Cab-Over Engine or Conventional Truck

By January 4, 2017Truck Blog

What are some differences between the cab-over engine trucks and the conventional trucks?

Cab-over chassis– this type of truck has the cabin directly over the engine and front axle of the truck. These trucks are easy to notice because there is an absence of a regular (hood) covering the engine compartment.

Conventional chassis– this type of truck has the cabin located behind the front axle and engine compartment.

Below are some basic details about each type of truck, we hope that they will assist you in determining which truck design best suits your business objectives.


  • Cab-over trucks have a good reputation for being very maneuverable in tight locations due to their tighter turning radius. Typically a cab-over truck may provide a 30-40% tighter turning radius than that of a conventional chassis truck. This is a good option if you operate in a neighborhood setting with narrow driveways, no curb parking available or a generally limited area to maneuver a truck and equipment.
  • Cab-over trucks have excellent visibility due to the fact that the driver is sitting over the engine and closer to the windshield; which is typically larger than the windshield found on a typical conventional truck; and with the absence of a normal “hood” the driver visibility is quite unobstructed for maneuvering in tight areas.
  • The cab-over truck can be more susceptible to debris such as rocks causing chips in the windshield due to the increased size of the windshield and there is no typical “hood” in front of you to possibly keep a rock from hitting the windshield.
  • The conventional chassis trucks typically provide a wider range of available power plants offered in this configuration. This design may include a diesel engine option along with several different size displacement gasoline engines depending on the specific needs of the end user.
  • The conventional chassis trucks have an engine compartment that is very recognizable to most technicians performing maintenance. This could be of benefit to you if your mechanic is not used to maintaining a truck with a tilt up cab or just lacks familiarity with them. This would be a good topic of conversation with your mechanic. Most technicians have equipment at their disposal to diagnose and properly maintain trucks with either chassis configuration. Make sure that your trusted mechanic has experience with both types of chassis layouts so that you are not paying your mechanic to “learn” on your truck.


In many cases, the type of truck that a business owner will buy simply boils down to the fact that they buy what is known or comfortable to them. This may be based on positive past experiences (typically good performance, fuel mileage, etc..). Or, a business owner may avoid certain types/makes of trucks because they had a negative experience of some sort and are not willing to purchase the same type of truck again for the next acquisition.


In summary, both types of trucks have their advantages in the field and for different reasons, determining which truck is best for your business will be a decision that should be researched in detail prior to buying a truck. A good source of information may be manufacturer websites, truck specific forums online, informational blogs regarding each prospective type or make of truck, and of course word of mouth or trends seen by others in the same industry can be helpful in making a prudent choice for your business truck purchase.

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