Glossary of terms used on this site

These are the definitions for trucks & trailers outside the commercial realm.

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Term Definition
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

The maximum weight that can be placed over an axle according to manufacturer’s engineering standards.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The maximum weight of the vehicle plus its passengers and cargo, and includes the portion of the trailer weight that is placed of the towing vehicle.

Hich Weight

This weight is how much is on the towing vehicle at the connection point to the trailer. The hitch weight should be 15-25% of the trailer's total weight.


A jackknife is when the truck and trailer combination form a 90° angle or less. A jackknife occurs due to over use of the primary controls (steering, braking and/or acceleration.)

King pin

It is the hitch point of a 5th wheel trailer. The king pin is mounted in the centre of the trailer apron. When the trailer is attached to the truck, the trailer apron rests on the top of the 5th wheel hitch plate.

Load capacity

The weight of the driver, passengers, fuel, cargo and vehicle options, including the portion of the trailer weight that is placed over the towing vehicle.


The different paths that the front and rear wheels take when cornering. The rear or trailer wheels will take a shorter path around the curve, corner or turn. Thus the driver has to compensate for this shortcoming by taking the curve, corner or turn wider.


 The receiver must be installed correctly on the hitch assembly during towing. The receiver hitch can be removed when not towing trailers.

This piece of the hitch assembly is removable. It is the piece of the hitch assembly that has the ball attached, and can be removed from the rear of the vehicle to prevent banging your shins. When inserting the receiver, it is important to have the locking cotter pin on the pin to ensure that the receiver does not come loose during towing.

Towing capacity

The maximum weight that a vehicle is capable of towing or pulling.

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