AskDefine | Define lorries

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of lorry

Extensive Definition

A truck is a vehicle for carrying goods and materials. The word "truck" possibly derives ultimately from the Greek "trochos", meaning "wheel." In North America, the big wheels of wagons were called trucks. When the gasoline-engine driven trucks came into fashion, these were called "motor trucks." Lorry is a term from the United Kingdom and Ireland, but is only used for the medium and heavy types (see below), i.e. a van, a pickup or a Jeep would never be regarded as a "lorry." Other languages have loanwords based on these terms, such as the Malay language and the Spanish language in northern Mexico.
In Australia and New Zealand a small vehicle with an open back is called a ute (short for "utility vehicle") or a pick-up and the word "truck" is reserved for larger vehicles.
In the United States a commercial driver's license is required to drive any type of vehicle weighing more than 26,001 lb.


Trucks can use all sorts of engines. Small trucks such as SUVs or pickups, and even light medium-duty trucks in North America and Russia will use gasoline engines. Most heavier trucks use four stroke turbo intercooler diesel engines, although there are alternatives. Huge off-highway trucks use locomotive-type engines such as a V12 Detroit Diesel two stroke engine.
North American manufactured highway trucks almost always use an engine built by a third party, such as CAT, Cummins, or Detroit Diesel. The only exceptions to this are Volvo and its subsidiary Mack Trucks, which are available with own engines. Freightliner, Sterling Trucks and Western Star, subsidaries of DaimlerChrysler, are available with Mercedes-Benz and Detroit Diesel engines. Trucks and buses built by the Navistar International can also contain International engines. The Swedish truckmaker Scania claims they stay away from the U.S.-market because of this third party tradition.
In the European union all truck engines must comply with Euro 4 regulations, the regulations will become more severe in 2008 with the introduction of Euro 5.


Small trucks use the same type of transmissions as almost all cars which have either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission with synchronisers. Bigger trucks often use manual transmissions without synchronisers which have less bulk and weight although synchromesh transmissions are used in larger trucks as well. Transmissions without synchronisers known as "crash boxes" require double clutching for each shift, (which can lead to repetitive motion injuries), or a technique known colloquially as "floating," a method of changing gears which doesn't use the clutch, except for starts and stops, due to the physical effort of double clutching especially with non power assisted clutches, faster shifts, and less clutch wear. Double clutching allows the driver to control the engine and transmission revolutions to synchronize, so that a smooth shift can be made e.g. when upshifting, accelerator pedal is released and the clutch pedal is depressed while the gear lever is moved in to neutral, clutch pedal is then released and quickly pushed down again while the gear lever is moved to the next highest gear. Finally, the clutch pedal is released and accelerator pedal pushed down to obtain required engine rpms. Although this is a relatively fast movement perhaps a second or so while transmission is in neutral it allows the engine speed to drop and synchronize engine and transmission revolutions relative to the road speed. Downshifting is performed in a similar fashion except the engine speed is now required to increase (while transmission is in neutral) just a right amount in order to achieve the synchronisation for the smooth non-crunching gearchange. The so called skip changing is also widely used, in principle operation is the same but it requires neutral be held slightly longer than single gearchange. Common North American setups include 9, 10, 13, 15, and 18 speeds. Automatic and semi-automatic transmissions for heavy trucks are becoming more and more common, due to advances both in transmission and engine power. In Europe 8, 10 and 12 gears are common on larger trucks with manual transmission, while automatic or semiautomatic transmission would have anything from 5 to 12 gears. Almost all heavy trucks transmissions are of a "range (double H shift pattern ) and split" type where range change and so called half gears or splits are air operated and always preselected before the main gears selection.
In Europe more new trucks are being bought with automatic or semi-automatic transmission. This may be due in part to lawsuits from drivers claiming that driving a manual transmission is damaging to their knees and the fuel consumption can be lowered and truck durability improved. The primary reason perhaps is the fact that such transmissions give a driver more time to concentrate on the road and traffic conditions.


The chassis or frame of a truck is commonly constructed mainly of two beams, and several crossmembers. A truck chassis consists of two parallel straight C-shaped beams, or in some cases stepped or tapered beams, these held together by crossmembers. In most instances, gussets help attach the crossmembers to the beams. The "C-shape" of the beams has a middle vertical and longer side, and a short horizontal flange at each end; the length of the beams is variable. The chassis is usually made of steel, but can be made (whole or in part) of aluminium for a lighter weight. The integrity of the chemical composition (carbon, molybdenum, etc.) and structure of the beams is of uttermost importance to its strength, and to help prevent cracking or breaking of beams, and to help maintain rigidity and flexibility of the frame, welding, drilling and other types of modifications should not be performed by unlicenced persons. The chassis is the main structure of the truck, and the other parts attach to it. A tow bar may be found attached at one or both ends.

Environmental effects

Trucks contribute to air, noise, and water pollution in a similar fashion to automobiles. In the case of air pollution emissions, trucks may actually emit lower emissions than autos on a per pound of vehicle mass basis, although the absolute level on a vehicle mile traveled basis is higher and diesel soot is especially problematic for health. With respect to noise pollution trucks emit considerably higher sound levels at all speeds compared to typical automobiles; this contrast is particularly strong in the case of heavy duty trucks.
Concerns have been raised about the effect of trucking on the environment, particularly as part of the debate on global warming. In the period from 1990 to 2003, carbon dioxide emissions from transportation sources increased by 20%, despite improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency.
In 2005, Transportation accounted for 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emission, increasing faster than any other sector.
Between 1985 and 2004, in the U.S., energy consumption in freight transportation grew nearly 53%, while the number of ton-miles carried increased only 43%. "Modal shifts account for a nearly a 23% increase in energy consumption over this period. Much of this shift is due to a greater fraction of freight ton-miles being carried via truck and air, as compared to water, rail, and pipelines."
According to a 1995 U.S. Government estimate, the energy cost of carrying a ton of freight a distance of one mile averages 514 Btu for water, 337 Btu for rail, 3,100 for trucks and nearly 20,000 for air transport. and many environment organizations favor laws and incentives to encourage the switch from road to rail, especially in Europe.

Quality and sales

Quality among all heavy truck manufacturers in general is improving, however industry insiders will testify that the industry has a long way to go before they achieve the quality levels reached by automobile manufacturers. Part of the reason for this is that 75% of all trucks are custom specified. This works against efforts to streamline and automate the assembly line.


Heavy truck leading manufacturers (alphabetically):

South America

Registrations of heavy trucks in South America (2002; % breakdown by manufacturer):

North America

On the East Coast, where routes were traditionally shorter, and because the trucks were made there, many drivers preferred Mack Trucks. While on the West Coast, the drivers preferred Peterbilt, Kenworth, and Freightliner. White built a new factory in California in the early 1960s, with long-haul trucking company Consolidated Freightways. The entity, which became White-Freightliner, then just Freightliner, catered directly to western fleets that wanted a lighter, aluminium cab and frame, and traveled longer distances without stopping. Drivers more concerned with safety than with fuel economy preferred the heavier Peterbilts and Kenworths. Kenworth and Peterbilt, which had started out as heavy-duty trucks for hauling logs, forest products, and steel for shipyards on the West Coast, anticipated the need for these lighter long-distance trucks.



  • Volvo (Australia)
  • Mack (Australia)
  • Iveco (different models for Australian market)
  • Kenworth (different models for Australian market)

Insuring trucks for commercial hauling

Primary Liability Insurance coverage protects the truck from damage or injuries to other people as a result of a truck accident. This truck insurance coverage is mandated by U.S. state and federal agencies and proof of coverage is required to be sent to them. Insurance coverage limits range from $35,000 to $1,000,000. Pricing is dependent on region, driving records, and history of the trucking operation.
Motor Truck Cargo insurance protects the transporter for his responsibility in the event of damaged or lost freight. The policy is purchased with a maximum load limit per vehicle. Cargo insurance coverage limits can range from $10,000 to $100,000 or more. Pricing for this insurance is mainly dependent on the type of cargo being hauled.

Truck Shows

In the UK, three truck shows are incredibly popular - Shropshire Truck Show in Oswestry Showground during May, The UK Truck Show held in June at Santa Pod Raceway and FIA European Drag Racing Championships from the home of European Drag-Racing. The UK Truck Show features drag-racing with 6-ton trucks from the British Truck Racing Association, plus other diesel-powered entertainment.
Truck Shows provide operators with an opportunity to win prestigious awards for their trucks.
  • Conduire un véhicule lourd, Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Québec, 7e édition, 2002 ISBN 2-551-19567-5
lorries in Arabic: شاحنة
lorries in Bosnian: Kamion
lorries in Bulgarian: Камион
lorries in Czech: Nákladní automobil
lorries in Danish: Lastbil
lorries in German: Lastkraftwagen
lorries in Spanish: Camión
lorries in Esperanto: Kamiono
lorries in French: Camion
lorries in Korean: 트럭
lorries in Hindi: ट्रक
lorries in Croatian: Kamion
lorries in Indonesian: Truk
lorries in Icelandic: Vörubíll
lorries in Italian: Autocarro
lorries in Hebrew: משאית
lorries in Latvian: Kravas automašīna
lorries in Lithuanian: Sunkvežimis
lorries in Hungarian: Tehergépkocsi
lorries in Malay (macrolanguage): Lori
lorries in Dutch: Vrachtauto
lorries in Japanese: 貨物自動車
lorries in Norwegian: Lastebil
lorries in Polish: Samochód ciężarowy
lorries in Portuguese: Camião
lorries in Romanian: Autocamion
lorries in Russian: Грузовой автомобиль
lorries in Simple English: Truck
lorries in Finnish: Kuorma-auto
lorries in Swedish: Lastbil
lorries in Tamil: சுமையுந்து
lorries in Vietnamese: Xe tải
lorries in Turkish: Kamyon
lorries in Ukrainian: Вантажний автомобіль
lorries in Yiddish: לאסט אויטא
lorries in Chinese: 载货汽车
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