Wed. Sep 30th, 2020
Trucking Terms Made Easy

Trucking Terms Made Easy

Most drivers on the road drive cars. The next most popular vehicle on the road is the truck. If it’s a pickup truck or a big rig, trucks seem to have their own terminology that can be confusing to car-drivers. What do those terms mean? Are trucks really that different from cars? Here’s a quick guide to some truck terminology to help tuck away the confusion.

Truck Parts

Trucks are built differently so they can haul heavy loads, where cars usually just haul people. Here are some parts you might have heard of but were unsure of what they were.

  • Air Brakes – When you step on the brakes in your car, the brake shoe presses down on the brake pad and creates friction and slows down your wheels. Since trucks are much bigger, they need extra help, so they use compressed air to help create friction.
  • Fuel Injection – Some cars deliver fuel to the engine’s combustion chamber via a carburetor, and some use fuel injection, which squirts the fuel directly into the cylinder.
  • Roof Faring – This is the plastic or metal piece of the roof that swoops up from the top of the cab to make the truck more aerodynamic.

Trucker Slang

Another different thing, besides the anatomy of the truck, is the verbiage and nomenclature surrounding trucks. If one trucker said to another, “Oi, there goes Brad. That crackerhead has a black eye and will be lucky if the bears don’t get him,” would you know what he meant? A crackerhead is an idiot or a moron, a black eye refers to a broken headlight, and a bear is a State Trooper. Other common terms are:

  • Pay the Water Bill – A Bathroom break, or needing to take one.
  • Shutter Trouble – Having trouble staying awake while driving.
  • Pigtail – The electrical connection between a truck and the trailer it is pulling.

Trucker Abbreviations

There are some other useful terms that non-truck drivers probably aren’t familiar with, as in some of the abbreviations. For example, PTI stands for Pre-Trip Inspection, and RTV means Return to Vendor. You might have heard the term CDL before, which stands for Commercial Driver’s License, but what about LO/LO cargo? LO/LO cargo is cargo that must be lifted on and lifted off the trailer with a crane because it is so heavy.

Hopefully, this has helped demystify some of the terminologies around trucks and the unusual terms and slang that their drivers use. The next time you encounter a trucker in a truck stop, tell him or her to “Stack them eights,” which means, “So long and good luck!”