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Fun Facts About 18-Wheeler Tow Trucks

You see them on the road all the time —18-wheeler tow trucks hauling everything from foodstuffs to houses. How much do you really know about these big commercial rigs? Test your knowledge with a few our our Tow Truck Fun Facts!

Did you know...

  • An 18-wheeler tow truck is often called a “semi truck” and also just a “semi”. On these trucks, the truck cab and engine are separate from the trailer bed of the truck. Since the trailer has no front wheels and can be used only when connected to the tractor part of the truck, it's called a semi-trailer. The terms "semi" and "semi truck" evolved from that.
  • Most trailers on an 18-wheeler tow truck are about 53 feet long. The truck cab has brakes that are automatically applied when the trailer is disengaged or unattached to the truck. When the truck is connected to the trailer, and the engine is started up, the truck’s air pump releases the brakes so that the truck can roll down the road.
  • An 18-wheeler tow truck’s engine is designed to run constantly. The only time they need to be shut down is to change the oil, service the engine, or obey municipal idling laws.
  • Most cars hold 4 – 6 quarts of oil. An 18-wheeler tow truck holds 15 quarts or more of oil. Imagine asking your nearest Quik-Change to handle that! 
  • An 18-wheeler tow truck requires approximately 40 times the stopping length of the average automobile.
  • There are about 6 million semi trailers (or tractor trailers) registered for use in the U.S.
  • About 30% of all the 18-wheeler tow trucks operating in the United States are registered in just three states: California, Florida, and Texas.
  • 18-wheeler tow trucks keep the nation running. About 68% percent of all goods in the U.S. are hauled by semi trucks. That’s about 60,000 pounds per American, per year! The two largest commodities by weight are agricultural and building materials.
  • Semi truck operators cover lots and lots of miles in any given year. On the average, drivers will complete trips that total 140,000 miles or more each year.
  • A semi truck can be 20 feet wide or more. Yet drivers routinely maneuver through spaces with mere inches on each side – and never get a scratch on their 18-wheeler tow truck.  


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