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What Is a Single Axle Truck?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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A single axle truck is a type of large truck that uses only one drive axle in the rear. This type of truck is commonly used as a city delivery truck, while the tandem axle truck, which uses two drive axles, is commonly used for long-haul trucking. Other versions are found in use as straight trucks, tow trucks, and dump trucks. The use of a single drive axle is made possible by reducing the amount of weight that the truck hauls. By eliminating one of the drive axles, the truck is shorter, thereby allowing a longer trailer to be hauled, and the truck is able to turn much tighter, which is a requirement when navigating city streets.

Some of the reasons that trucking companies use a single axle truck include expenses, maintenance savings and reduced tolls. These trucks typically cost less than those equipped with two or more axles. This creates an immediate cost reduction when purchasing a new truck. Maintenance expenses are also cut by eliminating four tires and wheels from the rear of the truck. Over the course of a year, this can lead to a substantial savings as compared to other trucks using more tires and wheels.

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Many toll roads base the amount of the toll on the number of axles that the vehicle is equipped with as it passes through the toll booth. When calculated over the course of a year, a large fleet can save thousands of dollars by using a single axle instead of a tandem axle truck. The number of axles a truck is required to operate with is based on the total loaded weight of the truck and trailer or cargo box. Weight restrictions mandate that there be an axle for every certain amount of weight carried by the truck. City trucks are not required to haul loads equal to those of over-the-road trucks, so a single axle truck is sufficient for most city deliveries.

There are also many single axle vehicles working as long-haul semi trucks. These trucks typically haul lightweight loads, such as flowers or foam products. There are also many delivery-based trucking companies that operate with a single axle. Many of these vehicles do not use a sleeper cab, as they are more locally-based or the drivers travel from truck terminal to terminal. Other common uses for the design are fire trucks, tow trucks, and yard spotter trucks.

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