The Anatomy of Trucks and Lorries

A truck is a large vehicle designed to transport cargo.

Trucks vary greatly in size, from smaller almost car-like trucks to specialized custom-built cargo haulers.

There are 4 main sections in any truck. This guide aims to briefly review each of them.


The cabin is where the driver sits, it is a closed space. Some trucks have a space behind the cab where the driver can rest while not driving, this is called a sleeping area. There are 3 types of cab layout, these are cab over engine (COE), cab next to engine (CBE) and conventional cabs.

Most COE trucks are located in and around Europe, as the length is strictly regulated. The driver sits in the cab above the engine.

North America has the highest concentration of conventional taxis. The driver sits behind the engine like most car drivers.

Trucks with a cab next to the engine tend to operate in special conditions, for example dump trucks have CBE designs


Most trucks use four-stroke diesel engines. These engines have a turbocharger and an aftercooler. Some small and medium trucks can also use gasoline engines.

drive train

Smaller trucks will use transmissions similar to cars and SUVs, however most large trucks will use a manual transmission without a synchronizer. This type of transmission requires the driver to use the double clutch when shifting up or down, but saves weight on the overall design of the truck.


A truck frame, sometimes known as a ladder frame, consists of 2 parallel steel beams joined by cross members. They are almost always made of steel, although some trucks have aluminum to save weight.

Although trucks will vary between countries and even between manufacturers, the list above gives you a brief overview of the anatomy of a truck.

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