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Q: What is a Truck?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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Trucks are designed to haul items from one location to another. Over the years, they have become more stylish, and their duties have become more diverse. Now, heavy-duty trucks are used to pull very large cargo loads (including boats and other vehicles). Light- and medium-duty trucks sometimes don't see much hauling work at all. There are so many uses and styles of this vehicle, also known as the pickup truck, available on today's market that it takes some research to pick the best vehicle for your own use.

There are a few features that a vehicle must have in order to be considered a truck. It must have a cab attached to the chassis with room for a hauling receptacle. This receptacle is located behind the cab and is known as a "bed." Some trucks have covered beds, but most are open. Some heavy-duty trucks have flat beds, but these trucks are meant for commercial use, not typical personal use. Together, personal and commercial trucks make up eight different classes. The first three classes are personal-use trucks. Classes are divided by weight, justifying the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty titles that distinguish one pickup truck from another. Class 1 is made up of light trucks, which weigh up to 6,000 pounds. Class 2 includes trucks that weigh between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds. These trucks occupy the same class as cargo vans, including those used by utility companies. Class 3 is a transitional class that includes tow trucks, small dump trucks, and heavy-duty personal trucks. These trucks weigh between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds. The trucks in the other classes are commercial and require special licensing to drive.

The bed on a truck is mounted onto the chassis to provide a solid base for any type of cargo. However, trucks can tow items as well. Heavy-duty trucks are powerful enough to tow a trailer full of cargo. All three classes of truck are capable of towing, as long as the proper equipment is installed. It makes sense that a truck's towing capacity is determined by the towing equipment installed, the truck's drivetrain, and the its weight class.

Trucks typically have seating for up to six people, so they can be used to carry passengers as well. Other more stylish trucks are designed with a chassis closer to the ground than the average truck. This design is used for trucks that are not intended to haul anything or drive on rugged roads.

Knowing what you intend to use the truck for and which weight class matches that use will help in making a decision about which one to buy. There are a wide variety of brands and styles, so once you determine what you want from a truck, it is easy to find one to fit your needs.

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