Do You Know Your Truck Lingo?

By: Dave Davis

Do You Know Your Truck Lingo?
Image: PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Although most modern pickup trucks drive just as easily as a car, there's often a change of attitude when someone climbs up into an F-150, Silverado or another model and gets behind the wheel. They feel more capable, knowing that their bigger vehicle can get jobs done that a typical car couldn't even begin to handle. They look down on other cars with just a little bit of pity, wondering if the drivers of those vehicles even know what they're missing. People who drive trucks — for a living or just because they love them — can feel a bond with each other. 

And, as with other groups, people sharing that bond — a brother and sisterhood of truck driving — develop their own language. Do you think you know enough about that world to pass a test about that language? 

Pickup trucks can range in size from compact vehicles to heavy-duty monsters, depending on the job the driver needs to do. Each vehicle has its strengths and drawbacks, and drivers over the years have developed their own colorful language to communicate with each other. Some of these terms might sound self-explanatory, but others have a story behind them.

Do you speak truck natively, or have you picked up a few phrases here and there and think you could get by? Now's the time to step up and find out how eloquent you can be when it comes to vehicles that can tow their own weight. Think you can pull yours? We're about to find out!

1-Open Bed When it comes to trucks, what is the "tonneau"?
The trailer/towing hitch
The vehicle's maximum horsepower rating
The front wheels in a front-wheel-drive vehicle
The open bed
A truck's tonneau is considered to be the open area of the bed. It comes from the French word for "cask" or "barrel" and originally referred to the open passenger compartment at the rear of a car (which was often shaped like a barrel). Many trucks have tonneau covers that go over the bed.

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2-Regular Cab One of these terms is not like the other — can you spot it?
King cab
Extended cab
Double cab
Regular cab
Different manufacturers have different names for pickups with more than one row of seating, but the basic two-door, one-row truck is usually referred to as having a regular cab. "King," "double" and "extended" all have four doors and more seating.

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3-Half Ton The Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500 and the Ram 1500 all fall into which category?
Two ton
1.5 ton
Half-ton
The Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, Ram 1500 GMC Sierra 1500, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan and other similarly sized trucks all fall within the half-ton category, which includes full-sized trucks on the lower end of the scale when it comes to payload capacity.
Compact

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4-Long Bed Just how long is the bed of a "long-bed" pickup truck, anyway?
5 feet
6 feet
7 feet
8 feet
Different pickup trucks have different sized beds. For a full-size truck, a long bed usually means the bed is 8 feet long. A compact truck might have a bed only 5.5 feet long.

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5-Deisel Trucks that are "oil burners" have ... ?
Leaking valves
Diesel engines
Some truck drivers call trucks with diesel engines "oil burners." Diesel trucks have some advantages over their gas-burning cousins, including increased torque (better for towing heavy loads), better gas mileage and often cost less. They are harder to start when it's cold, however.
Bad gaskets
Low gas mileage

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6-Blacked Out What does it mean when a truck is "blacked out"?
It's running at night without headlights.
It's stolen.
There's a problem with the electrical system.
The truck is as black as possible.
When a truck is painted black, has black emblems and badges, has window tinting and everything else that can be dark is made dark, it is considered a "blackout" truck. Some trucks come in "blackout" styles straight from the factory, while others are "blacked out" as an aftermarket alteration.

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7-Dually What does a "doolie" truck have that other trucks don't?
Dual rear wheels
A "doolie," also called a "dually" or a "DRW," is a heavy-duty pickup truck with dual rear wheels. These vehicles are generally used to haul heavy loads and usually have augmented brakes and shocks, as well as large engines.
A custom paint job
A right-hand-side steering wheel
All-wheel drive

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8-Side Steps Which of the following would generally be considered "body armor" for a pickup truck?
Tubular side steps
When you take your pickup truck off-road, you're going to need some extra protection once you leave the nice, smooth paved roads. Items such as tubular side steps and bumpers, skid plates and other materials that protect the truck is highly suggested.
Bulletproof glass
Enhanced shock absorbers
"Run-flat" tires

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9-Pickup What is an Australian term for a pickup truck?
Dingo
Fair Dinkum
Ute
In Australia and New Zealand, a "ute" is verbal shorthand for utility vehicle, which may be a pickup truck or could be referring to an SUV or other vehicle that can get the job done.
Flannie

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10-Tacoma In pickup truck circles, what is a "Taco"?
A fold-down bed cover
A front-mounted winch
A Toyota Tacoma
Certain vehicles win the hearts of their owners and go beyond being a simple vehicle to them. The Toyota Tacoma, introduced in 1995, is one of those vehicles, with their diehard fans unwilling to drive any other truck instead of their beloved "Taco."
An extra bar of lighting on the roof

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11-Jackknife What happens when a truck "jackknifes"?
More than one tire blows out.
The truck and the trailer are at a sharp angle to each other.
When a truck pulling a trailer backs up incorrectly, the trailer and the truck can get into such an extreme angle that the vehicle "folds" (resembling the knife that gives us this term). This incident can also happen if a truck has to brake hard.
It flips onto its side.
It slides on an icy road.

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12-Ford What does the term "Effie" mean in the truck community?
It's a nickname for trucks make with iron (FE) frames.
It's a nickname for a truck on its last legs.
It's a specific type of Ford pickup.
When a truck enthusiast mentions an "Effie," they are referring to a Ford F-100 pickup built between 1953 and 1956. Ford trucks built between 1948 and 1952 are known as "Bonus Built," and those built between 1957 and 1960s are nicknamed "Refrigerators."
It's another name for a compact pickup.

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13-LSD What does "LSD" mean to truck drivers?
A truck deal that is too good to be true
A truck with a limited-slip differential
A truck with a limited-slip differential can allow two axles to rotate at a different rate to provide power to the wheel that needs it the most in a low-traction situation. The difference in the rates, however, is limited, giving the technology part of its name.
Drivers who think their trucks are more capable than they really are
A truck with low step displacement

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14-Flairside Which of these is another term for a side-step pickup?
Flareside
A side-step or flareside pickup is one with wheel arches that are flared outside the bed. In addition to adding to the vehicle's aesthetics, it also provided a place to step when loading or unloading the bed. Since more flare means less room for the bed, this design has fallen out of favor.
Highside
Hourglass
Coke bottle

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15-Towing True or false: "Payload" capacity and "towing" capacity are the same thing.
True — they are interchangeable terms.
True — the American market uses the term "payload," while other markets use "towing."
False — One term is used for metric weights, while the other is used in imperial weights.
False — they refer to different capacities.
A truck's payload capacity is a measurement of how much weight it can carry in its bed and passenger compartment, while its towing capacity measures how much the vehicle can carry behind it.

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16-RV What does a "dinghy" mean to some truck drivers?
A small boat
A smaller vehicle being towed behind a larger one
A "dinghy" refers to a smaller vehicle that is being towed behind a larger one; in the case of a pickup truck, the smaller vehicle is usually for recreational activity. This can also apply to a vehicle being pulled behind an RV (this vehicle could be a truck, so it works both ways).
A worker who doesn't pull his or her own weight at the job site
A driver new to pickup trucks

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17-IH Scout When a pickup truck driver is especially proud of his "corn binder," what does he mean?
His truck can use E10 gasoline.
He uses his truck on his farm.
His truck has a tow winch.
His truck was made by International Harvester.
International Harvester has long been associated with agricultural vehicles and machinery, but also made vehicles such as pickup trucks from 1907 through the 1980s. The most famous of these vehicles is probably the IH Scout.

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18-Fishtail Uh, oh! Your truck is "fishtailing"! This means ...
The truck smells bad on the inside.
The truck has water in the engine.
The trailer behind the truck is swaying, causing the truck to move from side to side.
Although cars can "fishtail" in slippery conditions as well, this side-to-side motion is especially felt when a truck is towing a trailer that is difficult to control. When conditions aren't great, it's best to slow down and maintain a distance between you and the vehicles ahead.
The truck has specialized tail lights.

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19-Hitch With a bed-mounted hitch, what is the name of the part that connects with the trailer?
Tongue
When a truck is pulling a heavy load, a bed-mounted hitch is often useful. The trailer tongue is located in the bed over the rear axle and provides the connection point to the trailer. About 20% of the trailer's weight can rest on the tongue.
Groove
Fifth-wheel
Donut

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20-SuicideDoors When a truck's rear door or doors open opposite from the front doors, what are these doors called?
Suicide doors
It's common for the smaller back doors of pickup trucks to be hinged at the back rather than the front, opening opposite of the main doors. The term for this construction is "suicide" doors. Manufacturers, understandably, don't use this term, preferring terms such as "rear access," "freestyle" or "rear-hinged" doors.
Goofyfoot doors
Reverse doors
Continental doors

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21-F-250 Which weight classification are the Silverado 2500, the F-250 and the Ram 2500 considered to be in?
Class 2
Class 2B
The Silverado 2500, the F-250 and the Ram 2500 are all considered to be Class 2B vehicles, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) range of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds. The GVWR range is the maximum allowed weight of the vehicle when fully loaded. The Silverado 1500, the F-150 and the Ram 1500 are considered Class 2 vehicles.
Class 3
Class 4

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22-Lifted Which of these is an example of a "lifted" truck?
A truck with modified suspension and large tires
When a truck has been modified to the point that a ladder is needed to get in, it can safely be considered a "lifted" truck. These trucks have modified suspension and huge tires to be run off-road or just to be on display.
A truck that has been stolen
A truck that has been made as light as possible
An older truck that has been reconditioned

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23-Gate A truck's "headache rack" is ... ?
A metal guard on the rear window
If you're hauling heavy loads, you might want to consider installing a headache rack, which is a metal guard placed in the back of the bed near the rear window that would protect the cab from a shifting load breaking through into the passenger compartment.
An especially expensive repair
The LED light bar on top of the vehicle
The tailgate

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24-Truck Truck drivers always want to minimize their bow wave. What does this mean?
They want to run their vehicle as quietly as possible.
They want to stay in higher gears while towing.
They want to cut through the air better.
The bow wave is a nautical expression that truck drivers have borrowed to describe the air being pushed by the front of their truck and/or the trailer they are towing. The more aerodynamic the vehicle, the less of a bow wave (wind resistance) they have to deal with, and the better mileage they'll enjoy.
They want to go as fast as possible.

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25-Mid Gate Not all trucks have them, but what is a "mid-gate"?
A tailgate that can fold down
A tailgate that can stop at a 45-degree angle
A door that goes from the cab to the bed
They are not a commonly used item, but a mid-gate is a door that goes from the truck's cargo bed to the passenger compartment and allows extra-long cargo to be carried. The Hummer H2 and the Chevrolet Avalanche both had this type of door.
A gate in the middle of the truck's bed

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26-Lifted When truck drivers refer to their truck's "pumpkin," what are they talking about?
The engine
The differential housing
The differential housing can be found most easily on a truck with a straight axle, especially if the truck has been raised, and looks, well, like a pumpkin.
The transmission
The grille

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27-Old Truck An axle shaft that doesn't support weight is said to be ... ?
Redundant
A "dunsel"
A freeloader
Full-floating
A full-floating axle is designed to only power the wheels without bearing any weight from the load on the truck. When an axle does carry part of the weight of the truck, it's said to be a semi-floating.

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28-Towing When a truck needs to tow heavy loads up rough terrain, which of these hitches would be up to the task?
A gooseneck
A gooseneck mount is a hitch ball that is installed in the middle of the truck's bed, over the rear axle. Trucks that are designed to pull heavy loads often have a mount for the gooseneck pre-installed and built into the truck's frame. This type of mount provides great stability, and the hitch can be easily removed if the driver needs the bed to be flat.
A fixed ball mount
A shank
A half hitch

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29-Rolling coal What is the term for a truck that is rigged to generate great plumes of black smoke?
Steamboating
Rolling coal
When a truck is rigged to put more diesel fuel into the engine than can be burned cleanly so that plumes of the exhaust are emitted through vertical stacks, it's called "rolling coal." It was also ruled illegal by the EPA in the United States in 2014 as a violation of the Clean Air Act.
Unfiltered
Pollutin'

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30-Cab A truck with a cab and no bed is called a ... ?
Flatbed
Chassis cab
A pickup truck with a cab but no bed is called a chassis cab. These are usually made so that the customer can add on their own back end for a specialized purpose; an ambulance is a good example of an end product for this type of vehicle.
Half and half
Half truck

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31-Truck A truck with a "slush box" has which of these options?
An integrated toolbox in the bed
An automatic transmission
When a vehicle has a "slush box," it means that it has an automatic transmission. This term comes from the fluid-coupling of the torque converter, which transfers the engine's rotating energy to move the wheels.
A V4 engine
Bucket seats

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32-Tires When a truck as a "PTO," what does that mean?
It has fast acceleration.
It runs better in low gears.
It has increased traction.
It can power other equipment.
When a truck has a power takeoff (PTO), that means it can power equipment from its transmission output shaft. This is especially useful for agricultural work; it's also how a firetruck's hose system is powered.

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33-Towing When do you want to use a "granny" gear?
When you are driving with skittish people
When you are driving a very old truck
When you are going down a very steep hill
When you're pulling a very heavy load
The "granny" gear, also called the "crawler" gear, is a very low gear on the transmission that offers the driver more pulling power. It's especially useful when getting a load moving from a stop.

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34-Dropside If you have a "dropside" truck, what can you do that other trucks can't?
Adjust your suspension on the fly
Remove your tailgate
Lower the sides of your truck's bed
A dropside truck has a bed where the sides are hinged so they can be lowered when loading and unloading cargo. These are generally trucks used for industrial or military purposes.
Carry unbalanced loads

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35-Bug Shield Vent visors also go by which of these names?
Sunscreens
Tinted windows
Bug shields
A vent visor, also called a bug shield, is designed to deflect insects and other debris you'll come across on the road away from the hood and windshield. They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from barely noticeable to large enough to provide a space for your truck's nickname!
Directional vents

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