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What is a Heavy Duty Truck?

Truck at Truck Stop

Even everyday drivers will have heard the term ‘heavy duty truck’ thrown around, but what is a heavy duty truck? Not so many people understand the exact classifications that categorize these vehicles, and it’s something anyone looking for a used truck needs to know. With that in mind, we put together a quick and easy overview covering everything you need to know.

How Are Trucks Categorized?

What is considered a heavy duty truck depends on categories defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and based on gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). This helps limit the maximum weight of a vehicle, including its freight, passengers, and fuel.

Nine classes are officially recognized by the USDOT, and these are further broken down into light-duty trucks, medium-duty, and heavy-duty trucks. If you’re looking for a commercial truck, you’ll be most interested in the latter two, so here’s how they break down:

Medium Duty Trucks

  • Class 4: 14,001 lbs. to 16,000 lbs.
  • Class 5: 16,001 lbs. to 19,500 lbs.
  • Class 6: 19,501 lbs. to 26,000 lbs.

Heavy Duty Trucks

  • Class 7: 26,001 lbs. to 33,000 lbs.
  • Class 8: 33,001 lbs. or Heavier
  • Class 9: Vehicles exceeding 60,000 lbs.

Medium-duty trucks might be used for transporting goods or people across the country. Examples include box trucks and school buses. Heavy-duty trucks are usually more for long-haul transportation. Examples include transit buses and cement mixers.

Why Do Vehicle Classes Matter?

Wondering why it makes sense to ask, ‘what is considered a heavy duty truck?’ Understanding those classes is vital for compliance, safety and upkeep needs. Maintenance requirements and laws that may vary according to vehicle class include:

  • License Levels
  • Hours-of-Service (HOS) Laws
  • Weigh Station Guidelines
  • Permit Requirements
  • DOT Number Regulations
  • Maintenance Needs

By asking ‘what is a heavy duty truck?’, you’ll also help ensure you don’t get more or less truck than you really need.

Find the Right Heavy Duty Truck at International Used Truck Centers

Truck drivers who need to find out more about anything from what divides a heavy-duty truck from a medium-duty truck to which heavy or medium truck might best suit their needs can always turn to our team for help. For any further advice or assistance, feel free to contact us today.

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International Used Truck Centers 41.776180, -88.200918.