Jan 05, 2024

What Is a Class 6 Truck?

What Is a Class 6 Truck?

At Fullbay, we’ve given you a lot to think about over the years (and more Star Wars references than you’d probably expect from a blog focusing on diesel truck repair software). And today, we’ve got something truly special to share—the meaning of life. Ready? Here it is:

The meaning of life is understanding the differences between various truck classifications.

…Look, it’s not what we would have expected, either. But since vehicle weight classes are apparently the most important thing in the world, this blog marks the first entry in a series focusing on this surprisingly vital topic. Eventually, this series will include articles all about trucks in Class 7, Class 8, and—yes—even Class 5. To get things started, let’s take a look at what sets the average Class 6 truck apart from vehicles in other categories.

Understanding Truck Classification

A truck’s class is based on its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). That rating simply describes a truck’s maximum weight, but there’s more to it than you might think. While a truck’s GVWR obviously takes the weight of the vehicle itself into account, it also covers the weight of things like cargo, passengers, and fuel. This classification system plays a prominent role in vehicle regulation, registration, and licensing.

Class 6 trucks have GVWRs that fall between 19,501 and 26,000 pounds. That puts them at the high end of the medium-duty truck category, meaning a truck with just one extra pound in its max GVWR would officially be considered a heavy-duty vehicle. 

As you might expect, Class 6 vehicles are significantly larger than other medium-duty vehicles. Class 4 includes vehicles like small box trucks and city delivery trucks, while Class 5 covers slightly larger delivery trucks and small bucket trucks.

Types of Class 6 Trucks

Since any truck with a GVWR of 19,501-26,000 pounds is considered a Class 6 vehicle, everyday vehicles and specialized trucks can fit this classification. Here’s what you need to know about both sides of this particular coin.

Common Varieties

Some of the most well-known Class 6 vehicles include:

  • Box trucks. When you’re planning a move, you can expect to use one of these trucks as part of this process.
  • Dump trucks. Medium-duty dump trucks can haul gravel, dirt, and other loose materials with ease.
  • Beverage trucks. If your company handles distribution for drinks such as soda or alcohol, it needs a fleet of beverage trucks to get these products to their intended destinations.
  • School buses. While Class 6 vehicles are often thought of in terms of commercial applications, they’re also regularly used for transportation.

Specialized Vehicles

In addition to the everyday Class 6 trucks described above, this category also includes specialized vehicles such as:

  • Bucket trucks. AKA “cherry pickers,” bucket trucks are used for everything from installing signs to trimming trees.
  • Rack trucks. These vehicles are named after their inventor, industry pioneer Edwin Rack. Just kidding—they’re medium-duty trucks with racks.
  • Cement trucks. Though many cement trucks fall into the heavy-duty category, medium-duty cement trucks are also included here.
  • Garbage trucks. As is the case for cement trucks, garbage trucks exist in both the heavy-duty and medium-duty categories. They’re like the Schrödinger’s cat of truck classifications.

Class 6 Trucks vs. Pickup Trucks

Technically speaking, pickup trucks and Class 6 trucks are responsible for carrying cargo and passengers from Point A to Point B. And technically speaking, chocolate and tomatoes are both edible. Even so, you wouldn’t want to put ketchup on brownies or hot fudge on a burger.

Wait—what was this section about? Oh, yeah: the primary difference between pickup trucks and Class 6 vehicles lies in their respective GVWRs. 

Unlike the trucks included in Class 6, pickup trucks typically fall between Class 1 (which includes vehicles with a GVWR under 6,000 pounds) and Class 3 (which covers vehicles with GVWRs between 10,001 and 14,000 pounds). That means pickup trucks have a much lower carrying capacity than Class 6 trucks, making them more suited to personal use than commercial applications.

Applications and Industries

Saying Class 6 trucks frequently show up in commercial settings would be an understatement. After all, there are countless situations where a passenger vehicle wouldn’t be enough to get the job done, but a heavy-duty vehicle would be overkill. That’s why these vehicles are often seen in fields like commercial trucking, public transportation, product distribution, and moving—just to name a few of the many industries they’re active in.

But even though they aren’t technically heavy-duty vehicles, Class 6 trucks can also handle tasks commonly associated with larger trucks. Some businesses use these vehicles to mix cement, carry hazardous materials, or serve as large walk-in service vehicles.

Licensing and Regulations

If you manage a commercial fleet, you already know why Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) matter for people operating these vehicles. When they have a Class A CDL, drivers can legally drive any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating higher than 26,000 pounds—i.e., the maximum weight rating of a Class 6 truck. That means your drivers might not always need a CDL to operate a Class 6 vehicle.

Despite this, Class 6 is still the weight class in which CDL requirements begin. If your Class 6 truck is carrying at least 15 passengers (not including the driver) or is transporting hazardous materials, you’ll typically need a CDL to operate it. Of course, you’ll also need to comply with any other applicable regulations affecting commercial trucks (and hazardous materials, if you’re using your Class 6 trucks to carry them).

Maintenance and Repair Considerations

Class 6 vehicles present some noteworthy challenges when it comes to maintenance and repair. For example, dump trucks can suffer from several issues specific to these vehicles (such as accidental bed movement during maintenance and hydraulic system failure). Meanwhile, refrigerated beverage trucks need to be inspected before and after deliveries for temperature calibration problems. 

These are just two of the many different truck types included in Class 6, but any vehicle in this category will have its own set of potential issues. To truly conquer these challenges, your crew might need some outside assistance—and Fullbay can help.

Fullbay’s feature-packed software includes capabilities such as:

  • Technician guidance. With Fullbay’s procedure explanations and wiring diagrams, your techs will have no trouble repairing vehicles in your Class 6 fleet.
  • Inventory management. Your mechanics won’t be able to give your trucks the attention they need without having access to a fully-stocked inventory. That’s why our software can track and re-order parts.
  • Invoice creation. If your techs are working on any type of truck, they’ll need to create estimates and invoices as part of this process—and Fullbay can make this a breeze.
  • Detailed reporting. You’ll always know what’s happening in your shop with Fullbay’s revenue and efficiency reports, inventory reports, and other reporting features.

Use Our Heavy-Duty Software for Your Medium-Duty Trucks

Even if truck classification wasn’t what life is all about, fleet managers would still want to understand these weight classes. Thus, you should know what defines Class 6, what types of vehicles commonly appear in this category, and what regulation applies to Class 6 vehicles. 

Fortunately, you’ve just read a whole blog article explaining each of these topics, so you’re probably good to go.

But like any other type of commercial vehicle, a Class 6 truck will need regular maintenance and repair work to reach its full potential. While Fullbay takes pride in offering the industry’s best heavy-duty truck and trailer repair shop software, our products are an equally great fit for people in charge of medium-duty vehicles. Sign up for a free demo to see what Fullbay can do for you!

Emilie Vecera