Do You Know These Things That Truck Owners Should Know?



Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

What is a truck's "bed"?

A typical pickup truck bed has raised sides and an open top, with a rear gate (tailgate) that comes down for easy loading. In the U.S., most pickup trucks are called either long-bed or short-bed.


Which automaker brought the world the "F-Series"?

Ford's F-Series trucks — which includes the 150, 250, 350 and 450 — are very popular among contractors, builders, ranchers and with the general public. The most popular of the line, the F-150, is currently in its 13th generation. The F-Series has been the best-selling pickup in the U.S. since 1977 and the best-selling vehicle of all since 1986.


What is the driver/passenger seating area called?

In light trucks for the non-industrial market, the cab (short for "cabin") is behind the engine, creating the same kind of hood/cabin configuration that cars have. Some industrial trucks have a flat-faced design in which the cab is directly over the engine.


What kind of fuel do many large and heavy-duty trucks use?

Diesel is a kind of fuel that requires no spark to create combustion in the cylinder; compression alone does it (although In cold weather, glow plugs and block heaters may be necessary). Trucks use it because it gets better mileage, but the fuel never caught on for passenger cars because of early misfires (sorry!) like the VW Rabbit Diesel.


What piece of equipment makes it possible to attach a trailer?

You'll find the trailer hitch just under the rear bumper, or extending from it. Hauling a trailer is one of the advantages to having a truck (adding to its already impressive cargo space), but it takes some practice to safely hitch up the trailer and drive with it.


What is a camper shell?

A camper shell — sometimes called a topper, bed cap or box cap — is sometimes made of fiberglass or aluminum and usually covers the entire bed of the truck. The shell can easily be put on and taken off, converting a pickup from a work truck to a weekend camper. It can also protect cargo from weather and theft.


Which automaker created the Tundra?

The Tundra is a full-size pickup truck made by the Japanese carmaker that debuted in the 2000 model year. They are a popular alternative to domestically brand trucks like the Ford F-series. They are made in Texas — the only full-size pickup manufactured in the state.


Who makes the Ram trucks?

You're probably familiar with their curving ram's horns symbol. The line was spun off from Dodge in 2010 as its own division of Chrysler.


What is the name of the Tundra's smaller cousin?

The Tacoma is either a compact or mid-sized pickup. They tend to be popular among city or suburban people who want to take weekend road trips, help friends move and so on. The Tacoma was introduced in 1995 and is available in a two-door regular cab, two-door extended cab and a four-door crew cab.


What is a camper shell called in the Midwest?

This is one of many regional differences in U.S. English. (See also "water fountain/drinking fountain/bubbler" and "soda/pop/coke.")


The Toyota Tundra also has which of these distinctions?

Toyota had been making full-size trucks for the Asian market before introducing the Tundra to the U.S. in 1999. Sidenote: Francis Ford Coppola is a fan of the Tucker, a short-lived car from the 1940s (no connection to Toyota).


Which automaker makes the Silverado truck?

If you said "GMC," you were almost right. The GMC Sierra is built to the same specs — they are both General Motors products.


What do mud flaps protect?

You've probably seen mud flaps with the silhouette of a curvy woman in profile on them. There's no stopping good taste, eh?


What does the "F-150" to "F-450" designations indicate?

When they were first introduced, numbers were given to truck models that referred to how much weight the truck could haul. While that's not accurate anymore (the F-150 can haul up to an estimated 2,300 pounds), the numbers separate "light-duty" trucks from "heavy-duty" trucks (the higher the number, the more it can handle).


True or false: Fog lights are always an aftermarket item.

These low, powerful lights are so safety-enhancing that some truck makers include them in the initial build. Of course, you might have to pick a certain trim to get fog lights.


A very early French version of the truck, built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, was powered by _____.

If you've taken one of our quizzes on the history of cars, Cugnot's name is probably familiar. Steam was a popular propulsion agent for early vehicles, though not a fuel — water won't boil on its own, obviously.


Which of these truck makers sells the most vehicles in the United States?

Ford tops the list here, with just over 909,000 sold in 2018. Chevrolet, as always, is hot on their heels with just over 805,000 sold in the same period.


Low-positioned, extra-bright headlights are called ...

Fog lights, sometimes called "fog lamps," aren't just for thick mist. They can give you extra visibility that might help you avoid deer, possums, et cetera.


True or false: You need a commercial driver's license to drive a Ford F-350.

Under U.S. regulations, the F-350 is still a medium-duty truck, weighing under 14,000 pounds (GCWR Class 3). It's still more truck than most of us "civilians" need.


A cover which fits flush over a truck's bed is called a...

A tonneau cover protects your cargo from the elements and from theft. Some believe it improves the vehicle's aerodynamics, but scientific studies have not found this to be the case. It can be a hard or a soft cover and, unlike a camper shell, it's not something you'd use if you want to sleep in your truck bed — unless you enjoy a coffin-like space.


A truck with neither a roof nor sides to its bed is called _____.

A flatbed can be used as a parade float. But they're most commonly put into service hauling extra-wide loads that are not vulnerable to being rained on or splashed with mud (like logs).


When first designed, what was the chief purpose of trucks?

Of course, people had to accompany the cargo (or at least one person, to drive the vehicle). Later, light trucks became popular for personal use, but first and foremost, they were invented to move stuff.


Six feet is the typical length of a ______ truck.

Depending on the size of the truck frame (compact or regular), a short bed truck's bed is usually six to six-and-a-half feet long. Long beds tend to be between seven and eight feet.


Who created the first internal combustion engine used in both trucks and cars?

Karl Benz was huge in the world of automobiles. His engine powered the earliest gas-fueled trucks, cars and buses. His company eventually merged with Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in 1926 to form Daimler-Benz and the Mercedes-Benz marque.


True or false: Trucks compete in NASCAR races.

Though not as avidly followed as the car races, there is a pickup truck racing division in NASCAR. The promotion is called the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (it was sponsored by Camping World from 2009 through 2018, and by Craftsman from 1996 through 2008).


Spotlights or floodlights are only for _____ use.

Spots and floods are both too powerful for use on highways or any roads where there's a likelihood of cars approaching from the opposite direction (whom you would temporarily blind). They're only meant for off-road use, where presumably you're the only vehicle currently plowing across a meadow.


What is a "wind wing"?

A wind wing was the little, sharply triangular window in front of the main window, like a jib sail on a sailboat. It didn't roll down, but cranked steeply sideways, so that it funneled air right onto the driver (or passenger). With air-conditioning so common, you don't see many trucks with wind wings anymore.


In which decade was commercial trucking, truckers and CB radio a huge fad?

Yes, in the '70s, long-distance truck driving was considered one of the coolest jobs you could possibly attain. Truckers inspired movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "White Line Fever." The madness peaked around 1978 with "Convoy," a movie which, for some reason, Kris Kristofferson, Ernest Borgnine and Ali McGraw agreed to act in, and which was based on — we are not making this up — a novelty song about trucking. Finally, around the end of the decade, the madness stopped, probably because America got distracted by the Rubik's Cube.


What is a truck called in the U.K., India and some other British-influenced countries?

One of the highlights of reading British, Irish or Indian fiction is seeing this charming word. "I was nearly run down by a mad lorry driver!" she said indignantly.


True or false: The stepside truck is a thing of the past.

While the beautiful curvaceous stepsides (fenders and wheel wells outside the shell of the main body) of the 1950s are gone — the best, probably, were made by Chevrolet — a few pickups nowadays are stepside design. This is purely as an aesthetic element because the straight-sided designs of modern trucks allow for better gas mileage and are generally preferred.


Is it legal to let a dog ride in the bed of your truck?

This will depend on your jurisdiction. Many places allow a dog to ride in the bed if they are in a safety restraint (usually a leash) to keep them from jumping out. But over long distances or at high speeds, your dog will be safer in the cab. A leash will help nothing in the case of an accident. Take care of your pup!


What is a cab with a backseat and four doors usually called?

"Crew cab" is the common term. These became popular in the late 20th century in America, possibly because it was increasingly frowned on to have people riding in the bed. A crew cab has four full-sized doors and two rows of seats; an "extended cab" has smaller seats and, often, smaller doors behind the front doors.


Which of these would be a typical curb weight for a light truck?

Light trucks are roughly comparable to cars in the ways they are driven and used. They do weigh a little more, though — 3,500 to 7,000 pounds is about typical. The U.S. Department of Transportation's GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) puts most pickup trucks in Class 1 (6,000 lbs. or less) or Class 2 (6,001 to 10,000 lbs.).


If you do mostly town and suburban driving, you might not need ...

Bug shields are low barriers which rise straight from the grille and keep bugs from splattering on the hood of your truck, where they can be a pain to clean off. You'd probably want one if you did a lot of freeway driving and road tripping.


What is the name of Tesla's prototype truck?

As the name indicates, Tesla is planning a semi-trailer truck, not one for everyday passenger use. Production for the vehicle, which is estimated to have a 300- to-500 mile range, is likely to begin in 2020.


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About This Quiz

Do you have a truck in your driveway or under your carport? Did you have one in the past or aspire to own one in the future? Whichever the case, you're not alone. Just like cars symbolize independence in general, trucks represent even greater self-reliance and a spirit of adventure. A car will allow you to commute to a job, bring groceries home from the store or go to the drive-in. A truck, however, can carry you to the top of a mountain, ford a stream and, with a bit of extra equipment, let you take long road trips without staying in motels. With so much open space to cover in North America, it's no wonder that Americans and Canadians love their trucks. 

Of course, when we say "trucks," that doesn't always mean pickups and light trucks. Trucks are also workhorses, hauling cargo overland and doing dirty jobs on construction sites. Not so long ago, a whole culture sprang up around long-distance truck driving. Do you remember in which decade the trucker/CB radio obsession ran wild? (We can't tell you here; it'd be a spoiler). Or, do you know what a "topper" is (in certain parts of the U.S.?) Or what carmaker makes America's best-selling line of trucks? 

Our quiz will test you on all this and more. Good luck, good buddy!

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