Heavy duty truck

This article is about commercial truck classifications. For passenger car and pickup classifications, see Car classifications.

Truck classifications are typically based upon the maximum loaded weight of the truck (typically using the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and sometimes also the gross trailer weight rating (GTWR)), and can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


Vehicle classifications vary among provinces in Canada, due to "differences in size and weight regulations, economic activity, physical environment, and other issues".[1]:3 While several provinces use their own classification schemes for traffic monitoring, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan have adopted the 13-class system from the United States' Federal Highway Administration—sometimes with modifications, or in Ontario's case, for limited purposes.[1]:3–4[dated info] British Columbia and Ontario also distinguish between short- and long-combination trucks.[1]:3–4[dated info] In accident reporting, eight jurisdictions subdivide trucks by GVWR into light and heavy classes at approximately 4500 kg 9921 lb).[1]:6

European Union

Class B (car) licences can be used to drive vehicles with GVWRs of not more than 3500 kg (7700 lb) and a trailer with GTWRs not exceeding 750 kg (1650 lb), while holders of class BE licences can tow trailers with GTWR greater than 750 kg. Such vehicles are also commonly known as light commercial vehicles (LCVs), and include the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Fiat Ducato.

Thus, LCV licence holders can drive any truck that, would have been classified in the United States as class 1, and class 2 trucks with GVWR not more than 3500 kg. EU licence holders must have a class C1 (light truck) licence to drive trucks that, in the US, are in class 1, 2, 3 or 4, with trailers with GTWR of no more than 750 kg (class C1E licences to tow trailers with GVWR greater than 750 kg). EU class C1 and C1E licence holders can also drive class 5 trucks with GVWR not exceeding 7500 kg (16500 lb), while trucks with GVWR of more than 7500 kg GVWR (except class C1E licence holders eligible to drive a combination of a C1 truck and trailer with weighing not more than 12000 kg (26400 lb) can only be driven by holders of large goods vehicle (LGV) licences. Holders of class C licences can drive trucks that, in the US, are classified in any of classes 1–8, but are restricted to towing trailers with GTWR at or less than 750 kg. LGV licence holders with CE licences can also pull trailers with GTWR greater than 750 kg. Examples of LGVs are the Scania P-series, Volvo FH and DAF 95XF.

United States

In the United States, commercial truck classification is determined based on the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The classes range from 1–8.[2][3] Trucks are also classified more broadly by the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which groups classes 1–3 as light duty, 4–6 as medium duty, and 7–8 as heavy duty.[2][4][5][6] The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a separate system of emissions classifications for trucks.[2][7] The United States Census Bureau also assigned classifications in its now-discontinued Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS) (formerly Truck Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS)).[8]

Light duty

Class 1

The Class 1 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 0–6000 lb (0–2722 kg).[2] Examples of trucks in this class include the Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Dakota and GMC Canyon.[9][10]

Class 2

The Class 2 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 6001–10000 lb (2722–4536 kg).[2] Examples of vehicles in this class include the Dodge Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150. Class 2 is subdivided into Class 2a and Class 2b, with class 2a being 6001–8500 lb (2722–3856 kg), and class 2b being 8501–10000 lb (3856–4536 kg). Class 2a is commonly referred to as a light duty truck, with class 2b being the lowest heavy-duty class, also called the light heavy-duty class.[10][11][12]

Class 3

The Class 3 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 10001–14000 lb (4536–6350 kg).[2][13] Examples of vehicles in this class include the Dodge Ram 3500, Ford F-350, and the GMC Sierra 3500 only dual rear wheel.[10] The Hummer H1 is another example of a single rear wheel Class 3 truck, with a GVWR of 10300 lb (4672 kg).

Medium duty

Class 4

The Class 4 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 14001–16000 lb (6531–7257 kg).[2][13] Examples of vehicles in this class include select Ford F-450 trucks, Dodge Ram 4500, and the GMC 4500.[10]

Class 5

The Class 5 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 16001–19500 lb (7258–8845 kg).[2][13] Examples of trucks in this class include the International TerraStar, GMC 5500.[14] Dodge Ram 5500, and the Ford F-550

Class 6

The Class 6 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ranges from 19501–26000 lb (8846–11793 kg).[2] Examples of trucks in this class include the International Durastar, GMC Topkick C6500.[15] and the Ford F-650

Heavy duty

Class 7

Vehicles in Class 7 and above require a Class B license to operate in the United States. These include GMC C7500.[16] Their GVWR ranges from 26001–33000 lb (11794–14969 kg).[2]

Class 8

The Class 8 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is anything above 33000 lb (14969 kg).[2][17] These include most tractor trailer trucks.

Ton rating

When light-duty trucks were first produced in the United States, they were rated by their payload capacity in tons (e.g., 12-, 34- and 1-ton). Over time, payload capacities for most domestic pickup trucks have increased while the ton titles have stayed the same. The now-imprecise ton rating is presently used to compare standard sizes, rather than actual capacities.

This has led to categorizing trucks similarly, even if their payload is different. Therefore, the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10, and GMC S-15 are called quarter-tons (14-ton). The Ford F-150, Chevrolet 10, Chevrolet/GMC 1500, and Dodge 1500 are half-tons (12-ton). The Ford F-250, Chevrolet 20, Chevrolet/GMC 2500, and Dodge 2500 are three-quarter-tons (34-ton). Chevrolet/GMC's 34-ton suspension systems were further divided into light and heavy-duty, differentiated by 5-lug and 6 or 8-lug wheel hubs depending on year, respectively. The Ford F-350, Chevrolet 30, Chevrolet/GMC 3500, and Dodge 3500 are one tons (1-ton).

Similar schemes exist for vans and SUVs (e.g. a 1-ton Dodge Van or a 12-ton GMC Suburban), medium duty trucks (e.g. the Ford 1 12-ton F-450) and some military vehicles, like the ubiquitous deuce-and-a-half.

See also

Trucks portal