If you spend enough time reading and talking about trucks, one question inevitably comes up: what is a truck?
This, of course, is a question with highly opinionated answers and has little meaningful impact in life, but I’m passionate about trucks so I’m going to throw my opinion into the fray.
To determine whether a vehicle is a truck or not, I’ve come up with a simple test: The Manure Test.
To apply The Manure Test, follow these steps:
- Choose the vehicle that you want to evaluate.
- Ask yourself this question: “Would I willingly carry a load of raw manure with this vehicle, without any attachments or modifications?”
- If you answered “yes”, then it’s a truck. Otherwise, it’s something else.
To come up with this test, I asked myself what differentiates a truck from other types of vehicles. Features commonly listed in response to this question, such as body on frame construction or having a V-8 engine, simply aren’t unique to a truck. Many of these fearures are shared by full size SUV’s, as well as many cars designed in the mid 20th century.
The one truly unique feature that all trucks have, but other vehicle types do not, is the truck bed. More generally, a cargo area that is physically separated from the passenger cabin. The Manure Test validates this physical separation by smell. If there isn’t complete separation between manure and passengers, the smell would be over-bearing for most anyone.
If I’m ever in a discussion with someone about what makes a truck a truck, I now have an easy way to explain my thinking.