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What is a Light Truck?

A mid-sized pickup truck.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A light truck is a vehicle classified as a truck or similar to a truck with a payload capacity of under 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg). Also referred to as light-duty trucks, they are in the same fuel economy class as vans, minivans, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). As opposed to a heavy-duty truck, this style is sometimes built on a unibody frame rather than being built on a body-on-frame chassis and therefore does not have the same towing capacity. Though this classification includes vans and SUVs, a light truck is typically a small to mid-sized pickup truck.

This type of truck typically has a smaller engine and smaller wheel base than a full-size or heavy-duty truck. Gas mileage is often better as well. Both the light and the heavy-duty truck are considered utilitarian vehicles for insurance classifications. Many companies and businesses purchase light trucks for their company fleets because they are less expensive and achieve better gas mileage than full-size models. For the same reasons, many individuals choose them for personal use.

It is important to remember that though the light truck is a utilitarian vehicle, it is not built to withstand the same utilization as a heavy-duty model. Many people abuse their trucks by overloading them either with excessive cargo or towing weight. Exceeding the payload or towing capacity of a vehicle can damage its frame and its engine.

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If you are considering buying a light truck for personal use, determine how you intend to use your truck first. It is appropriate for transportation, hauling small loads, and towing small trailers. However, if you plan to haul heavy loads or want to tow heavy-weight items, such as a boat or camper, you should carefully research your purchase. Overloading a vehicle can greatly reduce its usage and life span.

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