Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki

A restored 1950s Esso fuel tanker at a UK vintage vehicle show

A 1960 Oil company tanker on a 8 wheeler chassis built by Atkinson

A bulk liquid waste vacuum tanker (note ribbed body strengthened for vacuum pumping of waste from lagoons and storage tanks) used to transfere waste to treatment plants

A tank truck (United States usage) or road tanker (United Kingdom usage) is a motor vehicle designed to carry liquefied loads, dry bulk cargo or gases on roads. The largest such vehicles are similar to railroad tank cars which are also designed to carry liquefied loads. Many variants exist due to the wide variety of liquids that can be transported. Tank trucks tend to be large; they may be insulated or non-insulated; pressurized or non-pressurized; and designed for single or multiple loads (often by means of internal divisions in their tank). Some are semi-trailer trucks.

Size and volume

Tank trucks are described by their size or volume capacity. Large trucks typically have capacities ranging from 5,500 US liquid gallons (20,800 litres) to 9,000 US gallons (34,000 litres).

A tank truck is distinguished by its shape, usually a cylindrical tank upon the vehicle lying horizontally. Some less visible distinctions amongst tank trucks have to do with their intended use: compliance with human food regulations, refrigeration capability, acid resistance, pressurization capability, and others.

Common large tank trucks

A restored bulk milk tanker at the South Yorkshire Transport Rally 2011

Large tank trucks are used for example to transport gasoline to filling stations. They also transport a wide variety of liquid goods such as, milk, water, diesel, oils and industrial chemicals, such as acid, solvents and powders such as cement, sugar, lime, etc. In some areas due to tight roads and limited access at rural or city premises some operators use a tanker and trailer combination that can be split to allow the compact truck to visit more pickup or deliver points per round trip.

Tank trucks are constructed of various materials depending on what products they are hauling. These materials include Aluminum, Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel and Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP).

Some tank trucks are able to carry multiple products at once due to compartmentalization of the tank into 2,3,4,5,6 or in some rare cases more tank compartments. This allows for an increased number of delivery options. These trucks are commonly used to carry different grades of gasoline to service stations in order to carry all products needed on one trip.

Special pressurized versions carry LPG and other industrial gases. These can usually be distinguished by the rounded ends (rather than the Flat of liquid ones) and the Hazard signs attached.

Common small tank trucks

Smaller tank trucks, with a capacity of less than 3,000 US gal (11,000 litres) are typically used to deal with light liquid cargo within a local community. A common example is a septic service truck (also known as a bowser) used to vacuum clean several septic tanks and then deliver the septic material to a collection site. These tank trucks typically have a maximum capacity of 3,000 gallons (11,000 litres). They are equipped with a special vacume pumping system to serve their particular application.

Another common use is to deliver fuel such as Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) to households. These trucks usually carry about 1,000 gal (3,800 litres) of LPG under pressure.

Tank trucks are also used to transport fuel around airports to waiting aircraft.


  • Multidrive built special units for use by the British military in Bosnia and Kosova.
  • Whale Tankers - vacuum tankers for the UK waterboards for transporting Effluent from sewage works and liquid sludge from settlement ponds to be injected or sprayed on farm land.

See also

References / sources

  • based on a wikipedia article to define terminology used in other articles

External links

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