What Is a Tautliner Truck?

by Norah Faith

A Tautliner truck is a commercial load carrying, rigid-body truck. This utility truck with curtained sides possesses the vehicle body building industry’s highest strength-to-weight ratio pallet. It provides as much freight security as a dry utility cargo van; however, a Tautliner truck offers more cargo capacity and access than a cargo van and hence is the more economical option.


The tautliner truck body style was created and first built by the Boalloy Company, headquartered in Congleton, Cheshire, England. The company’s managing director, Gerald Broadbent, patented the Tautliner make in 1983 and he is known as the curtainsider’s inventor. Boalloy was acquired by the Stobart Group, another iconic UK road transport market player, in November 2007, when it was performing poorly. Many other companies today also offer Tautliner look-alike curtainsider trucks.


The Tautliner truck provides access to payloads through the heavy-duty back door and from both its curtain sides. Aluminum corner posts at the truck’s rear and front enhance its structural integrity. Deep aluminum rails impart roof stiffness. Tautliner trucks have laminated hardwood flooring with strong steel floor supports. The Tautliner truck’s curtains are made of PVC coated polyester fabrics with either a 2-by-2 weave or a superior 3-by-2 weave that adds 50 percent more curtain durability.

The curtained sides are secured to the truck’s tie rails with pocket-style straps. Front and back curtain tensioners hold the curtain sides taut lengthwise. Straps can withstand up to 3,000 pounds load tension. Welded vertical pockets with inner straps prevent strap wear and tear. The straps have rust-resistant, stainless steel buckles for reliable closure. The curtain sides can be lifted up with the truck’s lift-out posts by affixing them to the curtain side’s kite track assembly. The posts are movable along the truck’s sides.


Heavy-duty Tautliner trucks generally have powerful six-cylinder, turbo-charged diesel engines, power steering and ABS braking technology. Tautliner trucks are fitted with tear resistant singlewide tires that impart stability and aid fuel economy. Tautliners may be medium rigid class with a 6-ton or 8-ton gross vehicle weight (GVW), or they may be 12-ton GVW heavy rigid class trucks.


The flexible, strong curtained sides and the rear door design ensure that the full width and length of the truck can support loads equally well, maximizing payload capacity. The curtained sides and rear door provide cargo security and weather protection. Full rear and side access to cargo and flatbed systems permit fast loading and unloading, without advance first-in and last-out load planning. This saves time and transport costs. Clients can customize their Tautliner trucks by installing tail lifts or opting for curtained sides on one side of the truck and rigid paneling on the other side.


Tautliner trucks are used for secure road transportation. Tautliner trucks are built to be strong and they are generally used to transport extremely heavy items like heavy machinery. Tautliner trucks that meet the safety requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations 2009 can transport prescribed industrial waste materials safely, including hazardous wastes. Tautliner truck curtainsides can also serve as moving advertisement billboards. The “Webliner” curtain side design has horizontal seams and curtain fastener straps at the curtain side bottom to provide maximum space for the incorporation of attention grabbing, high-resolution advertisement graphics on the curtain sides.

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