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Considering Semi Truck Axle Type And Engine Size

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If you have recently received your commercial driver's license and you want to become an owner-operator truck driver, then you will need to invest in your own semi truck. Used trucks can save you a great deal of money, but you will need to look closely at the various features that are available on the trucks you are considering. Some of the very basic attributes of the truck will be extremely important when it comes to hauling loads. If you want to know what you should look for, then keep reading.

Axle Configuration

Semi trucks have a wide variety of axle configurations, and the different configurations can make a huge difference in the way the truck performs. Both spread and tandem axles are available. Tandem axles are axle pairs that sit close to one another along the rear of the trailer. Spread axles do not sit together in pairs. You will instead see two or more axles that are spread several feet apart from another underneath the trailer. Both tandem and spread axle trailers are common, and each axle configuration has its own pros and cons. The main pro of choosing a spread axle semi truck is that it can hold more weight. Each part of the axle can carry 20,000 pounds. This means that the spread axle can carry a total of 40,000 pounds. A tandem axle can only hold about 34,000 pounds. The spread axle trailer may be beneficial if you want to haul heavy loads. 

While the increase in load weight may be advantageous, you should understand that a tandem axle truck will be more stable. This can benefit you greatly as a new driver who may not be accustomed to a variety of different driving conditions. A tandem axle will reduce the amount the trailer can sway as you turn. Also, the axle will help to keep the tires secured on the road. This can prevent them from scuffing against the asphalt. Tires that are scuffed can rupture. Blown tires and a swaying trailer can cause tipping concerns. 

If you do opt for a tandem axle trailer, keep in mind that you will need to secure loads carefully in the back of the trailer. Weight will need to be centered over the drive axle at the front of the trailer and the tandem axle along the back. 

Engine Size

Semi truck engine sizes can vary greatly. While it may seem like a good idea to purchase a truck with the largest engine possible, this is not always the best choice. Larger engines mean that more fuel will need to be burned to create larger amounts of torque. This will give you more power and the ability to carry heavier loads. However, your fuel costs will be high. Also, a truck with a larger engine will cost you more when you purchase it, and the engine itself will be heavier. A heavier engine may mean that loads will need to be lighter, especially since you will need to follow federal regulations when it comes to the weight of your truck. 

If you look at semi trucks, you will likely see models available with 11, 13, and 15 liter engines. Most engines will be either 13 or 15 liter varieties. You should consider picking a truck with a 13 liter engine. In most cases, the engine will produce more than enough horsepower and torque to carry heavy trailer loads. The engine may struggle a bit if you need to drive up steep hills. Make sure to map out routes that avoid these types of hills or reduce speed substantially if you need to navigate steep terrain.

If you need to purchase your own semi truck, then a used variety will help to keep your owner operator costs manageable. When you look for the right used truck, just make sure to consider axle configuration and engine size carefully. For more information, contact a local dealer like Arrow Truck Sales