February 24, 2019

The Glossary of Trucks

Truck on freeway

As of 2017, there were around 23 million civilian trucks in China, 15 million in the US, and 6 million in the European Union. As of 2010, there were about 4 million refrigerated trucks worldwide. The different types of trucks include off-road trucks, heavy trucks, medium trucks, light trucks, very light trucks, and ultra light trucks.

What is a Truck?

A truck is a commercial vehicle that is larger than a normal car and has an open load bed. The primary purpose of a truck is to transport cargo. Most modern trucks have diesel engines.

The Different Types of Trucks

1. Very Heavy Trucks and Transporters

These are super heavy special duty tractors weighing over 14,000kgs. A very heavy truck can be a semi-trailer truck with unique duty characteristics.

• These trucks are too large for highway use. They require special permits and escorts.

• A haul truck is a large off-road dump truck that is common in mining operations.

• Ballistic tractors tow and pull exceptional loads. An ALMA transporter transports the ALMA (the most expensive ground-based telescope.)

• Yard dogs are very heavy trucks. They weigh over 37,000kgs. They move semi-trailers within a warehouse facility or a cargo yard. It is rare for yard dogs to be on highways.

2. Semi-Trailer Trucks

These weigh around 14,000kgs. Day cabs, sleeper cabs, and foot trailers are examples of semi-trailer trucks.

• A semi-trailer truck combines a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers. It carries freight. The tractor unit has two or three axles.

• A sleeper cab has a place for sleeping while a day cab does not. The length of a sleeper cab is about 20 feet from tip to tail.

3. Heavy Trucks

These weigh between 11,700 and 14,969kgs. They are heavy than medium trucks. Heavy trucks include garbage trucks, mobile cranes, log carriers, dump trucks, tractor units, concrete transport trucks, fire engines, and refrigerator trucks.

• Dump trucks transport loose materials such as demolition waste, gravel, and sand. They make use of hydraulic rams. They are common in construction sites.

• Garbage trucks collect and transport municipal solid waste to a landfill or a solid waste treatment facility. They are common in urban centers. Most of them have front loaders, rear loaders, or side loaders.

• The primary role of a fire truck is to transport firefighters and firefighting equipment. This truck will carry first aid kits, breathing apparatuses, hoses, ladders, a water tank, and a pump.

• A refrigerator truck transports perishable items. It has a refrigeration system that uses carbon dioxide as a cooling agent.

4. Medium Trucks

These weigh between 8,846 and 11,793kgs. These are smaller than heavy trucks but larger than light trucks. A medium truck is bigger than a full-size van or a heavy-duty pickup.

• Medium trucks include recreational vehicles, flatbed tractors, hotshots, box trucks, platform trucks, and delivery trucks.

• Recreational vehicles (RV) include caravans, campervans, and motor homes. Most RVs have sleeping facilities, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Luxurious RVs have amenities such as televisions, water heaters, and air conditioning.

5. Light Trucks

Light trucks weigh less than 8,500 pounds. They include panel trucks, pickup trucks, sports utility vehicles, and minivans. Individuals and businesses usually use light trucks.

• The pickup truck is the most popular light-duty truck. It has an enclosed cab and an open cargo area. In America, pickup sales account for 18% of total vehicle sales.

• Most modern pickup trucks have an automatic transmission, four rear wheels, single axle, for full-sized front-hinged doors and a user-operated clutch. Pickups transport people and goods.

The Bottom-Line

In the US, there is a 9-class system for classifying commercial trucks. Classification depends on the vehicle’s weight rating. In Canada, vehicle classifications vary from province to province. However, most provinces have a 13-class system. In the European Union, licenses are classified as B, C, or D. The C classification is for trucks.