How Wide is a Semi-Trailer? – Different Types and Their Width

SUVs and regular passenger cars are easily manageable, and you can quickly move them through the highways. Most of us are not concerned about their dimensions. However, when it is a semi-trailer and trailer, width is one of the significant factors. Their designs and dimensions can make a difference in safety for drivers. 

Moreover, passenger vehicles are easy to park in any parking zone. However, most of the parking lots are not wider than standard lanes and highways. That is why it is crucial to know the dimension while buying semi-trailers.

Know The Basics Of A Semi-Truck

It combines a semi-trailer with a tractor unit to carry cargo. It helps in transporting goods, containers, crates, and different other things. The semi-trailer remains fitted to a tractor, known as the 5th wheel.

Uses Of Semitrailers For Different Purposes

Several trucking companies and logistics service providers use semi-trucks to move from one place to another. These semi-trailers are the best options to carry both small and large loads using a country’s roadways. They are also useful for local transportation services. From a technical perspective, regular moving trucks are semi-trucks. However, the most important fact is that all trucks’ width must maintain proper standards to move through the road without causing issues to other vehicles.

What Is The Standard Size Of A Semi Trailer

On average, the semi-trailer ranges in width from 7 ½ to 8 ½ feet. The Lowboy is the fullest model, as it is almost 8 feet 6 inches wide. This truck has more than one deck height, and therefore, can carry a range of loads.

Standard trailer lengths in North America

Note that the federal government has not imposed any state restrictions on the height of semi-trailers. The trailer also needs a specific rearview mirror, which may increase the width of the trailer.

Therefore, the typical size of a semitrailer is

  • Length: 48 feet
  • Height: 13 feet 6 inches
  • Width: 102 inches.

If the vehicle has two trailers, each trailer will be 28 feet long.

Different states have different regulations on the allowable road height for commercial vehicles and trailers. The lengths of semi-trailers in North America are 28 ft, 32 ft, 34 ft,. 34 ft., 36 ft., 40 ft., 45 ft., 48 ft., and 53 ft. Some states allow trailer lengths of 57 feet or more, but most states do not have statewide trailer length requirements.

How Long Is A Semi Trailer

Although this is the length without the tractor head, the most common trailer length is 53 feet.

If the length of the tractor head is added, the total length of the semi-trailer can approach 80 feet.

What does the FHWA say about this?

The FHWA does not require states to regulate the length of trucks pulling semi-trailer combinations. This is included even if the trailer ultimately exceeds the legal length.

Different Types of Semi-Trucks and Their Width

types of semi-trailers

In this section, we will introduce a variety of semi-trailers and their typical weights and lengths. We will learn about the functions of each type and its unique characteristics. In the United States, they are the most widely used. Although some are no longer popular, most trucking companies have some in their fleets.

1. Box Truck

Chassis cab trucks, also known as box trucks, have enclosed cargo space. You can find that appliance and furniture stores mostly invest in this type of truck. Their length can vary from 10 to 26 feet, while the width is about 7’6″. The best manufacturers of box trucks are GMC, Ford, and Dodge.

2. Car Hauler

Very often, you can notice this trailer on the higher. It helps in carrying cars to the dealership from manufacturers. However, auto repair shops and tow shops also invest in car haulers for the transportation of vehicles.

Car haulers are available in enclosed and open versions with special ramps intended to load a car. Besides, they have hydraulic systems to adjust the ramp height and incline. These systems enable you to load and unload a car very quickly. Standard car haulers have a length of about 14 to 24 feet, while their width is 8’5″.

3. Tanker Truck

It is useful for carrying gasoline and other liquids. These large tanker trucks are insulated, as your cargo may be sensitive. You may use them for carrying multiple and single loads. The length of a tanker truck can be 39 feet, while the width is 8’2″. It has the capacity to carry up to 11,000 pounds.

4. Container

The average length of a container truck ranges from 20 to 53 feet. These trucks are used to transport large containers from shipyards or train stations. They are relatively large in China but are still used in the United States, where they are classified as multimodal transport.

5. Flatbed Truck

Although it was prevalent during the 1980s, the open design with no covering makes a flatbed truck easily identifiable.  You cannot use it to move delicate items. Moreover, flatbed trucks are not the right choice when there is adverse weather. The length of a flatbed truck can be 48-53 feet, while its width is 8’6″. You may use it for some local transportation needs.

6. Lowboy Truck

They have two different deck heights, allowing them to carry all types of cargo. They are approximately 12 feet long and 8 feet 5 inches wide. The deck height can be adjusted according to the objects being transported.

Semi-Trailer Manufacturers

You can find semi-trailers from different brands, including Volvo, Kenworth, and Freightliner. We have provided some details about the dimensions of these branded semi-trailers.

1. Kenworth T680

This semi-trailer model has gained high popularity due to its customizable features. The mid-roof sleepers and high-roof sleepers are about 76 inches. Moreover, these semi-trailers have flat-top sleepers of about 40 inches.

2. Freightliner

When you are searching semi-trucks from Freightliner, you will find Cascadia as the preferable choice. With the unique raised roof configurations, this model ranges from 60 inches to 72 inches. Based on other configurations, you will find differences in sizes.

3. Volvo

Based on your chosen model, Volvo semi-trailers have a mattress width of about 75 inches to 81 inches. The depth of the mattress can be between 36 and 42 inches. Moreover, the height of most of the Volvo semi-trucks is about 61 to 100 inches.

4. Peterbilt

This brand manufactures on-highway trucks. Model 579 has low-roof and high-roof configurations. It also has UltraLoft with multiple options ranging from 44 to 80 inches. Another model is 389-sleepers with configurations, like 44- and 78 inches.

Dimensions Of A Semi-Trailer

Dimensions Of A 53′ Semi-Trailer

The 53-foot semitrailer weighs 13,500 pounds and has a capacity of 3,489 cubic feet. It measures 47 feet 6 inches long, 98.5 inches wide, and 108 inches high inside. The rear door opening is 94 inches wide by 102 inches high.

Dimensions Of A 48 Ft Semi-Trailer

It measures 48 feet long, 102 inches wide and 13 feet 6 inches high. The trailer weighs 13,500 pounds and has a capacity of 3,465 cubic feet (cu. ft.).

Dimensions Of A 45 Ft Semi-Trailer

The overall length of the trailer is 45 feet, the overall width is 96 inches and the overall height is 13 feet 6 inches. It weighs 11,900 pounds and has a capacity of 3,086 cubic feet (cu. ft.).

Dimensions Of A 43 Ft Semi-Trailer

The semi-trailer is 43 feet long, weighs 11,900 pounds, and has a capacity of 2,711 cubic feet. The interior height is 100.5 inches, and when opened, the rear door is 92 inches wide and 98 inches high.

Are There Laws About the Width of Semi-Trucks in the U.S.?

In the United States, the width of a semi-trailer cannot exceed 102 inches. This becomes 8’6″ for the Lowboy truck. Mirrors and other specific safety features are not included in the width. In addition, some vehicles are not limited by width. These include:

  • Special mobile equipment
  • Self-propelled vehicles
  • Road construction machines and equipment
  • Ambulances and fire trucks
  • Other police and fire department equipment

The width of a vehicle in Hawaii can exceed 108 inches. This may be due to the size of the lane or open road. An exemption permit is not required. If the vehicle belongs to the above group, the 102-inch standard is exempt from this rule.

Final Thoughts

We can now conclude that the truck width can vary with the model. Thus, while buying semi-trailers, you have to check their designs and brands. Based on your needs, you can invest in the right semi-trailer. While measuring the width, you must not include safety equipment and mirrors.

Semi-trailers are mostly useful for interstate commerce. They have containerized cargo shipments and travel by roadways. You can find their interiors heated, refrigerated, and ventilated. Moreover, there are unique features for the redistribution of weight.

Liam

Hi, I'm the initiator and writer of this blog. Cars were and will be my first love, and my favorite hobby, that's why I decided to start this blog and write about my discoveries and techniques to improve my cars or repair them.