All trucks, from pickup trucks to eighteen-wheelers, fall into classes based upon the weight they can tow. These truck classes range from one to eight, based upon the maximum operating weight of the vehicle. Another term for a truck's maximum operating weight is the "gross vehicle weight rating" or your GVWR. Understanding your GVWR is critical for ensuring that you have a vehicle that supports your work and lifestyle.
Regardless of your industry, finding the right truck for your fleet is essential for running a successful day-to-day operation.
Understanding Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
GVWR is the determining factor for the class of a vehicle. This rating considers the towing capacity and weight (including cargo and passengers) and breaks them into nine truck classes. Three primary groups house all nine classes - heavy, medium, and light duty.
The trucks you see in commercials and on city roads are generally in the first three classes and are considered "light-duty" vehicles. More commercial vehicles like small busses and moving trucks are in classes four through six and qualify as "medium-duty." Finally, the largest classes, seven through nine, which contain large tractors, garbage trucks, semi-trucks, and large busses, are considered "heavy-duty" vehicles.
What Class of Truck Is Right for You?
Medium-duty trucks generally weigh between 14,000 and 26,000 pounds, while heavy-duty trucks weigh between 26,001 and 33,000 pounds. The differences between these two truck classes all come down to the vehicle's size and weight. Although many pickup truck commercials boast about heavy-duty towing capacity, the reality is that most of these everyday pickups are classified as light duty.
Medium-Duty Trucks and Towing
When towing or carrying heavy loads, it is critical to ensure that you have the proper vehicle. Hauls exceeding your truck's GVWR are not only illegal, but they pose risks that include an inability to control and maneuver the truck and mechanical damage properly. Most medium-duty trucks are flatbeds, and when towing vehicles, this truck style is much safer than an alternative dolly style bed. Generally, medium-duty trucks have no issue towing light-duty vehicles.
Not all trucks designed for big hauls require a commercial driving license (CDL). Medium-duty trucks often do not require a CDL for you to drive them. Any truck with a GVWR of over 26,000lbs typically requires a CDL making the medium-duty class an excellent entry-level towing vehicle. That said, any vehicle with a GVWR over 10,001 pounds used for business is required to stop at state weigh stations and inspection stations.
Heavy-Duty Trucks and Towing
Any class seven, eight, or nine vehicle is classified as heavy-duty. Commercial trucks are utilized across numerous industries for transporting all kinds of goods. Today, many of these vehicles are designed for specific jobs and assist in specialized labor. No matter the job, there are heavy-duty trucks made for your needs. Heavy-duty towing requires a truck with a more oversized frame and a reinforced, robust engine to carry large loads and vehicles.
Standard heavy-duty trucks include 18-wheelers, garbage collection trucks, dump trucks, gas trucks, and tractor-trailers. Any driver operating a vehicle in this class must have a Class B commercial driving license (CDL) to operate the vehicle legally.
Let Transwest Help You Find Your Fleet
Transwest carries only the highest quality trucks from leading manufacturers like Freightliner, Western Star, Lohr, Foremost, Rival, and more. We have the best in flatbeds, sleepers, reefer trucks, hydrovacs, haulers, and beyond. If you aren't ready to buy or need a truck for a single job, Transwest can help you with the rental process.
At Transwest, we are your transportation solution carrying the highest quality vehicles and trailers to help you fill out your fleet. Find a Transwest dealer near you today, or browse our selection online. If you have questions about financing, call us at (303)289-3161 for hassle-free, same-day approval with better rates than most banks!
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