Semi-trucks vary in weight based on several factors, including the type of truck and trailer and whether the truck is laden or unladen.
What Do Semi-Trucks Carry?
Semi-trucks haul a wide variety of cargo. Some semi-trucks carry heavy equipment or machinery, such as forklifts, loaders, or compactors. Some semi-trucks can carry up to a dozen cars at a time, transporting them to dealerships. Many semi-trucks haul food such as fresh or frozen produce, dairy products, meat, or packaged goods.
In addition to these items, semi-trucks are also responsible for transporting hazardous materials. This can include flammable liquids and solids, gasses, radioactive materials, and corrosive materials. Some semi-trucks transport infectious substances and biohazard waste.
How To Calculate Semi-Truck Weights?
When calculating semi-truck weights, one must first determine which weight they need. The gross vehicle weight (GVW) refers to the total combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, cargo in the cab, and fuel.
The gross combination weight (GCW) includes everything that the GVW refers to and the trailer and any cargo in it.
Lastly, the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight the vehicle can operate at; it includes everything specified in the GVW. The manufacturer of the vehicle determines the GVWR.
Classification of Semi-Trucks
There are several different types of semi-trucks available. They differ in size, purpose, temperature control, and loading ability.
Double Drop Trailer
Shipping oversized equipment is best done on a double drop trailer, consisting of three parts. The upper and lower decks measure 8 – 10 feet long by 102 inches wide. The center well is 26 – 30 feet long by 102 inches. The height of a double drop trailer is 18 – 24 inches.
Dry Van Trailer
As the name suggests, these trailers are used to haul dry products. They measure 48 – 53 feet long, 102 inches wide, and 13.5 feet inches high.
Products and equipment that are difficult to load and unload in an enclosed trailer are well suited for transport on a flatbed trailer. These trailers are 48 – 53 feet long, 102 inches wide, and 5 feet high.
When products need keeping at a certain temperature, reefer trailers can be used. These trailers can keep items cold and prevent freezing if necessary. They measure 48 – 53 feet long, 102 inches wide, and 13.5 feet inches high.
Equipment too large for a flatbed trailer can be shipped on a step-deck trailer. These trailers consist of two parts: the upper deck and the lower deck. The upper deck measures 10 – 11 feet long, 102 inches wide, and 5 feet high. The lower deck is 37 – 43 feet long, 102 inches wide, and 42 inches high.
These shorter trailers can deliver smaller loads to facilities where a large trailer will not fit. They measure 28 feet long, 102 inches wide, and 13.5 feet inches high.
How Much Does A Semi-Truck Weigh?
Semi-trucks usually weigh between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds. This does not include the trailer’s weight or any cargo the trailer is hauling.
The Peterbilt 579 weighs 12,000 to 14,600 pounds, while the Freightliner M2 112 is up to 22,000 pounds. The Tesla Semi is estimated to weigh 17,400 pounds.
Laden Vs. Unladen Weight
Unladen weight refers to the combined weight of the truck and empty trailer. Laden weight is the truck’s total weight and a fully loaded trailer.
|Type of Trailer||Unladen Weight (lbs)||Laden Weight (lbs)|
|Dry Van Trailer||10,000||55,000|
|Step Deck Trailer||12,000||57,000|
Weights of Semi-Truck Parts
Semi-truck tires vary in weight, starting at around 100 pounds. Heavy-duty semi-truck tires can weigh as much as 250 pounds each. Tire chains weigh 65 – 100 pounds. Trucks with larger tires will require larger and heavier chains. Semi-truck brake drums can weigh 70 – 120 pounds.
The weight of a truck’s batteries will depend on how many batteries it has and what type of truck it is. Batteries range from 40 – 180 pounds, however, electric truck batteries can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Semi-truck engines usually weigh 1,800 – 4,000 pounds.
Semi-Truck Weight Limits By State
The maximum weight that a semi-truck can legally carry varies from state to state. The weight limit also depends on whether the truck is a single, double, or tridem axle.
|State||Single Axle (lbs)||Double Axle (lbs)||Tridem Axle (lbs)|
|District of Columbia||21,000||37,000||Undefined|
How Does Weight Affect Stopping Distance?
Stopping distance is the distance it takes a semi-truck to come to a complete stop after braking. A fully loaded semi-truck going 60 miles an hour can travel over 500 feet after recognizing the need to stop.
Weight limits are in place to protect drivers and pedestrians, as the heavier the truck, the longer it takes to stop. Some of the most common types of truck accidents include rollovers, head-on collisions, jackknife accidents, and rear-end collisions.
How much does an empty semi-truck weigh?
An empty semi-truck with an empty trailer weighs 15,000 – 40,000 pounds.
How much does a semi-truck cab weigh?
A semi-truck cab weighs 10,000 – 25,000 pounds.
How much does an 18-wheeler truck weigh?
An unladen 18-wheeler truck weighs about 25,000 pounds.
How much weight are semi-trucks able to haul?
Semi-trucks can haul 10,000 – 60,000 pounds, depending on the number of axles and the state they are in.
How many semi-trucks are in the United States?
There are approximately 2 million semi-trucks in the US.