PTO: What It Is and What You Need to Know

A power take-off (PTO) is a mechanical device that transfers engine or motor power from industrial equipment to various applications. PTOs are commonly used in commercial trucks to transport goods, raw materials, and finished products. They play a crucial role in ensuring these trucks run smoothly on a large scale.


Power and Efficiency of Commercial Truck Engines

New commercial truck engines are equipped with maximum power, providing energy efficiency as high as 46% and reliable performance. With automation and machine learning advancements, these engines can improve fuel efficiency on any road condition or terrain. Investing in the latest truck engines yields high returns, as they are engineered to maximize performance while lowering costs associated with fuel consumption.

How PTOs Work

PTOs are connected to the crankshaft of a truck’s engine and transfer engine power through a drive shaft to the attached components. PTOs use engine or tractor power to convert rotating energy into hydraulic power, which can then be used to drive auxiliary components such as pumps, compressors, and sprayers. These systems connect to vehicle engines via the crankshaft and are activated by levers or a switch.

Benefits of PTO Connection to Truck Engine

A reliable connection between the PTO and the truck’s engine provides several benefits, including easy operation, reduced noise levels, reliable anti-vibration performance, efficient energy transmission, and fuel-efficient and cost-saving operation.

Types of PTO Systems

Several PTO systems are available, each offering unique features and benefits. Some of these types include:

  • Split shaft: This type of PTO system uses a secondary gearbox connected by a splined shaft, allowing the driver to efficiently utilize power from any angle and engage or disengage the PTO. It is suitable for multiple applications, particularly when quick and frequent engagement or disengagement of the PTO is necessary.
  • Sandwich split shaft: This type of shaft is positioned between the transmission and the engine and can be easily removed from either end by taking out just a few bolts. With its reliable and consistent power transfer ability, the Sandwich Split Shaft has become a standard PTO system.
  • Direct mount: This system allows the transmission to divert engine power from an underlying motor to an external application. It allows compact designs, easy assembly and service, reduced parts and labor costs, easy engine maintenance access, and efficient clutch disengagement.

Uses of PTO Units in Commercial Trucks

PTO units are commonly used in commercial trucking for powering a blower system, raising a dump truck bed, operating a winch on a tow truck, running a garbage truck trash compactor, and running a water-extraction machine. When selecting the correct PTO for specific needs, it is critical to consider the type of application, the number of accessories needed, the amount of load generated, any special requirements, and the output torque needs of the system.


PTOs are crucial in ensuring that commercial trucks run smoothly and efficiently. Understanding the types of PTO systems available and their applications can help select the right PTO for specific needs.



About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.