Throughout the pandemic one army of workers kept us supplied with the essential goods we need. These are the many truck drivers who, day after day, cross the continent from north to south and east to west, ensuring goods that are vital are delivered on time. You may not know that trucks carry more cargo in the USA than any other form of cargo transport. We’ll explain why this is later on.
We’re here to talk about the semi-truck, and if there is one vehicle that is as American as it gets, this is it. Indeed, perhaps only Australia – where great distances need to be covered – has a need for these huge, powerful, and iconic vehicles. Truckers are a clan, a group of dedicated people who drive massive distances to ensure our lives are comfortable.
Lately there has been something of a shortage of truck drivers – not just in the USA but also across the world – as while it’s a lifetime ambition for some, it is not the most comfortable of jobs. For the owner-driver there is the need to keep the jobs coming in and also to keep the truck well-maintained and roadworthy. In this article we’ll look at the parts that need regular replacing and the manufacturers of semi-trucks, but first a quick explanation of what we mean by semi-truck.
Definition of a Semi-Truck
Trucking jargon can be difficult for the layman to understand, so here’s a definition of a semi-truck: it’s the cab part – or tractor unit – that contains the engine, transmission and the driver’s compartment. This vehicle can run without a trailer attached. It is, in simple terms, the bit at the front!
Now, you will also hear people refer to ’18-wheelers’; this is what a semi-truck becomes when a trailer is attached. These are the big guys, the heavy hitters, and in terms of vehicle class ae usually class 6 to 8. These vehicles cover massive distances in a year. Let’s say an average family sedan does 10 to 20,000 miles a year; triple that at least for many of the trucks on the road.
It follows, then, that parts will fail, and you can get a good idea of the sheer number of semi-truck parts at shiftproducts.com who are an established supplier. We’ll come back with a list of parts soon, but first let’s check out some of the legendary motor manufacturers that build and sell semi-trucks.
Who Manufactures Semi-Truck?
The trucking legend began in the 1910’s when someone needed a vehicle to carry goods and converted a Ford Model-T into a flatbed truck. Soon, the manufacturers offered factory-built truck options for those needing commercial vehicles, and a new class of road vehicles was born. Who are the biggest semi-truck manufacturers in the USA right now? Here’s a brief list:
1: Freightliner builds and sells more semi-trucks than any other maker and is one of the brands under the Daimler Trucks North America umbrella. They hold a 40% share of the truck market.
2: Kenworth is among the oldest brands in the business and has been building trucks since 1914, with their first product being considered the original of all trucks. The market share is around 14%.
3: Peterbilt is another of the established truck builders and has a market share of 13%. Owned by the same company that own Kenworth, this iconic brand is among the most famous of all.
4: International – formerly International Harvester – has an 11% market share and is known also for its buses and motorhomes.
5: Volvo is the fifth best-selling semi-truck brand in the USA with a 10% share in the US market and is one of the biggest manufacturers of heavy trucks in the world. Volvo also owns and manufactures one of the most legendary of all US track brands, Mack.
What are the Main Parts of a Semi-Truck That Need Replacing?
So now a little more about truck maintenance and which of the parts you will be required to replace regularly. Naturally, these are the components that will take the most wear and tear during a truck’s lifetime, and some will need replacing regularly. Here are the most often replaced consumables on a semi-truck:
- Tires are specially made for trucks and are heavy-duty, but they have a limited lifespan as they are always under stress.
- Clutch parts have a busy job in keeping a truck moving up and down through its many gears.
- Brake components are subject to extreme force regularly and are among the most regularly replaced and serviced parts of a semi-truck.
- Oil and air filters are often overlooked when thinking of consumables but need to be replaced perhaps every year of however many miles the manufacturer recommends.
These are just some of the parts that will need regular attention and there are many more components in the suspension system, for example, as well as the engine and transmission that will eventually fail if not replace in time.
Should I Have My Truck Regularly Serviced?
The short answer is yes. If your truck is to be safe for the road – not just for you but for other road users – regular maintenance is certainly required and a service at least once a year must be carried out. To finish, let’s get back to why trucks remain the main type of transport for consumer goods in the USA.
Why are Trucks Still the Most-Used Goods Transport Vehicle in the USA?
If you order a product you expect delivery on time and the same applies when a store or warehouse needs restocking. Air freight is expensive and requires a truck at either end to get the job done. The same applies to rail, although this can be slightly more direct that air. The only direct, door-to-door delivery option is the truck, and this is why you see semi-trucks every day on the freeways of the USA. Trucks are here to stay for as long as we exist. We hope this article has enlightened you.