Types of Trucks


Types of trucks, trailers and loads



This List of truck types is intended to classify trucks and to provide links to articles on the various types. The three main classifications for road truck by weight are light trucks, medium trucks, and heavy trucks.
Above this there are specialised very heavy trucks and transporters such as heavy haulers for moving oversized loads, and off-road heavy haul trucks used in and mining which are too large for highway use without escorts and special permits.

In the UK, trucks (lorries) are defined by the driving licence required. Heavy Goods Vehicles is a term normally applied to vehicles greater than 7½ tonnes. Drivers who passed their car test before 1997 can drive vehicles up to 7½ tonnes (8¼ tonnes combined with trailer), whereas car drivers who passed their test on or after 1 January 1997 are limited by EU Directive 91/439/EEC to "Category B" vehicles (having a Maximum Authorised Mass of 3½ tonnes).

Contents 1 Small trucks 2 Light trucks 3 Medium trucks 4 Heavy trucks 5 Very heavy trucks and transporters 6 See also 7 References Small trucks Mini Truck Light trucks A pickup truck is a popular light truck Light trucks are larger than mini trucks but smaller than medium trucks.

In the US, they are defined as weighing between 00001–14000 lb (0001–6350 kg). There is no smaller classification. Minivan Sport utility vehicle Canopy express Pickup truck Panel truck Cab-forward Tow truck (may also be a medium or heavy truck) Panel van Sedan delivery Medium trucks Ford F-650 flatbed Medium trucks are larger than light but smaller than heavy trucks. In the US, they are defined as weighing between 14001–26000 lb (6351–11793 kg). In North America, a medium-duty truck is larger than a heavy-duty pickup truck or full-size van.Some trucks listed as medium also are made in heavy versions. Box truck Van Cutaway van chassis Medium Duty Truck such as Ford F-650 in North America Medium Standard Truck Platform truck Flatbed truck (may also be light duty trucks) Firetruck (may also be a heavy truck) Recreational Vehicle or Motorhome The following are not types of trucks but types of use of the trucks listed above: Delivery truck, Multi-Stop truck, Bottler. Heavy trucks Peterbilt 386 tractor, a popular tractor unit for pulling semi-trailers Heavy trucks are heavier than medium trucks.

They weigh between 26001 to over 33000 lb (11794 to over (14969 kg). There is no higher on-road classification. Many heavy trucks listed are also made in medium duty versions: Concrete transport truck (cement mixer) Mobile crane Dump truck Garbage truck Log carrier Refrigerator truck Tractor unit Tank truck Very heavy trucks and transporters Haul truck ALMA Transporter.

Vehicles in this category are too large for highway use without escorts and special permits. ALMA transporter is used for transportation of ALMA transporter antenae. Ballast tractor, a very heavy weight power source for towing and pulling exceptional loads Heavy hauler, a combination of power source and very heavy weight transporter Haul truck, an exceptionally large off-road dump truck, common in mining operations

Trucks are heavy vehicles that carry goods on New Zealand’s roads. If you’re looking for a career in trucking, these are the types of trucks you could be driving. And remember to check out our guide to getting a job as a truck driver.

Boat haulage: New Zealand is a country mad on boats, so there are plenty of them to be moved around. While most boats are small enough to be carried on a trailer pulled by a car or SUV, larger boats need either a small truck or a specialised lowloader trailer (sometimes called a plant trailer) pulled by a prime mover. This image is courtesy of Multi-Trans, a company which specialises in moving extremely difficult loads.
The dump truck is thought to have been first conceived in the farms of late 19th century western Europe. Thornycroft developed a steam dust-cart in 1896 with a tipper mechanism. The first motorized dump trucks in the United States were developed by small equipment companies such as The Fruehauf Trailer Corporation, Galion Buggy Co. and Lauth-Juergens among many others around 1910. Hydraulic dump beds were introduced by Wood Hoist Co. shortly after. Such companies flourished during World War I due to massive wartime demand. August Fruehauf had obtained military contracts for his semi-trailer, invented in 1914 and later created the partner vehicle, the semi-truck for use in World War I. After the war, Fruehauf introduced hydraulics in his trailers. They offered hydraulic lift gates, hydraulic winches and a dump trailer for sales in the early 1920s. Fruehauf became the premier supplier of dump trailers and their famed "bathtub dump" was considered to be the best by heavy haulers, road and mining construction firms.

Companies like Galion Buggy Co. continued to grow after the war by manufacturing a number of express bodies and some smaller dump bodies that could be easily installed on either stock or converted (heavy-duty suspension and drivetrain) Model T chassis prior to 1920. Galion and Wood Mfg. Co. built all of the dump bodies offered by Ford on their heavy-duty AA and BB chassis during the 1930s. Galion (now Galion Godwin Truck Body Co.) is the oldest known truck body manufacturer still in operation today.

The first known Canadian dump truck was developed in Saint John, New Brunswick when Robert T. Mawhinney attached a dump box to a flat bed truck in 1920. The lifting device was a winch attached to a cable that fed over sheave (pulley) mounted on a mast behind the cab. The cable was connected to the lower front end of the wooden dump box which was attached by a pivot at the back of the truck frame. The operator turned a crank to raise and lower the box. The first dump bed apparatus on a wheeled vehicle patented in Canada








Car transporters: You need a specific endorsement to be a car transporter driver. As the trailer extends over the cab, it creates a wide arc when turning and drivers need to be aware of this. The driver may be responsible for loading and unloading the vehicles.

Full car transporter

Full car transporter 

Car transporter showing front section over cab

Car transporter showing front section over cab

Cement trucks: wet cement is taken to a building site in a revolving cement mixer truck

Concrete mixer truck

Concrete mixer truck

Chiller trucks and reefers (refrigerated containers): these keep the goods at a specific temperature, i.e. chilled or frozen. A reefer is a standard-sized container with a refrigeration unit, while a chilled truck is a box truck with a refrigeration unit.

Chiller truck

Chiller truck

Cranes: up to a certain size they can be driven on the road, if built that way. The crane operator will need to know how to safely park the vehicle and deploy the crane boom.

Mobile crane

Mobile crane

Dry goods: the vast majority of shipments and freight within New Zealand are dry goods. They are usually carried in containers, high-sided trailers, box trucks or in a curtainside truck. The truck will be filled with pallets of goods that can be unloaded with a forklift truck from the side of the truck.

Curtain side truck

Some have a tail lift to help with unloading products.

rigid truck coca cola

Box truck delivering drinks

Emergency response: fire engines require a heavy vehicle licence to drive unless they are driven on private land (e.g. an airport runway).


Fire truck in Auckland

Fire trucks that are more specialist work in large plants and airports

airfield fire truck

Flat-bed trailer: flat-bed trailers are versatile and used for carrying all kinds of items from steel girders and concrete pipes through to whole houses

This truck pulling a flat bed trailer is carrying a turbine blade

Furniture trucks: furniture trucks could be a box van or could be a separate prime mover and trailer. Drivers of furniture trucks usually help with the lifting so this is a much more physical job than a regular trucking driving job.

Highway maintenance trucks: Maintenance trucks have specific features that allow a person to stand on the back and place cones on the road, plus they have a retractable crash barrier plus strobe lights at the back and orange flashing lights on the cab.

traffic management truck night orange lights

Livestock trucks: These carry sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, alpacas – any kind of farm animal en masse. There are also trucks which carry one-off zoo animals, but they are not livestock trucks. Drivers must be aware of the regulations for the safe and humane carrying of livestock.

Stock truck with a load of sheep

Stock truck with a load of sheep

Logging trucks: These have a cage to constrain the logs and are loaded from the top by a log loader


Off-road and non-road-registered:
trucks that work on mines and large construction sites might be too big to be road-registered. Drivers don’t necessarily need a heavy vehicle licence to drive them. This also applies to some farm machinery and tourist vehicles.

Dump truck

Dump truck

Refuse trucks collect rubbish from neighbourhoods and deliver it to a central depot. Some are left-hand drive.

Snow ploughs are used to help clear roads in winter. This can be dangerous work because of the weather conditions.

snow plough

Tankers carry bulk liquids e.g. petrol, milk, etc and some solids e.g. corn, cement

tanker truck

Tanker pulling a dog trailer (steering wheels at the front connected by an A-frame drawbar to the coupling on the back of the tanker)

Small water tanker trucks are used to keep dust down on building sites and road works

Small water tanker trucks are used to keep dust down on building sites and road works

Tipper trucks and trailers:
a tipper truck is a rigid truck where the trailer tips to enable quick off-loading of loose materials.

truck tipper unloading

tipper truck 2

The two pictures above are rigid trucks with a tipper, but it could be a prime mover with a tipping trailer.

Tow trucks:
They either have a winch and ramps to allow the driver to pull an incapacitated vehicle onto the ramp and take it away, or larger tow trucks with heavy duty hooks can be used to tow buses and other trucks.

tow truck smashed car

Small tow truck collects a car from an accident scene


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