A Glossary of Terms for New Truck Drivers
Are you thinking about buying a truck? Well, we think you’re making a great decision! If there’s one thing we know at Northwest Motorsport… it’s Trucks, Trucks, and more Trucks. If you’re looking for your first truck, or you’re a new member of the pickup club, there are some truck terms you should know.
You don’t want to come across as clueless when you’re negotiating your first pickup purchases at the dealership. Let us help. Here’s a crash course on truck terms that’ll make you feel like an expert in no time!
All the Truck Terms You Need to Know
If you’re in the market for a truck, you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about. But even better than sounding like you know what you’re talking about is actually knowing. Let’s take a look at common truck terms you’re going to run into.
More importantly, these are the questions you to want to ask to make sure you get the right truck in your driveway.
2WD/FWD/RWD/AWD/4WD: You’ll see these acronyms listed next to any truck. In order, they mean Two Wheel Drive, Front-Wheel Drive, Rear-Wheel Drive, All-Wheel Drive, and Four-Wheel Drive. This describes which tires can be powered by the driveshaft.
Body Armor: This is a term you’ll hear off-roaders use. It refers to bolt-on body accessories meant to protect the body of your truck from the sticks, mud, dirt, and everything else.
Bullbar: This is a piece of body armor (see, we’re already talking like the pros!) that originated in the land down under. It was designed to lessen the damage of front-end impacts from wildlife. These days you’ll commonly see them on the front of a pickup.
Chassis Cab: This truck term refers to a pickup that is sold with a cab but no bed. Generally, this is for commercial drivers who are going to put something industry-specific on the back end. Examples of vehicles that start as chassis cabs include tow trucks and ambulances.
Coil Springs: This is talking about your suspension system for your truck. Coil springs are literal coils made of metal, usually steel, that keep the weight of your cab from crashing down on your axles when you go over a bump.
Crew Cab: When you hear someone refer to a truck as a “crew cab” they’re talking about the size and configuration of the truck’s cab. A crew cab is a pickup cab that has four, full-sized doors that can be opened independently.
Double Cab: This is another term that actually means the same thing as a crew cab. Some truck companies simply refer to it as a “Double Cab” instead.
Wait, There’s More!
Drivetrain: This is the mechanism that transfers power from your engine to your wheels to get you moving. Basically, it’s what moves you when you step down on that gas pedal. If you plan on using your truck for long hauls, pay particular attention to the type of drivetrain you buy.
Extended Cab: An extended cab is one with two full-sized doors for the front seats. It also has two smaller doors that open up to allow access to the second row of seats.
Flatbed: A “flatbed” is a truck with a flat loading surface with no walls, allowing for loading on all sides.
Full-Floating Axle: A full-floating axle is talking about the function that your single axles serve on your truck. A full-floating axle means the axle does not support the weight of your truck. It’s the only purpose is to turn and push your pickup forward.
Half-Ton/Light-Duty: This is an older term, and it doesn’t quite mean what it used to. The term “half-ton” use to refer to a truck’s payload capacity. It was designed to carry a half-ton of weight or around 1,000 pounds. These days, half-ton simply means a full-sized, light-duty pickup with the lowest payload capacity, although it’s usually in excess of 1,000 pounds.
Headache Rack: A headache rack might sound like a hassle, but it can really save your life. If you’re someone who wants to start pulling heavy equipment over long distances in the back of your truck, you’ll want a headache rack. A headache rack is a system of metal bars and/or meshing that protects the back windshield of your truck from everything in your trunk.
No one anticipates getting into an accident. But when you slam your brakes on the highway to avoid a not-so-great driver and all of your tools and 2x4s go flying, you’re protected.
We’re Not Done! More Truck Terms to Know
Leaf Springs: This is another type of suspension that you’ll run into. Leaf springs are simply a few bands of springs formed together to make a curved spring that sits over your axle.
Long Bed: The term “long bed” is not a standard unit of measurement. However, for a full-sized pickup, a long bed is usually somewhere around 8 feet long.
One Ton/Heavy-Duty: Just like half-ton, this is an older term. It used to mean a truck that was rated with one-ton payload capacity. Now it means a full-sized, heavy-duty pick up at the highest payload capacity, typically higher than 2,000 pounds.
Payload Capacity: It’s very important to note that your truck’s payload capacity is not the same as it’s towing capacity. Payload capacity is your truck’s weight limit for the bed and cab.
Short Bed: Again, this is not usually an exact measurement. On a full-sized truck, that’s usually around 6 feet long, but it can be as short as 5’4”.
SRW/DRW: This abbreviation stands for “single” or “double rear wheel”. You might also hear someone refer to a DRW as a “dually”. You might be looking for a dually if you need extra stability in your vehicle for towing heavy loads.
Towing Capacity: Your truck’s towing capacity specifically refers to how much weight it can pull behind it.
Walking the Walk and Talking The Talk: Truck Terms You Need to Know
The more you know about trucks, the better a decision you can make about buying one. So what can you do to prepare yourself? Put simply, you should read up and do your research. If you can remember these truck terms, you’re going to have a huge leg up. Not to mention, you’re going to get the right truck for you and your family’s needs!
The next best thing is to go to a dealership like Northwest Motorsport where we treat all of our customers like family. If you’re thinking about a truck, read up, and when you’re ready, come down to Northwest Motorsport. We’ll find you the right truck for all the big jobs!