Picture what kind of trailer truck is Optimus Prime from the sci-fi franchise Transformers. You are probably thinking about a Peterbilt unit with a long ‘snout’, something you see in American movies. 

You do not see much of these long-snout trailer truck units in the Philippines though, and there is a reason why. Firstly, we have to define the two types of tractor trailer setup. 

Cab-over-engine vs. Cab-behind-engine

When it comes to design, trailer truck units can be distinguished between two types: cab-over-engine (COE) and cab-behind-engine (CBE). The former is more common in the Philippines while the latter is something Filipinos might have seen in American movies as they are common in the United States. 

The Cab-over-engine (COE) truck

In this design, the engine is located below the cabin of the trailer truck, giving it a flat-face look. There are pros and cons to this design as presented below: 


  1. Without the engine in front of the cab, the COE trailer truck provides an excellent view of the road from the driver’s perspective, reducing blind spots which are a major concern for truckers. 
  2. With the engine and cabin sharing the same space vertically, COE trailer truck units take up less space on the road than CBE units. This allows easier maneuver on tight roads. 


  1. Placing the engine below the cabin makes the driving experience uncomfortable as some of the vibrations could be felt by the driver sitting above. 
The Cab-behind-engine (CBE) truck

In this tractor trailer design, the engine is located in front of the cabin of the trailer truck, giving it a long ‘snout’. Here are the pros and cons of the CBE design in trucks: 


  1. Placing the engine in front of the cabin makes the ride more comfortable as the vibrations are away from the driver. 
  2. Maintenance is easier in a trailer truck with a CBE design as all it takes to gain access to the engine is opening the hood, wherein the COE design, one has to move the whole cabin to reach the engine. 


  1. A truck with a CBE design takes up more space than COE units and they are hard to maneuver on tight roads and corners. 
  2. The CBE design in trailer truck units adds more blind spots. 

Why American trailer trucks are CBE? 

While, nowadays, CBE trailer truck units are more common than COE ones in the United States, it was not the case several decades ago. COE trucks used to be more common than CBE units in North America.

Since 1935, trailer truck designs in the United States are heavily regulated by the Motor Carrier Act, which limited trailer truck length to 65 feet. A CBE design would sacrifice the amount of cargo that a truck carries as some of the space is being taken up by the snout. So, COE trucks were preferred over CBE ones back then. 

However, as trailer truck length regulations relaxed and the limit was extended to 75 feet, COE trucks fell out of favor. Nowadays, you will not see many of these trucks in the US. This design is now only common in Europe and Asia, where roads are tighter. 

The large width of American roads also allowed the widespread use of CBE trailer truck units. Thus, it became the preferred and most common truck design in the United States. 


FUN FACT: The original Optimus Prime was a COE trailer truck, but the live-action Transformers franchise made him a CBE Peterbilt unit. 

Will CBE trailer trucks survive Philippine roads?

Given the tighter width of Philippine roads, driving a CBE trailer truck in the country will not be easy. It is possible to drive a long-snout truck on the country’s spacious highways, but service roads would be inaccessible to it. A COE trailer truck is more manageable on tight roads and thus more appropriate for Philippine streets. 

Moreover, COE trucks are widely available in the Philippine market as it is dominated by Japanese and Chinese brands which are known to only manufacture units with such design. CBE trailer truck units are almost non-existent on the country’s roads. 

Autokid Truck Solutions offers quality cab-over-engine trucks which are specially reconfigured for the country’s roads. Every brand new truck you acquire from us comes with parts and aftersales support services. Give us a call at +639176530000.