In my attempt to create the ‘ultimate’ heavy duty truck guide I know there will be points, ideas, and information left out. Unfortunately trying to cover everything about a heavy duty truck can be hard. Not that there is not enough information, but deciding what to include and what to skim over, is the real issue.
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Some might read this and think it is a good overview, others might say what about this or that. As usual I will welcome all suggestions and points in the comments box beneath the article. For others perhaps this will be more a starting point in your quest to learn more about what is considered to be a heavy duty truck.
I will say for this guide of mine that it isn’t a 4×4 GMC with a lift kit and spray on ‘mud’!!! It is geared towards commercial trucks.
If you want to learn more from an official point of view you have several options:
Of course, there are other options. But what I have put together is a guide, and I hope it does help you for finding the information you are seeking.
Ok, I guess, before I go into details about what is a heavy duty truck, or the types or their uses and all that other fun stuff, I shall first explain the classifications. I am sure many will be like, “I already know this”! Well, if you do know, then this might be a refresher for you, if you don’t, I hope it adds to your understanding.
In the USA (and most everywhere else) the government sees fit to classify everything. They do this for safety purposes, tax reasons, licensing, and other regulatory reasons. Safety is the most important.
You are all familiar with safety ratings; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has tons of information regarding safety. The DOT works in cooperation with The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) to oversee and regulate American industry (along with several other agencies).
Regarding the safety rating, the FMCSA has Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System, offering users’ access to safety data and other services. This is where any potential customer can review a company’s safety rating and other information using their Company Snapshot. Basically, the customer will get a concise of the company that they are looking into.
So what does this have to do with classifications? Why does this matter?
Well, let me answer your question. In order for you to operate, you need to know your size limits and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and/or the gross trailer weight rating (GTWR). This is the maximum loaded weight for your vehicle. And once again people, all that is regulated by the agencies above!
And the Classification and weight ranges are:
So, as you can see in the USA we have 8 classifications (plus sub-classes). A heavy duty truck is classified as those in class 7-8. These are the two most common commercial vehicles, for hauling freight and such.
Smaller items, of course, can and are transported on other vehicle types, but when one thinks of a commercial grade heavy duty truck it’s in this category. What are they?A Class 7 heavy duty truck is one with a GVWR that ranges 26001–33000 pounds (11794–14969 kilos). Typical trucks found in this range are the Ford F-750 and the GMC C7500.
A Class 8 heavy duty truck is one with GVWR that exceeds 33000 pounds (14969 kilos). This type of heavy duty truck is the typical semi-truck and trailer. They usually will have 3 axels, but more likely 5.
Of course, other restrictions and regulations will apply depending on the load and the location. So always check with the individual state you’ll be operating in. Never assume that since it is legal in one state that is ok in the rest.
Ok, at first glance you say, “This has been answered”! – If life was only that simple. Ok, as I said before a ¾ ton pick-up is not a heavy duty truck. At least they aren’t in regards to the commercial trucking and transport industry.
There are certain requirements to operate a heavy duty truck that isn’t required if you were to drive most of the other vehicles.The very first thing is the licensing, (CDL) requirements. In order to operate a heavy-duty truck, in class 7 or 8 range, you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You usually will need airbrake endorsements as well as other endorsements.
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