18-Wheelers Vs. Cars – Nothing But The Truth

There are an infinite number of vehicles on the road today consisting of numerous sizes, shapes, makes, models, etc. And yet all are expected to get along in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

What makes semis and your average passenger car so different? Why do certain rules apply to trucks that don’t apply to cars? Let’s take a look at some facts and figures surrounding transport semi-trucks/trailers versus cars.

First of All – Some Comparisons

When compared to the weight and size of a car engine, engines for semis are six times larger. And whereas, your average car engine has up to 200 feet per pound of torque and 200 hp, an average semi engine can have up to 2000 feet per pound of torque and 600 hp.

Car engines (on the average) can commonly hang in there for up to 200,000 miles. But semi engines are made with a far different design in mind. Before a rebuild or an overhaul, it is not uncommon to see one million miles on a semi engine! In addition, they (semi engines) are specifically designed to run constantly. Anti-idle laws, engine servicing, and oil changes are some of the very few reasons for which to actually shut off a semi engine.

Gears, Fluid, And Systems

When it comes to gears, your average car might have up to five; but 12 gears or more are commonly found in semi engines. How much oil do these vehicles use? Up to six quarts of oil can be used in many of today’s cars, but at least 15 gallons (or more) are acquired for an average semi engine.

Different from your commonly driven car, air braking systems and turbochargers are relatively standard equipment/systems for today’s semi-truck engines.

Some Basic Questions Answered

What is the legal weight of a semi? This differs by area/country, but in the United States (for instance), without any overweight or oversize permits, 40 tons or 80,000 pounds per semi is not uncommon. Ordinarily, however, 5000 pounds is an average weight for an automobile.

When it comes to dimensions, how do semi-trucks and cars differ? The average length of a standard car is approximately 16.4 feet. Again, this is very generally speaking. From the front of the tractor to the end of the trailer, a length of 80 feet is not uncommon when it comes to semis. Their standard height is approximately 3’6″, and the wheelbase usually measures up to 265 inches across.

How does that translate into stopping time? Obviously, it’s going to take something big and heavy a lot more time and distance to stop. Without any special conditions considered (i.e., weather/road conditions, load weight, etc.), the stopping distance required for a large semi can be 40 times more than that needed for your average passenger car.

And here’s a fun fact: When a semi-truck is operating with no trailer attached to it, it is referred to as “bobtailing”.

Mickey Genuine Parts sells not only parts and accessories, we also carry used trailers and an occasional semi-truck. Why pay full price for new when Mickey sells dependable and fully inspected used trailers that carry the Mickey guarantee. We stand behind everything we sell. If it doesn’t pass our inspection, we won’t stock it or sell it to our valued customers. When you purchase from Mickey, you know that you are receiving not only stellar products but exceptional service and representation.

Let’s keep truckin'.

Get the latest news and product announcements with our informative bi-monthly newsletter.