The Difference Between a Truck and a Tractor | Premier MFG

trucking basics

When you see a big rig on the road, you may wonder what exactly you’re looking at. To an average driver, they generally all look the same. So, why do truck drivers and mechanics sometimes say tractor instead of 18-wheeler or truck, and what’s the difference?

While there seems to be little difference between them, the truth is they all have specific meanings and purposes that matter more than most people think. For instance, a truck can be simply defined as:

A vehicle or device that is designed to transport, carry or pull heavy loads.

trucks on the highway

Easy examples of these vehicles include a pickup, garbage truck, or anything that can haul higher-weight materials. The same definition is also why some people call a moving dollie a truck– it just means that it is designed to carry a heavy load.

A tractor, on the other hand (and we’re talking about those in the trucking industry, not on a farm), can be defined as:

A type of truck that is designed to pull a trailer.

semi pulling trailer

Tractors are more powerful than your average truck, as they have to be able to pull a much heavier weight than what’s possible for regular cargo-carrying vehicles. For truckers and the teams that support them, this usually means pulling semi-trailers, which can’t move on their own, and often require pivots and coupling bolts. You will hear other terms for a tractor, such as a big rig or 18-wheeler. In the trucking world, these all mean the same thing.

As you can see, the differences are slight but distinct and really matter for those in the industry. As you discover more about the world of trucking through our blog, you can feel confident in talking about trucks and tractors and build on that knowledge!

Premier coupling

The trucking industry is a vital part of the American economy, and Premier Manufacturing has created numerous innovative equipment and components for today’s drivers and those that support them. From designs that fight corrosion (Extended Life) to those that actually harden with use (Premalloy), our line of couplings and pintle hitches can handle your heaviest loads. 

Premier Manufacturing is a private, American-owned company with roots going back almost a century. Independent Fleet testing proved to be successful with eight of our top ten LTL carriers, specifying our equipment to handle their trucking needs while moving goods across our great nation.

Contact Premier Manufacturing today and discover how we can help you and your team make the switch to today’s best in trucking.

Premier - MFG

Premier – MFG

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