What Does Derate Mean in Trucking?

In the world of trucking, the term “derate” is commonly used to refer to a reduction in the power or performance of a vehicle’s engine. This reduction is usually done to comply with specific regulations or to ensure the safety and longevity of the engine.

When a truck is derated, it means that its horsepower or torque is intentionally limited to a lower level than its maximum capacity. This is achieved through electronic programming or by adding physical devices to restrict the engine’s output. Derating can be done for various reasons, including fuel economy, emissions control, or to match the truck’s performance to a specific application or road conditions.


1. Why is derating necessary in trucking?

Derating is necessary to comply with regulations on emissions and noise levels, promote fuel efficiency, and protect the engine from excessive wear and tear.

2. How is derating achieved?

Derating can be achieved through electronic engine control systems that limit the fuel flow, turbo boost pressure, or by adding devices like speed limiters or torque limiters.

See also  How Tall Is a Semi Truck

3. Can a derated truck be restored to its original power?

In most cases, a derated truck can be restored to its original power by reprogramming or removing the limiting devices. However, this may void warranties or violate regulations, so it’s important to consult with manufacturers or experts before making any changes.

4. Does derating affect a truck’s performance?

Derating can affect a truck’s performance, as it reduces its power output. However, it is often done to optimize performance for specific applications, such as long-haul transportation or off-road driving.

5. Are derated trucks less reliable?

Derating is typically done to enhance the reliability and longevity of the engine. By operating within lower power levels, the engine experiences less stress, resulting in improved durability and reduced maintenance costs.

6. Can derating improve fuel economy?

Yes, derating can improve fuel economy by limiting the engine’s power output, which reduces fuel consumption. This is especially beneficial for trucks that operate on long-haul routes.

See also  You Do Not Have a Hazardous Materials Endorsement on Your Cdl. When Can You Haul a Hazmat Load

7. Is derating a common practice in the trucking industry?

Yes, derating is a common practice in the trucking industry, as it allows fleet owners to comply with regulations, enhance fuel efficiency, and tailor the truck’s performance to specific needs. It is a valuable tool for optimizing truck operations and reducing environmental impact.