6 Types of Semi Trucks Every Owner-Operator Must Know Of

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6 Types of Semi Trucks Every Owner-Operator Must Know Of

Types of Semi Trucks

Types of Semi Trucks

  •  Semi Trucks
  • Oct 30,2020
  • By Admin

Being in the trucking business includes knowing very well which are the types of trucks out there. This often includes the types of semi trucks as well. For this reason, if you want to become an owner-operator and wish to buy your first semi-truck, then we invite you to keep on reading!

Difference Between Semi Trucks, Semi-Trailers, and 18 Wheelers

Before learning the main semi-truck types, you must know the main difference between them, 18 wheelers, semi-trailers, and other types of commercial vehicles.

First, we have semi-trucks. When we talk about semi-trucks, we refer to the tractor or cab area of the vehicle. They act as the front area of a truck.

We then have semi-trailers, which are the back part of the truck. Since these can be detached, it makes it easy to transfer and store heavy loads.

Finally, we have 18 wheelers. Also known as tractor-trailers, 18 wheelers act as the result of semi-trucks and semi-trailers attached together.

In some instances, people refer to 18-wheelers as semi-trucks, big rigs, semi-trailer trucks, or simply semis. That’s why there’s some confusion when it comes to these terms here in the United States.

Which Are the Main Types of Semi Trucks Out There?

Now that you know the main differences between semi-trucks, semi-trailers, and 18 wheelers, it’s time to go over the cab styles you must consider.

When it comes to the main types of semi trucks, these are the ones you should definitely keep in mind:

  • Day cabs semi trucks
  • Flat roof truck sleeper
  • Mid-roof sleeper cab
  • Raised roof truck sleeper
  • Slope-nosed trucks
  • Conventional nose trucks

Day Cabs

Day Cab Semi Truck

Just as the name implies, day carbs are for quick jobs done during the day time. In most cases, the routes truck drivers take for these semi trucks tend to take only a day.

Additionally, they tend to be smaller and less expensive compared to other heavy-duty tractor units. They count on less driver space and even fewer axles.

Flat Roof Sleeper

Flat Roof Sleeper Truck

We then have sleeper semi trucks, which are for long hauls and heavy loads. Unlike day cabs, sleeper trucks tend to be much more prominent in size and more expensive. They also include a sleeping compartment for drivers.

Sleeper trucks divide into three categories: flat roof, mid-roof, and raised roof. We’ll start off by describing flat roof sleeper models. Flat roofs are usually the sleepers that count on the least headspace. As their name suggests, they rely on a flat roof as well.

Mid-roof Sleeper 

Mid-Roof Sleeper

Mid-roof sleepers are sleeper semi-trucks that have a larger compartment for truck drivers to rest. These tractor units tend to measure around 76 inches.

In some cases, mid-roof sleepers can even come with a bed, storage compartments, and even a TV. Opposed to flat roof sleepers, these semi trucks tend to have more headroom, a more rounded roof and are slightly higher.

Raised Roof Sleeper 

Raised Roof Sleeper

Lastly, we have raised roof sleepers. These semi-trucks come with a compartment with many more amenities, including a side-storage tower and even a premium sound system. Among the three sleeper trucks, this is the one with most space and offers the best comfort to the driver. Moreover, raised roofs have an additional 12 to 18 inches compared to mid-roofs.

Slope-Nosed Trucks 

Slope Nosed Truck Units

Along with sleeping and storing compartments, these units tend to also differ on their fronts. First, there are the trucks that count on a short, rounded front. These fronts are the slope-nosed trucks. Due to their shape, the trucks are able to haul heavy equipment and longer trailers.

Also, slope-nosed trucks tend to better endure bumpier rides.

Conventional Nose Trucks

Cab Over or Conventional Nose Model

Last but not least, among the types of semi trucks there are conventional nose models. These are the traditional semi truck units that everyone usually thinks of.

Sadly, conventional nose semi trucks count on a reputation of bad fuel mileage. However, their design allows it for easier access to their diesel engines.

What Are the Main Types of Trailers for Semi-Trucks?

Along with semi truck types, it’s essential to know which are the main trailers out there as well. After all, if you’re planning to become an owner-operator, you must know how much the transportation costs will be and how much profit you will have with each hauling job.

These are the main types of trailers for semi trucks you often see on the road:

  • Box or dry van trucks
  • Dump or tipper commercial trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Dry bulk cargo trucks
  • Refrigerator and reefer semi-trucks
  • Tanker or fuel trucks
  • Lowboy semi-trailers

How to Pick Your First Semi Truck?

No matter if you’re buying an used truck from a dealer or a new one, there are some basic considerations to keep in mind when choosing your first truck.

First, you must define the freight and terrain you plan to do your work. Do you want to carry heavy duty jobs, or just loads that only take one day to deliver? What about terrain? Is the area you live mountainous? If so, then consider opting for a semi with extra gears to prevent any truck accidents.

Another key factor to consider is your area’s weather. Are extreme storms a common thing in your region? In case they are, then definitely opt for weather stripping for your truck.

Other factors you should keep in mind include:

Lastly, we have the type of manufacturer you should opt for. Having a commercial truck market share of 40%, Freightliner is one of the favorite manufacturers among truckers. They assemble all kinds of commercial truck models and styles that work for every type of hauls, from natural gas trucks to heavy-duty ones.

By knowing both the types of semi trucks and trailers, as well as some useful tips in choosing the right type out there, you are now able to make your decision as an owner-operator. Remember to stay on the safe side of the road by following some essential safety tips!



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