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Toll Free: 800-832-7278
Local Phone: 410-685-4474
2723 Annapolis Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21230


Understanding Different Truck Classifications

You have most likely heard the terms “medium-duty” and “heavy-duty” trucks. But what exactly do these terms mean?

You have most likely heard the terms “medium-duty” and “heavy-duty” trucks. But what exactly do these terms mean? Truck classifications are usually based on the maximum loaded weight of the truck, typically using the gross vehicle weight rating and sometimes the gross trailer weight rating. These ratings can vary among local or regional regulations. While some may think of equipment like tractor-trailers, flatbeds, and refrigerated units, there is a wide range of vehicle types in these categories. Let’s go over the different truck classifications.

How are Trucks Classified?

The U.S. Department of Transportation classifies trucks based on gross vehicle weight ratings, which is a safety standard used to prevent overloading the trucks. This standard is designed to limit a vehicle’s maximum weight, including passengers, freight, and fuel. The maximum acceptable weight of the vehicle is determined based on elements like axle strength, brake efficiency, tire capability, and the vehicle’s durability. Exceeding a truck’s maximum weight can cause safety issues like brake failure, tire strain, ineffective suspension, and other problems, so all drivers need to understand the limits.

Medium Duty Trucks

The term “medium duty” is a widely used truck classification by those in the trucking industry. Trucks and other larger vehicles are classified based on their gross weight. Medium duty trucks refer to truck Classes 6 and 7, which have a gross weight rating between 19,501- 33,000 lbs. Medium duty trucks are used in many applications. For example, pickup and delivery trucks, small utility bodies, service bodies, small dumps, and lighter garbage trucks can all be classified as medium duty.  Medium duty and traditional commercial trucks also have a lower fuel economy than heavier trucks, making them ideal for lighter loads. 

Heavy Duty Trucks

Heavy-duty truck classification refers to Classes 7 and 8. This is where you will start to find big rigs and other commercial vehicles. The gross weight ratings for class 7 and 8 trucks begin at 26,001 pounds and go over 33,001 pounds. Examples include city transit buses, mobile cranes, cement mixers, garbage trucks, tractors designed to pull heavy loads, and other equipment. The maximum weight for Class 8 trucks is determined on a case by case basis.

In some cases, bigger, heavier loads can travel along the highways safely. For example, a bigger 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Understanding the different truck classifications is essential to ensure drivers and carriers are safe on the road.

Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star for all Your Trucking Needs!

Whether you are looking to upgrade your fleet to tow trucks or simply interested in the latest trucking technology, you can rely on Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star. We have provided top-notch service for the trucking industry for 30 years and would love to assist you in buying a new top-of-the-line truck, finding the specialty parts you need, or repairing your truck. Give us a call toll-free at 800-832-7278 or locally at 410-685-4474, or contact us online. To find out more about what we are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star is an award-winning, authorized dealer for new and used medium-duty and heavy-duty Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Sprinter Vans. We also provide expert service repair for Detroit Diesel, Cummins, Caterpillar, and Mercedes-Benz engines.
2723 Annapolis Rd