How to distinguish between full trailer and semi-trailer?

Hello everyone, let me explain the difference between full trailers and semi trailer. I believe many people are still unaware of their differences and uses. Now let’s take a look together!


A full trailer is composed of a frame, body, traction device, steering device, suspension, walking system, braking system, signal system, etc. It relies on its front and rear two sets of axles to bear its own weight, It has no driving power and relies on a tractor to drive its movement. The car train composed of a tractor belongs to the category of automobiles.

Full trailer structure:

  1. There are many types of full trailers, and their basic frame, body, and walking system are basically the same as those of trucks;
  2. Railboard type carriages are generally made of thin steel plates, with longitudinal concave edges stamped on the carriage railboard and convex ribs welded horizontally to increase the rigidity and reduce the weight of the carriage;
  3. The bottom plate of the carriage is generally made of wooden boards and covered with thin steel plates, or a mixed structure of iron and wood is used as the bottom plate; The frame is usually made of 16mm steel plate, pressed and formed by welding or willow joint;
  4. The longitudinal and transverse beams of the frame mostly adopt a groove interface structure, with two longitudinal beams arranged equally wide in front and back, making the frame have good bending resistance.
full tanker trailer

Semi trailer

The axle of a semi-trailer is placed behind the center of gravity of the vehicle, usually consisting of three axles and equipped with a coupling device that can transmit horizontal or vertical forces to the towing vehicle. This means that a portion of the total weight of the trailer is borne by the towing vehicle, which has no power and is carried together with the main vehicle, relying on the main vehicle for traction.A semi-trailer mainly consists of a carriage, frame, support legs, suspension, axle, electrical circuit, protective net, toolbox, and other parts.

semi tanker trailer

The difference between full trailer and semi-trailer

  1. The difference between semi-trailers and full trailers lies in the different traction methods of the two models. Full trailers can stand independently, while semi trailers can only stand on their front legs. The load of the full trailer is entirely borne by itself and connected to the towing vehicle through hooks. The tractor of a semi-trailer does not need to bear the load of the trailer, but is only used to provide traction.
  2. A full trailer refers to an ordinary car with a full trailer attached to it, and the two are connected by hooks. A semi-trailer is composed of a semi-trailer car connected to the rear of a towing vehicle, and they are supported by the towing pin of the semi-trailer on the towing vehicle. The most common semi trailers are trailers and large container transport vehicles. Tank semi-trailers, flatbed semi-trailers, container semi-trailers, and dump semi-trailers have the same cargo carrying capacity as full trailers.
  3. The most obvious difference between fully suspended and semi suspended is that fully suspended can stand independently, while semi suspended must rely on the front legs to stand. The full trailer can independently support and stand steadily, and the trailer is fully loaded. The load of the entire vehicle is borne entirely by the trailer itself, and is only connected to the main vehicle by hooks. Semi trailers are developed on the basis of full trailers. A semi-trailer is a trailer where the front half of the trailer is mounted on the towing saddle above the rear section of the tractor, and the bridge behind the tractor bears a portion of the trailer’s weight.
  4. A full trailer stands upright on its own tires, while a semi-trailer stands upright on its front legs. A full trailer has a front wheel, a semi-trailer does not have a front wheel, a full trailer has two axles, and a semi-trailer has one axle. The stability of the full trailer is relatively poor at high speeds, and the emergency braking ability is relatively poor. On the contrary, the high-speed stability and emergency braking ability of semi-trailers are relatively good.
  5. The connection methods between full trailer and semi-trailer and tractor are different: the full trailer load is fully borne by itself, and the tractor is only connected by a hook. The tractor does not need to bear the trailer load, but only provides traction; The semi-trailer tractor provides support points and power, and also bears a portion of the trailer load.
lowbed semi trailers


Full trailers and semi trailers have some similarities in functionality, but they also have some differences. You should choose a suitable truck based on the specific transportation requirements of the goods.

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