Using Truckpages you can find all kinds of tractor units for sale from all manufacturers and all cab types. From a 4×2 day cab urban artic to a High Roof 150 tonne heavy haulage tractor unit and everything in between. All makes, models and years are available – including Scania R and S Series, Mercedes Actros and DAF XF.
Tractor Units are the workhorse of the UK transport industry. They have been the biggest sellers in the UK for decades. Unlike Continental Europe where there is a penchant for drawbar outfits, the UK has a love of the ‘big rig’.
To the uninitiated, a tractor unit is the front part of an articulated vehicle and semi-trailer combination. In the UK these trucks can carry a maximum train weight of 44 tonnes if they have three axles (more on this below…).
Most truck manufacturers have a range of tractor units – we list them all for sale here at Truckpages.
The most commonly found tractor units for sale on these pages are from UK market leader DAF followed by Mercedes which is closely followed by Scania. Of the remaining manufacturers, Volvo Trucks has the most used tractor units on this site, followed by MAN, Iveco and Renault. However, MAN come out on top in the specialist ‘Pet Regs’ tractor unit segment.
Whilst nearly every truck manufacturer has a tractor unit range, it is historically the Scania R-Series that has topped the shopping list for UK tractor unit operators – especially the Scania V8. More recently, Scania has introduced the S-Series which will no doubt take over at the top of the list.
The Volvo FH – especially the Globetrotter/Globetrotter XL is a desirable truck which has started to see some competition with the improved Mercedes Actros in recent years since the launch of the Euro 6 versions.
Sitting centre stage are the DAF XF trucks – excellent value but are some put off by the ageing cab design, despite DAF’s efforts at modernising the 1990’s cab?
Joining DAF is MAN with their TGX and TGS range of tractor units with the less favourable brands in the UK of Iveco’s Stralis and Renault Truck’s Range T bringing up the rear. These days this is less about the actual trucks themselves – nobody makes a bad truck these days – it is more about the reputation of the brand earned over the years.
The transport industry has a very long memory!
All tractor units are not the same. Firstly, there is the size of the cab. From a small day cabbed tractor unit for local distribution to a small sleeper cab for occasional nights out, to a double sleeper, medium roof to a flat floor, high roof sleeper for long distance and international work that has up to 2.25 metres standing room – as much as a house!
You can also get tractor units designed for heavy haulage. These giants can tow up to 150 tonnes gross train weight under a special license.
A specially equipped tractor unit is required to tow a tanker with flammables on bard. These must meet ADR regulations – more commonly in the UK these are called ‘Pet Regs’ tractor units.
More popular on the continent, you can get ‘low rider’ tractor units that have extra small wheels and tyres which tow an overheight trailer. As the bridges in the UK are higher than in mainland Europe, we see these less often here.
Traditionally a shunter can be an old tractor unit that is no longer reliable enough to be sent out on the road, so it stays in the yard, untaxed, to move trailers around.
Increasingly companies are using specialist shunters – especially at ports when unaccompanied trailers are often sent meaning that these trucks with hydraulically lifting fifth wheels can more trailers around quickly without the need to retract the trailer legs.
In bygone days and if you travel widely on the Continent, then 4×2 tractor units is all you would see. These are basically trucks with just two axles. The lack of a third axle means that they can legally carry just 40 tonnes when using a three-axle trailer in the UK.
In the UK these trucks are used only when the vehicle always carries such light, but bulky materials that they are physically full before they get to anywhere near their 40-tonne limit. Picture a truck full of polystyrene blocks, for example.
In days gone by, many supermarkets specified these 4×2 tractor units – they are physically a little smaller and cost less in road tax than the tree-axled counterparts. They were known in the used truck industry as ‘Supermarket Trolleys’ and were not very popular.
The problem is that these 4×2 tractor units are typically less desirable in the UK’s second-hand truck market. For this reason, an operator may opt for a 6×2 tractor unit, (see below) as they are easier to sell on their second life.
Many canny truck dealers will take these 4×2 tractor units and stretch the chassis, removing the fifth wheel (the hitch on the back that allows the truck to connect to the semi-trailer) and will fit a rigid body – perhaps a beavertail or crane body. This means that the operator will have a powerful truck for their application.
The other destination for these tractor units is overseas. Many trucks are exported to African countries where they drive on the left side of the road – therefore needing well-maintained right-hand drive used tractor units from the UK.
With three axles to spread the load, a 6×2 – or three-axle – tractor unit is able to carry up to the legal limit of 44 tonnes gross trail weight in the UK. There is still only one axle that does the driving in this example (the ‘6’ meaning six points of contact to the ground and the ‘2’ meaning the number of these that are powered and drive the truck forward.
Sure, the trucks are slightly heavier with the extra axle – let’s say an extra 1 tonne to 1500kgs, but this is more than compensated for by the additional 4 tonnes payload allowance.
These trucks should be better for the UK’s roads, as more axles means a better spread of weight. With a three-axle semi-trailer in both examples, the weight across each axle of a 6×2 tractor unit is lower than that of a 4×2.
There are a number of options how to add the extra axle. Check out DAF’s graphic which explains these.
You can have the axle placed before the drive axle, in the middle of the truck (Mid-axle) or it can go afterwards (rear axle). When not required (in other words when operating empty or only part-loaded, many of these axles are designed to lift up. This means that they are not in contact with the road and not getting worn out unnecessarily. These are called, somewhat unsurprisingly, ‘lift axles’. In the adverts for used tractor units in Truckpages you will see written ‘Mid-Lift’ or ‘Rear-Lift’.
These are less common sights on the UK’s roads. They are similar to a 6×2 tractor unit, but the third axle is also driven. This makes the axle heavier, as it has an extra set of wheels and tyres plus a central differential and propshaft all adding to the weight.
The only reason to specify a 6×4 tractor unit is for added traction – in the case of building site operation – collecting excavators and loaders from construction sites. It would be very rare to see a 6×4 tractor unit with a lift axle – but not impossible.
The other use for the 6×4 tractor unit is in heavy haulage mode. These are trucks that have been designed specifically to be able to carry more than the 44 tonnes GTW. Some of these trucks can manage as much as 250 tonnes, but these would require more axles again!
These are specialist trucks, normally seen in heavy haulage operation or decked out in military guise. If you see these trucks for sale in the used market, they will be expensive, as they are very expensive to buy new.
North Down Grain (ND Grain) has taken delivery of six Iveco S-WAY 6x2 tractor units (AS440S48TX/FP) that aim to keep Northern Irish farmers and cows moooooving. This is the third round of Iveco tractor units that have joined the Newtownards-based haulier on contract with Lakeland Dairies, the farmer owned co-operative that has been in operation for over 100 years. Impressed by product reliability, driver feedback and dealer support, six IVECO S-WAYs are set to transport 1.8 billion litres of milk each year The vehicles are already playing a vital role in collecting milk from farms across 6 counties of Northern…>
The manufacturing facility that will be making the Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty trucks was unveiled to the public in Germany, ready to start production by year end. The first Nikola Tre models produced here will be delivered to select customers in the United States in 2022. In addition to the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production model, the next evolution of this modular heavy-duty platform was also on display to the public in the form of the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) prototype of the Nikola Tre. This subsequent model will enter production in Ulm by the end of 2023. On show:…>
Third generation family run haulage business, Moody Logistics & Storage, has welcomed its first pair of Iveco S-WAYs to its 28 strong truck fleet. With 90% of the fleet made up of 18t Eurocargo rigid and 44t Stralis tractors, Iveco S-WAY was the natural choice, continuing a long-standing relationship with local dealer, North East Truck & Van. The two Iveco S-WAY AS440S48TX/P run the Cursor 11 engine at 480hp through the 12-speed HI-TRONIX automated gearbox and a 6x2 steering mid-lift chassis. These trucks will predominantly be used to pull double-decker trailers between the Pall-Ex Hub in Leicester and Moody’s HQ…>
Bulk haulage firm, Roger Warnes Transport Ltd.is another UK company with access to the New Generation DAF XF before series production starts with a vengeance with an XF450 FTP mid-lift’ added to its predominantly DAF-based fleet. The Norfolk-based operator is one of a number of operators across Europe involved in the extensive New Generation DAF field test programme, in order to deliver the very highest standards of reliability, quality and performance from the start of series production. Bulk haulage firm, Roger Warnes Transport Ltd is one of a number of operators across Europe involved in the extensive New Generation DAF…>
We’ve read plenty about customers taking delivery of the earlier Actros Edition 1 tractor units, but the first of the new limited edition is now carrying Tiptree jams around the UK’s Roads. A limited edition of 400 worldwide with just 12 sold in the UK, the Edition 2 club is an exclusive one. At the wheel of this flagship truck is not the seasoned and loyal driver, rewarded for their effort, but a newly-qualified driver having passed their class 1 test just a month ago! The Edition 2 has lined up alongside another limited-edition Mercedes-Benz Actros Edition 1 owned by…>
The tractor units on these pages are the standard everyday units that make up the majority of the prime movers on the UK's roads.
There are plenty of other types, heavy haulage, low ride and pet regs tractor units are a few examples.
View all Tractor Units for Sale
Looking for a chassis cab truck for sale? Not sure what they are?
A chassis cab truck is simply a rigid truck that has yet to have a body put on - or more likely in the second hand world - has had the body removed.
A chassis cab can be any weight of rigid - from 7.5 tonnes right up to a 32 tonne eight wheeler.
Why no body?
You may well ask why dealers sell chassis-cab trucks and who wants to buy them? Usually the bodies are removed either because they are worn out or damaged or because...
What are Pet Regs?
For carrying dangerous loads, a specialist tractor unit is required. These vehicles must meet the 'Petroleum Regulations' or 'Pet Regs' as they are more commonly known in the industry. In actual fact they come under European-wide rules known as ADR. This may change post-Brexit, but maybe there are more important things to concentrate on.
What is ADR?
Another term applied to this type of tractor units is an 'ADR' which is a European regulation concerning the transport...
Used Heavy Haulage Tractor Units
As a specialist truck sales site, you would expect to find plenty of STGO heavy haulage tractor Units for sale at Truckpages.
These tractor units can represent a huge investment for the first owners and typically do not cover too many kilometres. Consequently the heavy haulage rigs can remain on a fleet for many years.
It is therefore unusual to find a late example of a 'Special Types' tractor unit for sale in the UK market - if you can find one then snap...