Seven Images of the Different Types of Truck Classifications.

Truck Classifications Explained

Trucks are divided into a number of classifications based on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR indicates the maximum weight of the vehicle plus how much weight it can carry when fully loaded (this includes fuel, cargo, passengers, and more). A truck’s classification is important because it determines:

  • How long the vehicle can operate continuously 
  • What permits are needed to operate it 
  • Whether the driver is required to stop at weigh stations 
  • What tools are needed for maintenance or repair 
  • What type of license the driver must have to operate it

Here’s a brief look at truck classifications and what they mean:

Class 1 – 3: Non-commercial vehicles

This category includes pickup trucks, mini-vans, and SUVs that anyone with a regular driver’s license can drive. 

Class 4: Between 14,000 – 15,000 lbs

This class is made up of box trucks and some delivery vehicles.

Class 5: Between 15,001 – 19,500 lbs

Class 5 includes farming or construction-type vehicles like bucket trucks and cherry pickers. 

Class 6: Between 19,501 – 26,000 lbs

This class covers medium-duty commercial trucks such as rack trucks, beverage trucks, and even school buses. Commercial Driver’s licenses may be required for vehicles in this class.

Note: Commercial Driver’s licenses (CDL) are required for vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 lbs or have a combined weight of more than 26,000 lbs when towing a trailer, for example, or carrying heavy cargo. A CDL is required for all the following heavy duty truck classifications.

Class 7: Between 26,001 – 33,000 lbs

Vehicles in this class typically have three or more axles and include street sweepers, garbage trucks, city buses, furniture trucks, and small semis.

Class 8: Between 33,001 and up (with some exceptions)

Class 8 is for the really big 18-wheelers, the “big rigs” that are over 33,000 lbs (Like Freightliners and Peterbilts). Large cement trucks and dump trucks also may fit in this category.  The maximum weight for this category is set on a case-by-case basis.

Class 9: Vehicles that Defy Classification

Oversized loads or vehicles that are extremely heavy fit into this class of vehicles that defy classification. They may require special permits and have to follow a specific route.

Start Your Career with J-Tech!

Interested in Commercial Truck Driving?  J-Tech Institute can get you there. Our Commercial Truck Driving Program can help you quickly prepare and take your “Class A” Commercial Driver’s License exam so you can get on the road. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with our admissions department.

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