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Tri-Axle Truck and Trailers

A tri-axle truck or trailer is a vehicle with multiple axles (three axles) grouped together at the rear. The axle is the shaft that connects a pair (or more) of wheels.

Essentially, a tri-axle has three sets of wheels at the back, allowing it to distribute weight more evenly and handle heavier loads compared to vehicles with fewer axles.

Tri-axle dump trucks can carry more load than a single axle dump truck.

What is a Tri-Axle Used For?

Tri-axles are designed for hauling heavy loads. The additional axles distribute weight more evenly, improving stability and preventing damage to roads and bridges. This makes them ideal for:

Construction sites

Tri-axles are commonly used to transport heavy equipment like excavators, bulldozers, and cranes. They can also haul building materials such as lumber, steel beams, and concrete panels.

Additionally, tri-axle dump trucks are essential for transporting loose materials like gravel, sand, and asphalt used in construction projects.

Manufacturing

In the manufacturing industry, tri-axles play a crucial role in transporting machinery, large parts, and finished goods. This can include anything from car parts and airplane engines to industrial equipment and wind turbine components.

Mining

Tri-axle vehicles are vital for the mining industry, as they are used to haul large quantities of ore, coal, or other extracted materials from mines to processing facilities. The sturdiness and weight capacity of tri-axle vehicles them well-suited for handling the demanding conditions of mining operations.

Energy

The energy sector also relies heavily on tri-axle trailers for transporting bulky equipment. This includes wind turbine components, transformers, generators, and other essential elements used in power generation and transmission.

Types of Tri-Axle Configurations

Tri-axle configurations are commonly found in various types of trucks and trailers designed for heavy hauling. Here are some of the most common:

Dump Trucks

Tri-axle dump trucks are a mainstay in construction, transporting large quantities of loose materials like gravel, sand, and dirt. Their hydraulic beds allow for efficient unloading at job sites.

Tanker Trucks

These haul liquid products like fuel, water, hazardous materials, or chemicals. Tri-axles provide the stability needed to safely transport these heavy liquids.

A truck with an air lifted third axle.

Lowboy or Gooseneck Trailer

Designed to carry oversized or indivisible cargo that can’t be transported on a standard flatbed trailer, lowboys and gooseneck trailers often utilize tri-axle configurations for the additional weight capacity and stability.

Cement Mixers

These specialized trucks feature a rotating drum that mixes concrete while en route to the construction site. The tri-axle configuration helps handle the weight of the wet concrete.

End Dump Trailers

Similar to dump trucks, end dump trailers feature a hydraulic bed that tilts to unload cargo from the rear. Tri-axles are common for hauling heavy construction materials or agricultural products.

Container Chassis

These trailers are specifically designed to carry shipping containers. Tri-axles can handle the weight of multiple containers stacked on the trailer bed.

Tri-axle dump trucks can carry more load than a single axle dump truck.

What is a Tri-Axle Used For?

Tri-axles are designed for hauling heavy loads. The additional axles distribute weight more evenly, improving stability and preventing damage to roads and bridges. This makes them ideal for:

Construction sites

Tri-axles are commonly used to transport heavy equipment like excavators, bulldozers, and cranes. They can also haul building materials such as lumber, steel beams, and concrete panels.

Additionally, tri-axle dump trucks are essential for transporting loose materials like gravel, sand, and asphalt used in construction projects.

Lowboy or Gooseneck Trailer

Designed to carry oversized or indivisible cargo that can’t be transported on a standard flatbed trailer, lowboys and gooseneck trailers often utilize tri-axle configurations for the additional weight capacity and stability.

Cement Mixers

These specialized trucks feature a rotating drum that mixes concrete while en route to the construction site. The tri-axle configuration helps handle the weight of the wet concrete.

End Dump Trailers

Similar to dump trucks, end dump trailers feature a hydraulic bed that tilts to unload cargo from the rear. Tri-axles are common for hauling heavy construction materials or agricultural products.

Container Chassis

These trailers are specifically designed to carry shipping containers. Tri-axles can handle the weight of multiple containers stacked on the trailer bed.

Benefits of a Tri-Axle Trailer

Tri-axle trailers offer several advantages over single or double-axle trailers, making them a popular choice for hauling heavy cargo. These benefits include:

Increased weight capacity

Compared to single or double-axle trailers, a tri-axle vehicle or trailer can carry heavier loads, allowing them to transport larger quantities of goods in a single trip. Because of this, truck drivers can save money with reduced transportation costs and better fuel economy.

Enhanced stability

The extra wheels provide better weight distribution, lowering the center of gravity and reducing the risk of rollovers. This is especially important when hauling tall or top-heavy loads, or when navigating uneven terrain or sharp corners.

A tri-axle dump truck can have more traction in the snow

Additionally, the more axles means a smoother ride over a single axle truck.

Improved stability and better maneuverability also contributes to safer driving conditions for both the truck operator and other motorists sharing the road.

Reduced road wear

By distributing weight more evenly across six wheels instead of four or fewer, tri-axles exert less pressure on the road surface. This helps to minimize wear and tear on roads and bridges, reducing maintenance costs and extending their lifespan.

A tri-axle trailer can help with weight distribution while carrying a heavy load.

How Many Tons Can a Tri-Axle Hold?

The weight capacity of a tri-axle trailer depends on several factors, including:

Trailer design and construction

Trailers are built with different materials and weight capacities in mind. Heavier duty trailers, often constructed from high-strength steel, can handle significantly more weight than lighter trailers.

Axle weight rating

Each axle on a tri-trailer has a specific weight rating, which is the maximum amount of weight it can safely support. This rating is determined by the axle’s design, components, and tire size.

Local regulations

Every region has weight regulations on the maximum weight that vehicles can legally carry on public roads. These weight limits are established to protect roads and bridges from excessive wear and tear caused by transporting heavy loads, and to ensure safety for drivers and other road users.

Therefore, to determine the exact weight capacity of a specific tri-axle trailer, you’ll need to consider all three of these factors. Consulting the trailer’s manufacturer specifications, axle weight ratings, and local weight limit regulations will provide the most accurate information.

While there’s no single answer, the weight capacity of a tri-axle trailer typically falls between 40,000 and 48,000 lbs (18,144 – 21,772 kg).

Axle weight rating

Each axle on a tri-trailer has a specific weight rating, which is the maximum amount of weight it can safely support. This rating is determined by the axle’s design, components, and tire size.

Local regulations

Every region has weight regulations on the maximum weight that vehicles can legally carry on public roads. These weight limits are established to protect roads and bridges from excessive wear and tear caused by transporting heavy loads, and to ensure safety for drivers and other road users.

Therefore, to determine the exact weight capacity of a specific tri-axle trailer, you’ll need to consider all three of these factors. Consulting the trailer’s manufacturer specifications, axle weight ratings, and local weight limit regulations will provide the most accurate information.

While there’s no single answer, the weight capacity of a tri-axle trailer typically falls between 40,000 and 48,000 lbs (18,144 – 21,772 kg).

Difference Between Tri-Axle and Quad-Axle

As the names suggest, a tri-axle has three axles, while a quad-axle has four. This translates to an even greater weight capacity for quad-axles vehicles, typically ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 lbs (22,680 – 36,287 kg).

However, quad-axle vehicles are also longer, heavier, and require more powerful engines to operate. They’re best suited for very heavy cargo or situations where maximum weight capacity is essential.

Compared to quad-axle dump trucks, a tri-axle dump truck has better maneuverability in tight spaces and fuel efficiency at the cost of lower maximum operating weights.

In conclusion, tri-axle trucks and trailers offer a valuable balance between weight capacity, stability, and maneuverability. They are a workhorse for various industries that require safe and efficient transportation of heavy cargo.

A quad axle truck.

Tri-axle trucks typically require more comprehensive insurance coverage compared to smaller vehicles due to the increased risk associated with their size and weight capacity.

Here are some common types of insurance required or recommended for tri-axle trucks:

Commercial Auto Insurance

This is the foundation of any truck insurance policy and covers liability for bodily injury and property damage caused to others in the event of an accident where the tri-axle truck is at fault. Minimum coverage limits are mandated by law, but operators may choose higher limits for greater protection.

Motor Carrier Physical Damage Coverage

This covers physical damage to the tri-axle truck itself in case of accidents, theft, vandalism, or other covered perils. Coverage options can vary, so it’s important to understand what’s included in the policy.

Cargo Insurance

If the tri-axle truck is used to haul cargo, cargo insurance is crucial. It protects the owner or operator from financial losses if the cargo is damaged, lost, or stolen during transportation. Coverage can be tailored to the specific type of cargo being hauled.

Non-Trucking Liability (NTL) Insurance

This type of insurance provides coverage when the tri-axle truck is not actively being used to haul cargo. For example, if the driver is parked and waiting to be loaded, NTL insurance can provide liability coverage in case of an accident.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

If the tri-axle truck is part of a company with employees, workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory in most locations. It covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees injured while working, including truck drivers.

Ready to explore the right insurance options for your tri-axle truck? Get a free trucking insurance quote or learn more about the Premium Control Plan (PCP), designed to give you greater control over your insurance costs.

Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and ensure your trucking business is properly protected.