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St. Louis Trucking Firm Shares Some Trucking Trivia

It’s a Friday and St. Louis Trucking Company FW Trucking wants to share a little bit of trucking trivia and a few fun and interesting facts about trucks and the trucking industry.

  • Alexander Winton invented the first semi-truck or tractor trailer in 1898. A Scottish immigrant, Winton started his career in Cleveland, Ohio, manufacturing bicycles but later switched to building “horseless carriages” in 1896. He invented the semi-truck in order to transport automobiles his company Winton Motor Carriage Company produced. The Winton Motor Carriage Company sold its first semi-truck in 1899.
  • A tractor trailer has a total of five axles with the tractor having three axles and the trailer having two axles.
  • Tractor trailers are often called eighteen wheelers, because they have typically used a total of 18 wheels. The cargo trailer has dual wheels on each of its two axles and the tractor has dual wheels on its two rear axles and single wheels on its front axle (8 wheels on the trailer + 10 wheels on the tractor = 18 wheels). However, today many trucking fleets and owner operators are replacing dual wheels with wide-base singles with offset axles in order to benefit from the improved fuel economy of single wide base tires. With this change becoming more widespread, will the term ten wheeler ever catch on?
  • The engine in a semi-truck is approximately six times larger than a typical automobile engine.
  • The crankcase of a typical semi engine holds 15 or more gallons of oil, compared to the crankcase of a typical car which holds 4 to 6 quarts of oil.
  • The average semi’s diesel engine produces 400 to 600 horsepower and one to two thousand foot pounds of torque. Automobile gasoline engines on average produce 100 to 200 horsepower and 100 to 200 foot pounds of torque.
  • The transmissions used in semi-trucks typically have 12 or more forward gears. The transmissions used in cars typically have 4-5 forward gears.
  • A semi’s engine is designed to go 1,000,000 miles before it needs to be overhauled or rebuilt.  A car’s engine is designed to last for approximately 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
  • Bobtailing is a term used when a tractor is being driven without an attached semi-trailer. Trucks handle very differently when bobtailing. These differences can make a bobtail truck more difficult to drive and more dangerous in wet or icy weather. Keep this fact in mind when you share the road with St. Louis trucking drivers in bad weather.
  • The fifth wheel on a tractor trailer is the rounded plate at the back of the tractor above the drive wheels that hitches the semi-trailer to the tractor. The trailer’s kingpin interlocks with the tractors fifth wheel to join the two together. The kingpin is located underneath the front end of the trailer and is usually 18 to 48 inches back from the trailer nose.
  • When braking, tractor trailers require 40 percent more time to come to a complete stop compared to typical automobiles.

FW Trucking is a professionally managed, privately held St. Louis trucking company. FW Trucking offers hazardous material transportation, container transportation, regional over-the-road trucking throughout the Midwest, and freight shuttle service. This St. Louis trucking firm’s primary service areas include: St. Louis, Indianapolis and the following seven states: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.

For more information about this well-known and respected St. Louis trucking firm, visit FW Trucking’s About Us and Services web pages.