At AboutMechanics, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is an Articulated Truck?

Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal

An articulated truck is a vehicle that is most commonly used in construction work. These trucks are used to haul heavy loads, sometimes over difficult terrain, and they can be considered a type of tractor-trailer unit. There are simple ones that haul goods, as well as articulated dump trucks that are also loaders.

The main feature of an articulated truck that puts it in a separate driving class is its drive system. The drive system is based on the number of wheels on the axles used to pull the truck. The most common system is the 6 x 6 system, in which the truck has six wheels on three axles and all are used when driving the truck.

Most modern garbage collection vehicles are articulated trucks.
Most modern garbage collection vehicles are articulated trucks.

Another system used is the 6 x 4 drive, in which only the rear four wheels are used when driving. The original drive system in articulated trucks is the famous 4 x 4 drive. This was designed for trucks that drive over the roughest terrain on the planet. The 4 x 4 drive system helps the truck maneuver over terrain that could be a potential problem for the goods being carried.

An articulated truck can be used to carry all kinds of goods. The 4 x 4 drive system, for instance, is most often used for loads such as flammable liquid. This type of truck also has the ability to carry loads of up to 40 tons in weight. This is why it is so popular in the construction industry, in which heavy materials are used.

One of the problems of the articulated truck is found with the rear trailer. Because of its coupling system, the trailer works independently from the driving cab. A skilled driver needs to keep a watchful eye on the trailer using side view mirrors. Because of the independence of the trailer, the driver has no sense of the trailer's motion. There are now video cameras that can be installed in the trailer to allow drivers to be aware of the trailer’s movement.

The articulated truck is one of the most versatile hauling vehicles in the world. Because of its versatility and mobility, it is used in a variety of industries, not just construction. Think of the large logging companies that transport huge numbers of trees; this would not be possible without the truck. The military has a huge fleet of various types of articulated trucks, some of which are specially armored. You even have the articulated truck to thank for your garbage collection once a week.

Discussion Comments


well in australia i was able to obtain an certificate of competency without a license. but most jobs would want you to hold an HR license.


I work for the County of Ventura in an employment and training program. I was wondering what type of driver license one needs to drive an articulated dump truck?



County of Ventura


Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Most modern garbage collection vehicles are articulated trucks.
      By: philipus
      Most modern garbage collection vehicles are articulated trucks.