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Why Is It Called A Semi Truck?

Man by semi truck


There are two main parts to a semi truck: a semi-trailer for carrying the cargo, and a semi-tractor to provide the power. So, why is it called a semi truck? Mostly because “semi truck” is shorter and easier to say than “semi-trailer truck” or “semi-tractor-trailer”. The terms “semi-trailer” and “semi-tractor” refer to the separate trailer and tractor components, and call attention to the fact that when you buy a semi truck, you get to customize with a unique tractor-trailer pairing. Learn more about why it’s called a semi truck with the team at International Used Truck Centers, below.

What Does Semi Truck Mean?

Why are some trucks called semis, while others are known as 18-wheelers? Semi trucks have many different names, which can make the semi landscape very confusing. Not all semi-tractor-trailers have 18 wheels, but those that do are also known as 18-wheelers.

Still, why is it called a semi truck — and what really differentiates semis from other trucks? A semi truck’s defining characteristic is that the tractor unit can detach from the trailer unit. That gives semi trucks a unique advantage over a rigid truck and trailer — whether you’re contracting a variety of job types or running a trucking company.

Types of Semi Trailers

Now that you know why trucks are called semis, let’s look at the trailer. Semi-trailers come in dozens of shapes, sizes and functions to fit specific applications. For example, heavy and irregularly-shaped goods may fit best on a flatbed semi-trailer. Or, you might choose a lowboy trailer to accommodate loads as high as 12 feet. You can also find semi-trailers mounted with the equipment you need for any type of job. From small-good deliveries to commercial construction, there are dozens of semi-trailer sizes and types to choose from:

  • Flatbed Trailer
  • Lowboy Trailer
  • Reefer Trailer
  • Conestoga Trailer
  • Step Deck Trailer
  • Dry Van Trailer
  • Extendable Double Drop Trailer
  • Stretch Double Drop Trailer
  • Stretch Single Drop Deck Trailer
  • Removable Gooseneck Trailer (RNG)
  • Stretch Removable Gooseneck Trailer (RNG)
  • Multi-Car Trailer
  • And more!

Find a High-Quality Used Semi-Truck in

Looking for more info as you choose a semi truck to tackle your jobs? The experienced steam at International Used Truck Centers is happy to help you compare and find the right high-quality used truck at a great price. Browse our extensive inventory of certified pre-owned and used Kenworth, Peterbilt, and International trucks today!

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International Used Truck Centers 41.776180, -88.200918.