How Much Does a Semi Truck Weigh?

December 19, 2021

The weight of vehicles is very important, especially for safety purposes. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cares so much about how much semi-trucks weigh.

Semi-trucks often weigh about 15,000 to 25,000 pounds when they have no load attached to them. That’s up to 5 times the weight of your car. Laden semi trucks, on the other hand, have total weights that depend on the size of the load being carried. The FMCSA puts a maximum loaded weight of 80,000 pounds for semi trucks.

Semi Truck Weight Scale

Pulling a loaded truck up onto the scale to check the axle weights to make sure the weight is distributed properly on the truck and trailer axles.

The Weight Of A Semi Truck

There are two major ways to measure the weight of the semi-truck. You can either measure it when it’s loaded or unloaded. And as you might expect, the loaded weight is often more than the unloaded weight. 

The unloaded weight is measured by adding the weight of the truck and its empty trailer. This weight often ranges from 15000 to 35000 pounds. The more powerful the engine is, the more heavy-duty the semi-truck is, and ultimately, the heavier it is. 

Depending on the load the truck carries, the loaded weight of the truck can extend to almost three times its unloaded weight. However, the US places a cap at the 80,000 pounds mark. Any truck that has a total loaded weight of over 80,000 weight is going against the law.

Weight By Class

Trucks fall into eight different categories based on their weight according to classification by the FMCSA. Of these categories, semi-trucks make up three of them:

  • Class 6
  • Class 7
  • Class 8

Class 6 Semi Trucks

Class 6 semi-trucks are still regarded as medium-duty trucks, and they weigh anything from 19,501 pounds to as much as 26,000 pounds. Examples of semi-trucks that belong to this category are beverage trucks and single axle trucks. Any driver who’s looking to drive a class 6 truck must have a Commercial Driver’s license.

Class 7 Semi Trucks

Class 7 semi-trucks weigh anything from 26,001 pounds to 33,000 pounds. These are heavy-duty trucks. We’re talking about furniture trucks, garbage trucks, and city transit trucks here. 

Class 8 Semi Trucks

The top of the chart trucks are here. These trucks weigh anything from 33,001 pounds and up, and these are the big rigs, dump trucks, and cement trucks.

Truck Class is determined by the weight and capacity of the truck.

Why Should You Care About Semi Truck Weights?

Let’s put things in perspective here. An average motorcycle weighs 400 pounds. The average car weighs 5000 pounds. But the smallest semi-truck weighs about 15,000 pounds. That’s twice the weight of the car and almost 38 times a bike. Now, imagine the truck was loaded with only 10,000 pounds of freight and it collides with any of these smaller vehicles.

Do you now see why an accident involving a smaller vehicle and a semi-truck almost always ends up badly for the smaller vehicle? And this is one of the main reasons the US DOT pays a lot of attention to the weights of semi-trucks. It is for the safety of other road users.

Another reason semi-truck weights are always closely monitored is in situations where the loads are badly balanced in the trailer. Truck trailers are often high. And as a result, badly balanced loads can often cause the trailer to tip to a side and snatch control off of the hands of the truck driver.

Finally, semi-truck weights are a huge concern to the FMCSA because the big rigs take almost forever to come to a stop once the brake is applied. A semi-truck traveling at 65 miles per hour takes 14 seconds to stop. A car only needs half that time. The distance from the first application of the brake to the point where the truck stops is 600 feet. And the heavier the semi-truck, the longer it takes to stop. This stopping time could even double in bad weather conditions, such as slippery roads from snow or rain.

Truck weight scales equipment and monitor at office weigh station which is used to find the weight of semi trucks


Semi-truck weights are very important for safety reasons. The average semi-truck can weigh between 15,000 to 25,000 pounds when no loads or trailer is placed on it. This weight is large enough to cause concerns for the government, especially since there are many semi trucks on the road. 

As a semi-truck driver, the responsibility then falls on you to be careful when driving your big rig. The lives of others may depend on it.

About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}