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Commercial Vehicle Jargon Buster

Are you new to van leasing or would simply like to brush up on your commercial vehicle vocabulary? Our clever team of commercial vehicle experts have kindly prepared the following jargon buster list to help you talk the talk!

Whether you are looking for a van leasing deal or simply want to get the best from your commercial vehicle fleet, our dedicated commercial vehicle team work along side our vehicle and leasing experts to help you find the right van for the right job! Check out our van leasing page for more information


Axle weights

The total amount of weight each axle is permitted to carry. Split between front and rear axles. Note that the combined weight of the two axles may appear greater than the GVW. The GVW must never be exceeded.



Box Van

A chassis cab with an enclosed body in the shape of a ‘box’



Brake Horse Power

The amount of power developed by an engine. (BHP or PS)




The ‘wall’ between the driver and the load area inside the van, available in different sizes and materials.



Car Derived Van

(CDV) a van based on a passenger car with the rear seats removed and the rear side windows ‘boarded up’. Minimal weight and payload, more suitable for transporting a person with few tools.



Chassis Cab

A vehicle with a chassis and cab only, to have a body conversion fitted. E.g tipper, dropside, Luton etc



Chassis Cowl

A vehicle with a chassis with the front end and windscreen only, used for bus, minibus and laundry van conversions.



Common Rail

A fuel injection system that feeds high pressure fuel from a pump fed cylinder (the rail) to individual, electronically controlled unit injectors.



Crew Cab

An extension to the rear of a cab to provide an additional row of seating, usually for construction or municipal services.



Double rear wheels

Refer to twin rear wheels.



Drop-side Body

A body conversion fitted to a chassis cab with hinged low sides and rear end panel to restrain the load – used for loading / unloading aggregates.



Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)

A plastic material used for building bodies and lining vans – very washable and waterproof.



Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

The maximum combined weight of the vehicle and its load allowed by legislation.



Gross Train Weight (GTW)

The maximum combined weight of the vehicle and it’s load PLUS the weight of the trailer it is towing and it’s load allowed by legislation



Kerb Weight

The unladen weight of a vehicle – ie the weight of the vehicle without any load.



Braked Towing Weight


The weight of a trailer which a van is allowed to tow if the trailer has its own braking system



Unbraked Towing weight

The weight of a trailer which a van is allowed to tow if the trailer does not have its own braking system



Luton Body

A large body (similar to a box van) with the load compartment extended over the vehicle’s cab for extra space.



Operator’s Licence

Frequently referred to as an O-licence, this is a licence needed to operate commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes. The operator is subject to regular inspections regarding the vehicle’s safety and roadworthiness. An O-licence can be revoked or not renewed!





The difference between the vehicle kerb weight and the permissible gross vehicle weight. GVW minus kerb weight. The weight of the driver, fuel etc must be deducted from the payload.




Load Volume/Loadspace


The amount of space in the load area of a van. Normally expressed in cubic metres (M3)



Plated Weight


The maximum weight that the vehicle can be operated at in the UK. It is shown either on a metal plate attached to the vehicle or as a paper certificate in the cab.




Chassis Cab                                       



Vehicle supplied with just a cab and chassis rails. Will have a body fitted on it – normally a  Dropside, Tipper, Box, Luton or Curtainside




Euro Pallet

A Euro Pallet measures 1200mm x 800mm loadspace is often referred to by the number of Euro Pallets a van can hold (payload restrictions apply)



Sliding Door

Usually nearside to the kerb only as standard. A door in the side of the van body that opens by sliding along the outside of the body, thereby not blocking pavements / allowing better access.



Tachograph (Tacho)

An in cab instrument that records the vehicle’s operational data, such as speed, mileage and journey time on to a tacho disc or chart. This is a legal requirement on vehicles above 3.5 tonnes.  This also records and monitors driver’s hours.




A body conversion used to carry gravel, sand etc that uses hydraulic rams to raise the body to discharge the load.



Twin rear wheels

Usually only found on 3.5 t GVW vehicles, this vehicle type has four tyres on the rear axle ie two each side. The two slightly smaller wheels help spread the weight, often allowing a heavy rear axle weight.



Unladen weight

The weight of the vehicle with full fuel tank, equipment, driver, crew, but NO payload. Also referred to as kerb weight




Defined as the distance from the centre of the front axle to the centre of the rear axle.

Common Abbreviations



Extended chassis frame (extra long wheel base)




High roof




Long wheel base




Low roof




Medium wheel base




Medium roof




Short wheel base




Extra long wheel base


L1, L2, L3, L4




H1, H2, H3       

Low Roof, Medium Roof & High Roof

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