The 18 Wheeler – A Comprehensive Guide to Big Rigs

Whether you’re a professional driver with decades of experience, or wouldn’t know a Peterbilt from a Packard, there’s no denying that the 18 wheeler is an impressive machine.

They come in all shapes and sizes, and haul everything from fresh produce and steel, to cars, cattle, and gasoline.

For those who’ve never eased a heavy Freightliner down a mountain pass or backed a Kenworth under a loaded trailer, we’ll cover the basics first.

Now most semi trucks have devices on their engines that limit speed. For fleets they’re typically set between 62 and 68 miles per hour for safety and economy.

18 Wheeler Truck Facts

Unlike car engines that rarely hit the 200,000 mile mark, it’s common for over-the-road diesels to last 1 million miles or more.

Semi Truck Engines

Owner-operators and heavy haulers typically spec their rides with bigger transmissions like 13 and 18 speeds.

Truck Transmissions, and How to Use them like a Pro

Fifth Wheels

18 Wheeler Equipment

Fifth wheels are the large u-shaped slabs of steel bolted to the tractor’s frame behind the cab.

Their jobs are to improve aerodynamics and increase fuel efficiency thereby decreasing the vehicle’s operating costs.

Fairings and Skirts

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