Here's how the exam will go. They'll give you one section plus the Coupling Area. You'll always test on the Couplins Area so memorize that one good. Then they'll give you one other section along with Coupling Area, it could be Engine Compartment, Drivers Side Door Area, or Trailer. They won't tell you, it'll be random.

Memorize all sections and you won't have to worry about it.

Pay special attention to the In-Cab Inspection and Air Brake Test. Believe it or not, but the In-Cab can be tricky to students.

You must absolutely memorize the Air Brake Test, any mistake or error is an automatic fail. Memorize this word by word and focus on what your hands are doing.

It is your Instructors responsibility to walk you through it a couple of times but eventually it'll be up to you to learn and practice it. The Pre-Trip Inspection is mostly self taught. Your Instructor should be very engaged with you when you're doing the Air Brake Test though just because that's the easiest to fail.

Remember, you're also going to be learning how to shift, drive a truck properly, and learn how to back the truck to pass the Backing Exam. You'll have a whole lot more on your mind than just the Pre-Trip Inspection. So take a deep breathe and prepare to absorb information!

For more information about the Pre-Trip Inspection, check out my thread below.

Daniel B.'s Pre-Trip Inspection

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.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

DesertWarrior505 's Comment
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Martin, it sounds like you and I will be in the same group for starting the 15th?

Chance H.'s Comment
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I also start on The 15th and will be rolling into Springfield on Sunday

DesertWarrior505 's Comment
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Martin or Chance have either of you gotten your permits yet? Im heading to test for my permit tomorrow and hopefully can knock it out so its done before I get there.

The Dude's Comment
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I wouldn't worry about pre-trip until the permit is in the bag. Inspection isn't part of the permit test. Memorizing a list of text so you can recite your pre-trip can't be a bad thing I guess, but in my opinion the best way to learn it would be when you're actually at a truck and can see and understand the parts.

Joshua C.'s Comment
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I'm about 4 weeks into the training program and let me say I don't regret coming to Prime not one bit. The Pre-Trip does seem overwhelming at first, especially if your like me and didn't grow up working on Cars, but the good thing about having to wait for a trainer for about 2 weeks was that I got on that Pre-Trip everyday out there on the Pad. When you start to really get it and memorize it, you don't want to lose it so look forward to looking at it each and every day. I'm actually at a point where I enjoy everything about the Pre-Trip, it gives me a sense of accomplishment knowing that I've learned all these parts and how to do these procedures. I look at it first thing now that I'm on the Road with my trainer too. Pretend he's the examiner and go through it including the in-cab inspection and Air Brakes Test.


Operating While Intoxicated

PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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I went through Prime also, great company. I sweated the pre-trip also, so I know the boat you're in. What really made the difference for me was 2 things. !st, when you're out on the Pad, there are generally 'spotters' out there while you pull forward the 1st time. It the deep corner, there was a tractor with the hood popped, to expose the engine. They went through the pre-trip with us, and physically showed us where each piece was and what had to be checked. Seeing the part, and putting a name to it made a big difference for me, and allowed the memorization of the study sheet. So if at all possible, have an instructor or spotter or even another driver to actually show you where everything is.

The 2nd thing that made a difference was "A-B-C" and "C-B-B". Anything that holds air or fluid, is "A-B-C", no Abrasions, Bulges or Cuts. Everything else, "C-B-B", not Cracked, Bent or Broken.

If all else fails, stop in the tractor shop and ask if one of the mechanics can show you a few things. They probably will, some good folks in there.

Hope it helps, and good luck!

Martin M.'s Comment
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Yes, I will be starting on the 15th. Looks like I'll see you there Brent & Chance. I don't have my permit yet. I thought about trying it in NC but I heard I would have to transfer it to MO anyhow so since $ is tight I didn't want to spend more than necessary.

Daniel, thank you for the input. That sure is quite some thread you put together. Thanks for looking out for us newbies. I was viewing it even before you posted the link.

Mad Hatter's Comment
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Check out "Heavy Metal Truck Training Inspection" by hmtt2012 watch it over, and over, and over again. The beginning is the engine compartment the end is the in cab.

I used to use a treadmill and just watch this video before class. Then at lunch i would eat and watch this video. Lol there's a lot of info you have to absorb so take it in pieces (i would watch the first portion back to back in case i missed something). Good luck

Pre-Trip Inspection On A Tractor Trailer

This video shows a pre-trip inspection being done on a tractor trailer by an instructor at Heavy Metal Truck Training in Minnesota.

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.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
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