Becoming a truck driver? Explore trailer types

Are you new to the trucking industry or want to become a truck driver? With so many equipment truck types to choose from for trucking jobs, it may be difficult to choose the one that suits you best. Here are some of the most common trailer types available.

Trailer Types

Dry Van

A dry van is a trailer that hauls non-perishable, or dry, goods. This is the most common trucking type for new drivers because these jobs are more available and easier to get.


This type of trucking job involves hauling containers that are commonly used for imported goods. Drivers usually pick up their containers from shipyards, ports, or air terminals and distribute them to other ports or terminals. These containers can also be transported on train cars.


A hopper, or grain hauler, is a trailer that is specially designed to dump its contents. As you might guess, hoppers generally transport dry bulk loads, such as grain and corn.

Hot Shot

Hot Shot trucking involves a truck that is smaller than the typical semi and trailer. It’s also known as less-than-truckload (LTL) hauling. Though many truck varieties can fall into this category, the most common is a one-ton diesel that dually pulls a 40-foot gooseneck trailer. Because these are shorter jobs, hot shot drivers normally make several stops for a small amount of freight and are usually expected to load and unload the truck themselves.


These specialized trailers have an air conditioner at the front of the trailer and haul goods that must be kept at specific temperatures. Because these items are perishable, the driver must monitor and maintain proper temperature.


Tankers are used mostly for hauling liquids — anything from gasoline to milk. This type of job can be more demanding because the center of gravity changes as the liquids shift within the tanker. Specialized training is required.


This type of equipment refers to hauling a flat trailer that can transport anything from airplanes to scaffolding — basically anything that won’t fit inside a standard trailer. The driver is expected to secure the flatbed load in order to keep it and other drivers safe during the haul.

Lowboy Trailer

These trailers — also called heavy equipment haulers — are usually low at the center and generally carry items that are tall or over-sized. Escort vehicles are often required, depending on the load and the location.

Bull Hauler

Bull haulers pull trailers that are specially designed to transport live animals. These drivers are expected to follow specific rules and regulations, adding an extra layer of responsibility and expertise.

Auto Hauler

Auto haulers pull specialized trailers that are designed to haul cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. These drivers must undergo additional training and take responsibility to keep the load safe.

Generally speaking, the highest-paying trucking job base on trailer types are reefers, tankers, flatbeds, lowboys, bull and auto haulers; however, these trucking jobs also require more training and certification, making them less desirable for new drivers.


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