Commercial Driver Vehicle Inspection - Basic Control and Skills Tests

​A CDL skills test:

  • Consists of three segments – vehicle inspection, basic control skills (backing) and road tests.
  • All three segments of the test must be passed during the 180 day period of your CLP (permit).
  • If a permit is renewed all passed segments of the test are void, and must be taken again.
  • The test segments must be conducted in order: Vehicle Inspection; Basic Control Skills; Road Test.
  • A failed segment will terminate the test, and the driver will need to reschedule to complete the test.
  • Scores of the passed segments may be banked for the duration of the Commercial Learner Permit used during the test.

Vehicle inspection tests:

  • The vehicle inspection test requires the driver to point out vehicle components and explain what you are checking and why to the examiner. This includes an under the hood engine compartment inspection. A driver is not required to crawl under the vehicle during the test. The Vehicle Inspection test is explained in Section 11 of the Wisconsin Commercial Driver's Manual.
  • A driver may use the Memory Aid found in the Wisconsin Commercial Driver’s Manual during the Vehicle Inspection test segment. This is the only memory aid allowed and it cannot be altered or include notes or additions.

Basic control skills tests

  • The basic control skills test consists of three backing maneuvers: 1. Straight line backing; 2. Offset right or left backing; and 3. Alley dock backing. The backing control skills information is found in Section 12 of the Wisconsin Commercial Driver’s Manual.

On road driving tests

  • The road test is conducted on street and requires the driver to demonstrate skill in normal traffic situations such as: turns; intersections; lane changes; stop/start; etc. The road test is described in Section 13 of the Commercial Driver’s Manual.
  • Contact a Commercial Driver License (CDL) third-party testing company to schedule your CDL skills tests.


The maximum fee that a third party tester may charge for a CDL skills test is being raised to accommodate the new requirements resulting from Wisconsin’s implementation of the federal revisions to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The new fee structure will be:

  • Full skills test (vehicle inspection, basic control skills and road test) when successfully completed at one time = $150
  • Vehicle inspection only = $50
  • Basic control skills only = $50
  • Road test only = $50
  • Abbreviated school bus skills test = $50
  • Lift airbrake restriction (vehicle inspection required) = $50
  • Lift manual transmission restriction (road test required) = $50
  • Lift tractor trailer restriction (vehicle inspection, basic control skills and road test required) = $150
  • Federal IRS mileage (2013: 56.5 cents/mile) for miles travelled to and from the test routes that exceed a 25 mile radius from the tester’s headquarters

A third party tester may choose to charge less than these fees.

An additional fee may be charged if the third party tester provides the use of a vehicle. Contact the specific tester for details.

​​​Driver Eligibility Unit
Email Wisconsin DMV email service​​​