How To Load a Car Into a Semi Like a Boss
Volvo is famous for making reliable luxury performance sedans and station wagons. With starting MSRPs ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 for select packages, it’s something we’d all expect would be handled with care. But these two German truckers seem to have a new idea when it comes to getting one to fit into the back of a semi-trailer.
After all, who has time to mess around with ramps, loading docks and uncool stuff like that? Is it cringe worthy or just plain smart? This loading method isn’t something any insurance company would like to see. At the same time, it takes the best traits of tractor trailer lifts – rated up to 4,000 lbs – to their natural advantage. If the vehicle wasn’t lined up proper or a gap existed greater than a quarter of the expanse of the tire – we’d be looking at a situation similar to this one.
Volvo vs Volkswagen?
Both of these European car manufacturers routinely compete for the same market – mid-level luxury sedans and station wagons. With attractive price points, both are available to a wide range of consumers and are patent favorites for longevity. For the XC60, Volvo made a conservative move to keep in line with nearly twenty years of XC70 production.
Focusing on fuel efficiency and a little bit of off-roading, all three major varieties start in the $35k range and go up from there. A forward wheel drive five cylinder and an al
Focusing on fuel efficiency and a little bit of off-roading, all three major varieties start in the $35k range and go up from there. A forward wheel drive five cylinder and an all-wheel drive five cylinder are the main engine configurations available. Both are turbo charged with direct injection engines – giving a convenient 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Perfect for light towing and ATV recovery. And with a max tow capacity of 3,500 lbs – it seems Volvo really did focus on family outings. Volvo also produces a smaller engine T6 Drive-E. While only a four cylinder versus the traditional five, this 2.0 liter unleaded engine is both supercharged and turbocharged. This equates to 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque – putting it dangerously within striking distance of some light-weight pick-up trucks. The loss of a cylinder comes with greater miles per gallon but fuel efficiency has always been Volvo’s thing.
Comparing this to the Volkswagen, the closest model that isn’t classified as an SUV is the Jetta® SportWagen Sedan. It comes standard with a 170 hp 5-cylinder engine which boasts a staggering 42 mpg on the highway (when equipped with the TDI® Clean Diesel). It’s also got a formidable 184 lb-ft of torque as well. Not as powerful as the Volvo XC60 but certainly economical – it’s average MSRP is $22,000. And with a curb weight less than 3,400 lbs – it could probably be lifted by one of those semi tractor trailer lifts. Looking at the weight class of the XC60s, though, we see that their curb weight rarely exceeds 4,100 lbs. This means that, in theory, both of these tractor trailer semi lifts were well within spec.
Creative Loading Techniques Rarely Pay Off So Well
Transport truck drivers are usually left in a tough situation. Showing up to pick up a vehicle for export or simply long-distance haul doesn’t mean the customer has the proper equipment. In order to properly load a full size sedan into the back of a semi-trailer, there’s a number of correct ways.
• Technique 1: Load Car Onto Flat Bed and Bridge to Trailer
It seems a bit redundant at first. Why not just run a ramp to the box truck and call it a day? Well, vehicle weight comes into play. If you don’t have a properly rated truck ramp, theres a good chance that either the angle of ascent may be too steep or the length needed to support the vehicle can’t hold the weight. Either way, here’s the proper way to do this technique.
• Technique 2: BYOR – Build Your Own Ramp
Woodworking, some good driving and an understanding of weight distribution of a vehicle all go into this. Here’s an example where it pays off to remember trigonometry. But sometimes it’s the only way to get a car into the back of a box truck. See what he does in the middle of the ramp? He’s supporting it with small tires. That’s to give the wood some buoyancy rather than simply cracking and shattering under pressure.
• Technique 3: Use a Loading Dock
This is definitely the easiest way by far. Back up the box truck to a loading bay on equal ground. Drive car across. The End. There’s really not much technique to this other than not smacking the car into the side of the trailer. Better yet – no complicated math, woodworking, or thinking involved. And of course, technique #4 is the method shown here. Even though it looks extremely unsafe, those German truckers seem to know what they’re doing. And as long as the lifts are rated for the sort of weight a Volvo XC60 sedan has, there shouldn’t be too many problems.