Working as a semi truck mechanic in Duncan, OK, it becomes clear that there is nearly a mythology about these road warriors. Semi trucks are different from any vehicle offered in the consumer market and require special training for safe operation. They remain an essential part to keeping commerce moving forward. Here are nine facts about these iconic metallic beasts that you may not have known before:
- “Semi” started with the trailer: Semi trailers are typically 53 feet long and have no front wheels, which was how “semi” was added to their name. First referred to as “semi trailers,” the name evolved to include the truck tractor too, producing the name “semi truck.”
- Semi trucks are mainly located down south: There are 5.6 million semi trailers registered in the U.S. and 1.9 million semi trucks operating in this nation. One-third of those trucks are registered in three states: California, Texas and Florida.
- Truck driving is primarily a small business: Large fleets employing hundreds is the exception—not the rule. The U.S. employs 3.2 million truck drivers nationwide who either drive independently or work for small operations. Ninety percent of trucking companies and owner-operator entities own six trucks or fewer.
- Large chunk of commerce: Trucks are a major part of moving goods and cover 140 billion miles a year. Sixty-eight percent of items used by consumers arrive at their destinations on a semi truck, with the agriculture and construction sectors being the biggest beneficiaries.
- High mileage is the norm: One semi truck covers 45,000 to 100,000 miles a year, depending on whether it travels mainly local or long distance runs. Semi trucks only make up 15 percent of commercial trucks in the U.S., but they cover 42 percent of all miles driven by that class of truck.
- Capacity is not universal: In the U.S., the maximum allowed weight for a semi truck and its trailer is 80,000 pounds spread evenly over the wheels. This allows for good stopping power and maneuverability on our frequently busy highways. In Australia, meanwhile, the standards are different. With miles of road available where other drivers are rarely seen, “road trains” with four trailers and more than 300,000 pounds are common. Imagine trying to get past a weigh station with that load!
- Turn up the torque: The Detroit Diesel DD15 14.9-litre inline six-cylinder engine, at 2,880 pounds, weighs 345 pounds more than a Mini Cooper. To pull the semi trailer, it offers 560 HP and 1,860 lb-ft of torque. Adding a turbo diesel increases this capacity to 2,050 lb-ft and also increases fuel efficiency.
- Antilock brakes reduced crashes: With the requirement of antilock brakes starting in 1997, the number of jackknife incidents dropped significantly. Now, drivers worry more about rollovers, which can occur when driving too quickly on loose surfaces.
- Most popular brand: Freightliner, owned by Daimler Trucks North America, is the top-selling semi truck brand and makes up one-third of annual sales. Next in line are Navistar International, PACCAR (which owns Kenworth and Peterbilt) and Volvo (owner of the Mack brand).
If you require a knowledgeable semi truck mechanic in Duncan, OK to keep your products on the road to their final destinations, contact Heavy Truck & Trailer Parts today.