What is the hardest working vehicle on the road?

I was talking to someone about what I thought was the hardest working vehicle on the road. Obviously the typical police cars, taxis, delivery trucks, etc. came up but I was thinking that the garbage truck is the hardest working vehicle. They always seem to floor it and then slam on the brakes to get to the next trash pickup. They are also heavy and work in a dirty environment. The same could be said for large dump trucks hauling gravel, sand, and dirt or ready mix concrete trucks but they don’t seem to have the constant starting and stopping like garbage trucks.

I personally vote for the garbage truck. I guess a lighter duty version of this same thing could be considered with mail delivery vehicles as they stop at every house.

What do others here think?

My vote is for a septic tank servicing truck. Very heavy load and I’m sure I don’t have to go into detail what it hauls.

I would think that heavy duty class 8 trucks doing long distance hauling heavy loads are the most stressed. They operate at near maximum performance most of the time, yet get a million miles between overhauls quite often.

The most abused are probably taxis; Where I live most cabs are driven by individuals who learned to drive at a later age and are from countries where car ownwership is still very low. Unlike London cabbies, the best in the world, these drivers have had minimal training.

The engine of the garbage truck has to work hard when the hydraulic ram is actuated to compact the garbage. This runs off the power take-off. Our sanitation pickup is done with a side lift that picks up our garbage tote and dumps it into the truck. This requires engine power as well. The commercial trucks that have the hydraulic forks that pick up the dumpsters also require the engine to work hard.
I had insulation blown in the walls of a house thirty-five years ago and the blower for the insulation ran from a power take-off on the truck. Even the Stanley Steemer van operated by the carpet cleaners run the vacuum and pump from the van engine.
I guess I would have to vote for the garbage trucks that do stop and start driving as well as operating the compactor and lift as the hardest working trucks.

What is the most common make truck used in severe duty applications?

As for the septic haulig tank trucks, I would put them in a category with the heavy dump trucks and ready mix concrete trucks. Heavy load, dirty, but not all the constant stop and go of a garbage truck…

Domestically, a minivan in a family of 4 kids or more. It never stops. My second, would definitely be a taxi and city busses. If it isn’t running steady, all day long, it 's not working hard.

Mack or international around here,one old decripit Mack can usually outlast 3 drivers-Kevin

Well around here it’s this 1992 Ford Tempo V6 with 310,000 miles on it. This car goes 20-25,000 miles per year.

Over the last 8 years this lady has spent over $25,000 dollars with us keeping this car running, and she just beats the tar out of it. 2 months ago we did an engine rebuild and installed the third rebuilt transmission. Once she missed a corner because of a burned out street light. Went into the ditch and bent a strut and tie rod. 3 weeks later that light was still burned out and this time it killed the strut and steering rack too. We did a complete front and rear brake overhaul. 3 months later the brake warning light burned out and she drove 60 miles with the parking brake on. The car was towed in with a failed ignition module. She asked if the part went bad because she was driving too fast. I told her that had nothing to do with it, but how fast was she going? “I don’t know. The speedometer only goes to 85.”

I agree with @acemaster in that the hardest working vehicles are those asked to work beyond their capacities. After all, heavy equipment, doing what it’s designed to do, lasts much longer then the minivan in the hands of a working mom with4 kids. A garbage truck motor is geared and prepared for the work it’s required to do. When I clear ditches with my tractor, the little 40 hp motor is lofting along a 2k rpm while the tractor shuttles back and forth in a way that would destroy an ordinary transmission. Yet, the pump and hydrostatic which seems to bounce the operator and entire tractor into submission, is barely breaking a sweat and with proper maintenance, can do this indefinitely. It just looks like it’s working hard while it’s really just doing what it’s designed to do.

@acemaster The Tempo in question is subject to ABUSE, rather than hard service. This was not all that sturdy a car to begin with and I’m frankly surprised it’s still running. All in all, good businesss for the shop doing the work.

I would say anything driven by a 16 year old kid.

I’m going to go with tractor-trailers. They seem to be the only category whose tire treads routinely separate from the carcasses. Dump trucks have a rough life, but it’s all local. Based on the road gator evidence, I’d have to believe that tractor trailer trucks have the hardest life. I guess cruising along at 70 mph with a 30 ton load is rough after all.

@acemaster She was able to beat a 3.0L Vulcan into submission? That’s impressive. Also what age bracket does this lady fall into?

Around here I would say garbage trucks or school busses. I watch the school bus on a local state road where they pick up kids every quarter mile and the bus does almost constant 0-50mph spurts.

I know they are not on the road, but golf carts are absolutely abused by patrons. I’m still having problems thinking vehicles designed for heavy work, work hard. It’s like a power lifter who is capable of lifting 500 lbs and is asked to lift 300. That impresses we mortals but, other lifters aren’t impressed. That’s not hard work for him.
A vehicle that really works hard without the benefit of special dedicated design, is the half ton pick up with a plow moving heavy snow. To me, that’s more impressive then a larger dedicated state dump truck with a wing plow doing what it was designed for.
IMHO, @JosephEMeehan has the right idea !

Farm truck with a 13 year old behind the wheel. :slight_smile:

@FoDaddy: The 3.0 Vulcan (“Taurus motor”) is simply the best, most reliable and durable V6 on the American road. The fact that it made it to 300K with this middle-aged lady driving it is a testament to that. The trans in that car is the 3 sp trans found in the 4cyl Tempos. Given that this car is regularly driven at speeds over 85mph I’m surprised she’s only burned up 3 transmissions.

You have no idea of the extent of repairs we’ve done to this vehicle. Most of them several times over. You know how hard it is to find parts for a V6 Tempo?

I had the 3.0 in an old Mercury Sable and it was still running well at 420k miles when I got rid of the car. It was using about a quart of oil per 600 miles but most of that was due to a leaky rear main seal that I had no desire to fix.

That engine also still had the original timing chain on it. From my random tweaks of the ignition timing now and then the chain appeared to be in great shape because there was no bouncing of the timing marks at all.

I thought I’d throw tow trucks into the fray. They run every day, all day, depending on the season and demand. Usually they are busiest in the worst weather too. School buses, garbage trucks, ambulances, police cruisers, fire trucks, and utility trucks too deserve mention. Oh, and driver’s education vehicles for sure.