A city tractor is the name given to semi type-trucks used within the city limits to haul goods from one location to another, such as in deliveries. The basic city tractor is not much different from the units used for long-haul type missions, however, there are some aspects of the two that are very different. Axle styles and steering boxes are two of the most noticeable components in the drive train of the trucks that differ from each other. The cab type and style is perhaps the most obvious detail that easily distinguishes the city tractor from the typical long-haul version.
In order to negotiate tight city corners and turns, the city tractor uses a single rear axle. This axle allows the truck to turn very sharp without binding the rear suspension. The steering box of the city tractor is also designed to negotiate these tight turns by commonly turning the front wheels much faster and tighter than a long-haul tractor. Not seen by the naked eye or to the casual observer, the transmission in the city truck is often geared much lower to allow faster starts from red lights and to allow the driver to maintain proper flow with the speed of other vehicle traffic in the city.
The long-haul trucker is often away from home for extended stays, so the long-haul truck or road tractor requires a built-in bed, or sleeper unit, as they are officially called. The city tractor driver is usually home every day or night, so this truck does not require a sleeper unit. By eliminating the sleeper, the city tractor is much shorter than the long-haul version, which allows the truck to be built on a shorter chassis. The shorter chassis is also responsible for the short turning radius of this truck.
Another difference in the city tractor can be found in the type of transmission that is installed in the truck. As the city truck is often making several stops on a single route, many city drivers prefer an automatic transmission over the typical manual gearbox. By including an automatic transmission in the truck, the clutch is not prematurely worn out and the driver's clutch leg is not subject to as much abuse as a similarly-equipped manual gearbox-type tractor. Fuel tanks on the city tractor are also commonly smaller than those found on a road tractor due to the city trucks' lack of driving miles or kilometers per day and close proximity to fuel stations.