There are several reasons you might need to know how long a semi-truck and trailer are. From parking accommodations to following state laws, being aware of the overall length of any vehicle left at your disposal is essential. Luckily, we have done our research and have the answer for you!
The average semi-truck in the United States is 72 feet long from the front bumper to the end of the trailer. Furthermore, the truck itself, on average, is 48 feet long to 53 feet long.
Now that we know the range of lengths for both the cabs and the trailers, we'll look at these ranges. You might also be wondering how trailer length is measured or how long a semi-trailer will last. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead!
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Various Lengths Of Semi-Trucks
Earlier in this post, we revealed the average length of a semi-truck in the United States. Some variations do deviate from those averages, however.
Let's take a look at the most common ones you might encounter.
The federal government in the U.S. mandates that single trailers pulled behind a semi be a minimum of 48 feet long. However, this changes a bit whenever you pull two trailers in tandem.
Double Trailer Lengths
If you encounter this situation, you'll notice that the trailers are smaller. These cannot have combined lengths that exceed 65 feet. That would make them no more than 28.5 feet long apiece.
Triple Trailer Lengths
Since 1989, some states have allowed three trailers to be pulled in tandem behind a semi-truck. Proponents claim this is much more efficient and cuts shipping costs by over 20%.
Opponents of triple trailering cite safety concerns on the highways.
There are currently 13 states that allow for this hauling. Additionally, these states set the maximum length of 105 feet, though some come in a bit under that length and have their maximums set at 100 feet.
The states that allow triple trailering are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
How Do You Measure Trailer Length?
Generally, measuring the overall length of any trailer is pretty simple. However, you'll need quite the measuring tape as most of them are 48 feet long.
The measurement is taken from the exterior wall. The measurement continues to the outer wall at the opposite end of the trailer.
As we pointed out earlier in this post, the standard will be 48 feet long in the United States. However, don't be surprised if you encounter any variety that is 53 feet in length.
How Long Is A Freightliner Cascadia?
This popular truck brand comes in two lengths, based on the size of the sleeper you want. The Cascadia comes in lengths of 273 inches and 306 inches.
Moreover, they are 100.7 inches wide and 116.2 inches tall.
What Is The Longest Flatbed Trailer?
Flatbeds come in handy whenever you need to haul larger, cumbersome items. These trailers come in a standard size in the United States, though some variations.
Most flatbeds are 48 feet long. Legally, they cannot be more than 102 inches wide.
There are some varieties of flatbed trailers that are 53 feet long. They have to abide by the same maximum widths, however.
How Long Will A Semi-Trailer Last?
In general, the lifespan of a typical semi-trailer will depend on the type you are referring to. There are two main types, each with different time expectancies.
The typical trailer will last up to 15 years. This time is lessened if it is being pulled behind a truck regularly.
A refrigerated trailer has a much shorter life span. Expect about five years or so out of this type, as they have more wearable equipment.
How Do I Maintain A Semi-Trailer?
Keep in mind that these are average time frames for their lifespan, based on typical usage. Should you not correctly maintain the semi-trailer, you should expect it not to last as long.
Making sure that routine maintenance is being performed on the semi-trailer is equally as important as the maintenance you'd have on any passenger vehicle.
Though there are fewer items on the checklist with semi-trailers, you'll still want to ensure that the manufacturer's recommendations do each thing.
How Many Miles Can A Semi-Truck Last?
You might not be surprised to learn that a semi-truck will last longer than a standard passenger pickup truck. These machines are made to withstand a lot of wear and tear.
For the vital work, engineering them to enjoy many road miles is critical to the delivery of various goods across the nation.
These trucks have engines that are much bigger than their passenger truck counterparts. Their sheer size and designs will enable them to last an average of 750,000 miles to 1,000,000 miles.
That's more than four times the lifetime mileage of the average truck!
Getting any vehicle to a high mileage milestone will, of course, mean treating it right. These powerful trucks will last a long time if you:
Follow Routine Maitanance
The key to getting any engine to rack up the highest mileage is to perform all factory-recommended maintenance.
This must be done in a timely fashion by the manufacturer's maintenance timeline.
Preventative maintenance will go a long way in keeping any semi-truck on the road to the million-mile mark, whether routine oil and fluid changes or in-depth inspections of your belts, suspension, or other vital components.
The owner's manual will be the best guide to what maintenance needs to be performed and at what time/mileage intervals. Use a trusted and reputable local service center for the best results.
Use Quality Parts And Fluids
Don't skimp on these essential items! Even though cheap parts and lower-cost fluids will save you a few dollars in the short term, you could be robbing your bank account of hundreds or thousands of dollars down the road.
Quality parts from reputable companies are best for your truck's needs. Read professional reviews on any fluid or additive to know what to expect.
How you drive your truck certainly affects how long it will last. Avoid mashing on the accelerator or the brakes unless necessary. Keep it clean inside and out.
Treat it like the valuable investment it is, and it will help keep it on the road for a long time.
These big rigs aren't inexpensive. For most owner-operators, the truck is the single most substantial investment they'll ever make in the trucking business.
Protecting the truck inside and out, driving it safely, and keeping up on the maintenance schedule is critical for the business to continue.
To Wrap Up
The average semi-truck and trailer length in the United States is only an indicator of the most common ones you'll encounter on the highways.
There are wide varieties of trucks and trucks suited for different shipping purposes. These trucks are all heavy-duty workhorses, capable of racking up a possible million miles before they need to be replaced. Drive safe!
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