What is a Tandem Dump Truck and How are they best used?

August 8, 2022

Tandem Dump Trucks Defined

The term tandem dump truck is loosely used today, but its importance can be traced back in history. A tandem axel was designed first by constructing a metal beam that connects to the front and rear axel. These axels at the rear would be doubled the back, each having a set of wheels attached. These double axels then work “in tandem” with the front axle of the truck, thus coining the name of the tandem dump truck. 

The invention of the Tandem Axel

Modern tandem trucks were first invented by Hendrickson Motor Co. in 1926. They were first designed in Chicago by Magus Hendrickson and his sons Robert and George, only 4 years after inflatable tires replaced the old rubber tire standard. The tandem suspension had exclusive use held by International Harvester Co in 1933. That changed in 1948 since it was agreed that Hendrickson could offer the suspensions to all manufacturers, thus driving forward the tandem dump truck innovation we see today. 

Prime Benefits of Tandem Dump Trucks

The design of the tandem dump truck was a game changer. If you’re only using a single axel, you’re limited to the amount of weight you can safely haul. In Canada, single axels cannot exceed 7,700kg whereas a tandem dump truck can haul 15,400kg, or double the weight. While driving, have you noticed dump trucks, and fuel and water trucks with multiple axels on the back? These are prime examples of tandem axel trucks being used to their best potential. 

If you have a larger load size and weight, the tandem dump truck is the way to go. The dump body is can haul approximately 14 tonnes and about 10-14 cubic yards of dirt (or 7.6 to 10.7 cubic meters). Note that 1 cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet. Some materials like gravel, are much heavier compared to loose dirt. The vehicle's registration will show the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), allowing you to make accurate estimates of what you can carry. 

Tandem dump trucks also provide increased stability, more power, and an overall smoother drive, especially on slick surfaces. Consider where and how you’ll use your truck when purchasing or financing one. 

Weigh Your Options

If you are searching for a heavy-duty truck, it’s worth weighing your options and evaluating what tasks are to be done. There are some advantages to single-axel trucks over tandem dump trucks. 

It may be worth investing in a single axel instead based on the following factors: 

  • Maintainance: You’re concerned about maintenance expenses. It’s easier to repair and maintain fewer tires and fewer moving parts. Additional drive line components and differential will be in a tandem vehicle. 
  • Fuel Efficiency: A single axel vehicle will be more lightweight and less demanding on fuel. However, you will be sacrificing haul weight, handling and power. 
  • Overall Price: Tandem dump trucks are technically superior and typically cost more. Single axels are often more inexpensive. Nevertheless, financing can be a good option if you cannot outright afford a much-needed tandem truck. 
  • Base it on the Job: The best advice is to get the truck suited for the job. If you don’t haul heavy loads or don’t forecast it, a single axel is still a solid choice. But if you require more capacity and haul heavier loads, a tandem dump truck is essential both functionally and legally.

Financing Your Next Tandem Dump Truck

Determining to get your next truck for your operation is a massive business decision. Keep in mind that a new tandem dump truck will cost you an average of $125,000. A used truck may be around half that amount, but then hidden costs of used ownership can always keep your operation down. 

Used vehicles can make your business suffer from unexpected repairs, equipment failures, and lost business opportunities. Did you know that the tires alone on a tandem dump truck could cost up to $10,000 to replace? Financing can take a lot of the unknown and uncontrollable elements out of the equation for you. 

At Blue Capital, we grant business owners the flexible option of financing their next big purchase, including reliable tandem dump trucks. 

Check out our inventory of new and used commercial trucks with some of the top brands available on the market. If you’re unsure what you need, our experts can always speak with you.