Driver Training: Truck Vehicle Control Systems

This unit will introduce a driver to the dashboard instruments, controls, and safety components of a tractor-trailer. Your driver will learn to:


You will also learn to identify, locate, and explain the function of each of the controls required for:

This lesson consists of text and video. Read the text and watch the lessons below. Feel free to take a break and comeback. Your overview page will update after you complete all of the lessons.

Student Driver Training Toolbox

This course is included in the Student Driver Training Toolbox. What is the Student Driver Training Toolbox? A box of tools to run your training program your way, with maximum efficiency. You can now track every aspect of student training electronically. Who can benefit from this system? Truck driving schools, delivery companies, bus lines, carriers, municipalities...any company that trains drivers.

The course below is from the catalog. View the other courses in the online library.

Trucking Companies should use the service that we built for them:

Safety as a Service, online driver training and recruiting. Same courses-different tools.

Control Systems

In this course we will learn about the control systems of the vehicle. Control systems are the in cab devices that allow the driver to control a vehicle. We will cover the clutching gear shift pattern, we will introduce you to the parking brake control vowels and we will talk about the various gauges you see, and let you know the appropriate levels.

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Control Systems Starting The Truck


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Tractor-Trailer Components Checklist

Download the Checklist (opens new window)

Under the Hood Under the Tractor
Oil and coolant level Air tanks
Engine Fuel tanks
Radiator Exhaust stack and muffler
Starter Intake stack and air cleaner assembly
Fuel pump Batteries
Filters Air-horns, lights and reflectors
Belts Rear axles, wheels and tires
Air compressor Rear suspension and brake parts
Key Cab Parts Tractor-Trailer Connections
Sleeper berth Fifth wheel
Storage compartment Electric lines
Instrument panel Service and emergency air lines
Safety Devices Glad hands
Vehicle Controls Trailer Parts
Front wheels Glad hands
Steering linkage King Pin
Front suspension Landing gear
Brake parts Lamps and reflectors
rums or discs Trailer suspension
Brake chambers Trailer axles, wheels and tires
Slack adjusters Brake parts, including air tank
Air lines Mud flaps

Transcribed: Safe Start

A thing that's important in the trucks is that when you learn how to double clutch, the tendency is to push the clutch in too far. And then you engage the clutch, brake, and make it grind. So if your seat's too close, you get up there and you want to push it in so far. Just make sure that this is adjusted so your leg is almost straight when you put the clutch in, if you can. When you're tall, like me, that's an issue sometimes.

And then adjust the mirrors. We want to see part of the trailer in both mirrors. Anywhere from a quarter to a third, something like that. Then these last five I'm talking about are going to be on your CDL exam. So that's when we want to make sure that we know them, and we say them, when we just get used to doing them. So that means the parking brake is set, which is the yellow one. The clutch is pushed all the way in, and we're in neutral. And the reason we do that is some of the older trucks, you get in and you think it's in neutral and you don't put the clutch in. And all of a sudden it is in gear because it's a real sloppy transmission and, boom, it starts jumping on you, okay? And then turn the key to "On" position and wait for ABS light to come on and go off.

What is ABS, anybody know?

It's the anti-lock braking for trucks and it helps them help from locking out. So, there's really two reasons for that. One is obviously for that, to show that it's working. And the other one, is that if we go ahead and set the key and we reset the computers that are in the trucks in the newer versions that have the gauges that have computers in them. So what happens is, let's say you pull up to somewhere and you stop and you get out. You have to go buy a...get some water or something, use the restroom, and you leave it running. Some of them will turn themselves off.

So when that happens, if you come back and you just turn the key and start it, it won't start. It will go ruh ruh ruh ruh ro, and it won't start. And then what you need to do is turn the key for a bit, let the gauges go, or the ABS on and off, and then start it and it will start. So there's a twofold reason that we do that. And then we'll turn it on the rest of the way and actually start it. And this is the first gauge we look at, the oil pressure. If it doesn't come up within three to five seconds, you can probably turn it off.

Any questions on that? So it's important to do the safe start to get in and out right, and then you've got your engine started.

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