Tractor unit is a heavy-duty vehicle used to tow trailers or semi-trailers. The trailers can simply be swapped between tractor units for haulage of goods. The tractor unit usually couples to the trailer with the help of a special locking system – a fifth wheel hitch. Moreover, tractor units are widely used in shipping industry for transportation of modular shipping containers.
Configurations of tractor units
There are 2 types of cabin configurations used in tractor units:
- The conventional one is with an engine and hood over the front axle. It is popular in North America.
- The cab over engine has a flat nose with the driver in front of the front axle. It is used in the EU as it is more maneuverable.
A tractor unit can have lots of axles. The number is based on axle load legislation. Any country has restrictions of the weight distributed to each axle. More common variants in Europe are 4x2 and 6x2.
Most of the tractor units are powered by diesel engines with large displacements providing enough power for haulage of loads.
It is considered to be multi-ratio as it has up to 18 gears for maximum flexibility. There are manual, automatic or automated manual transmissions in tractor units.
Some tractor trucks are also equipped with compartments for sleeping for those who travel overnight for loads.
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