The types of trucks circulating on our roads

A trip on any highway gives us an overview of most of the trucks on the European roads today 

We are sure that at as a transport professional, you perfectly know a lot about trucks. However, there can always be more to it, like for example that there are many variants to a typical truck, from small vans and semi-trailers carrying small and large goods to heavy trucks carrying large loads. And it is precisely the different types of trucks, and which loads they carry, the topic of this article. 

Rigid trucks 

This type of truck is the one in which the driver's cab and the trailer on which the goods are transported are united in a single indivisible piece. These trucks usually have smaller dimensions than the rest and are widely used in urban areas and for parcel delivery. 

Articulated trucks 

Unlike rigid trucks, an articulated truck is a truck that combines a tractor unit with one or more semi-trailers. The parts that make up this type of truck are a motor vehicle together with a semi-trailer. In addition, the truck is held together with the trailer and the tractor by the pivot joint, so it can be separated. 


Trailers, those that we commonly see on the roads to cover long distances, cannot be moved by their own means but will require a cab or a tractor-trailer to tow it. Trailers can be of very different dimensions, although the largest ones usually have a Maximum Authorized Mass of about 750Kg. 

Road trains 

Road trains are trucks with one or more semi-trailers attached. Although it is not common to see them on European roads, it is common to see them in countries like Australia, where they can reach more than 25 meters. 

After making the first major division of the types of trucks that exist, we can further subdivide these vehicles according to the types of goods they move. The following are some of the most common types of trucks used in road freight transport for certain specific loads: 

Tautliner truck 

It is the most common on our roads. Its main characteristic is the tarpaulin covering of the semi-trailer on the sides and top. These tarpaulins can be totally and/or partially removed, making the process of loading and unloading goods faster and more convenient. 

Refrigerated trucks 

Refrigerated trucks are used to transport refrigerated goods by land. Within this type of trucks, we find the refrigerated or isothermal, depending on whether you have cold generation systems or if they only have a temperature insulation. They are essential if we want to transport food products that need to be kept cold. 

A refrigerated cargo truck is designed to transport perishable products and other goods that require adequate temperature control. The refrigerated compartment is mounted directly on the truck frame or coupled separately as a trailer. The refrigeration unit is located at the front of the trailer or on top of the truck cab.  

Reefers also come with a control unit so that the temperature of the container can be adjusted. They usually carry food, medical supplies, cold drinks and other perishable cargo. 

Reefers are more expensive to operate because they use more fuel than a non-refrigerated truck. 

Tanker trucks 

Tank trucks transport liquids and gases. The truck pulls a cylindrical tank mounted on a semi-trailer. Tank trucks are commonly used to transport fuel and other liquids such as milk, wine, juices and industrial chemical fluids. 

Depending on the fluid, the cylindrical tank can be refrigerated or non-refrigerated, insulated or non-insulated, and pressurized or non-pressurized. The tanks themselves have internal compartments to carry multiple loads, as well as to reduce liquid sloshing. Tank trucks can be difficult to operate and require skilled drivers at the wheel to minimize liquid sloshing inside the tank. 

Open platforms 

This type of truck is characterized by having the platform where the load is placed totally or partially uncovered, since in some cases the sides can be covered depending on the risk of the goods moving. This type of vehicle is usually used to transport heavy and large-volume goods, such as construction materials. 

Closed trucks 

Closed trucks are the opposite option to the canvas truck, since the structure of the truck is totally rigid. In this type of truck, unlike the Tautliner, the goods can only be loaded from the rear. 

These are the most common, although there are many others, such as cage trucks, for transporting animals; car carriers, for transporting cars; the hopper; for transporting large masses of earth; for transporting liquids or concrete mixers, among many others. 

And if you are looking for freight and vehicle offers for any of them, Teleroute is the perfect place. With more than 350,000 daily offers and a community of more than 85,000 transport professionals, Teleroute has been the bridge between freight forwarders looking for free spots and carriers looking for loads to move for over 35 years.