What Are The Differences Between Full Trailers And Semi-Trailers?

Semi-Trailers
April 07, 2021

If you already own a delivery business, or are considering going into the business, you may be overwhelmed with the technical specifications and options available where trailers are concerned. A lot can depend on the efficiency you’re looking for, the cargo you will transport, whether drivers are going to be required to have special licenses, and more.

One of the things to help you decide on which trailer to go with is a comparison between full trailers and semi-trailers. That way, for your precise business/delivery needs, you may be able to better determine which would be more suitable – a semi-trailer or another kind of trailer.

Definitions of Trailers

  • Full trailer: Both rear and front axles are in place. This trailer is attached firmly to the hauling unit by a drawbar. An approximate length of 40 feet applies to most commercial freight trailers. Controlling the front axle direction, in relation to the hauling unit, these trailers can move vertically. To the towing vehicle, these trailers don’t transmit any large load. Frequently, farm tractors are used for towing these vehicles. Directly to their towing vehicles, full trailers are securely attached and can’t be easily detached.
  • Semi-trailers: There is no front axle on a semi-trailer. A road tractor unit handles a large portion of its weight. To keep it upright when it is disconnected from the unit, it usually has lowerable landing gear or legs. When it is unattached, the brakes on the trailer are automatically engaged. So, to make it move, only the truck’s air pump releases the brakes. On interstate highways, the length of this trailer cannot exceed 57 feet. Special permits, however, are available if need be. A length of 63 feet cannot be exceeded if you are linking two smaller trailers together.

Properties of Full- and Semi-Trailers

For additional hauling capacity, both full trailers and semi-trailers can be attached to other semi-trailers. Semi-trailers can generally provide a better load ratio between laden (loaded) and tare (empty) weights, as well as carrying larger loads. For carrying larger materials, the longer cargo bed on a semi-trailer makes it ideal.

Due to the tractor unit’s drive axle weight, better traction is provided by semi-trailers if you have to drive on snowy roads. But, a semi-trailer can’t become a cargo vehicle without a road tractor, while a cab is present on full trailers, so they have their own commercial cargo capacity.

Which is more manageable? A smaller turning circle is provided by a semi-trailer. It’s also easier to drive in reverse. But, compared to full trailers, they are more likely to tip over thanks to their higher center of gravity. Additionally, if a semi-truck-trailer is not driven carefully, jackknifing is always a possibility because they are not securely attached to their tow vehicle.

Mickey Genuine Parts For Maintenance of Semi-Trailers

Need parts for your trailer? Before you shop anywhere else, check with Mickey Genuine Parts. If you need maintenance done on your trailer, we can be of assistance there as well. We have conveniently located certified service centers throughout the United States. Count on Mickey for your delivery truck/van and trailer needs.

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