Fleet Management

When Would You Use a Pusher Axle vs. a Tag Axle?

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If you want to carry more load with your trucks, you’re likely considering adding an axle. The first question typically asked at this point is: what is the difference between a tag axle vs. a pusher axle? Let’s dive into this topic and see what we can learn about different truck axles and how each benefits your business.

Tag Axle

According to the NTEA, a tag axle is "an auxiliary axle installed in conjunction with the rear axle(s) of a truck chassis." Adding a tag axle in the lowered state results in a longer wheelbase on your truck. This means you can fit a longer body. However, in the raised state, you’ll have a shorter wheelbase, allowing for a smaller turning radius. Tag axles are also known as lift axles because they lift from the road’s surface when not needed. 

Pusher Axle

The NTEA describes a pusher axle as "An auxiliary axle installed in conjunction with the rear axle(s) of a truck chassis. A pusher axle is installed ahead of the drive axles, thus shortening the length of the wheelbase." If you want to increase your carrying capacity but don’t need a longer body, a pusher axle can help. These axles are commonly used in front of the tandem bogie of a dump truck. While a tag or lift axle is behind the vehicle, a pusher axle is in front. 

When to Use a Pusher Axle or a Tag Axle

Let’s discuss the similarities and differences between the two types of axle.

Both pusher and tag axles can be liftable or stationary. They both serve to help increase a truck’s payload and distribute weight. 

A tag axle is located behind the drive axles, so it can take some of the weight off the rear drive axles. Meanwhile, a pusher axle goes in front of the drive axles to add stability during turns. 

So which type of axle should you choose?

The main factor to consider is your vehicle’s make and the regulations in your state. This will often tell you what type of axle is compatible with your vehicle or required in your area. If you choose pusher axles, you may find that weight is distributed more evenly, but your vehicles are more complex, and you may lose some maneuverability. Pusher axles are more common in vocational vehicles because of how their body is designed. 

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