I often see a "DO NOT PUSH" sign on the back of trucks (I believe they have all been large semi-trailer dump trucks). I've even seen "YOU PUSH IT YOU OWN IT" signs on a few. This raises two questions for me:

  1. Why would someone want to push on the back of a truck?
  2. Why would the truck owner NOT want someone to push on the back of his truck?

(Just to be clear: I'm assuming that the "push"ing would be done by another truck, NOT by a person leaning on the back.)

Edit: I just saw a "DO NOT PUSH" sign on a non-semi dump truck: no hitch involved.

  • I also see signs on the back of trucks pointing at the indicators "This is not a request"...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 21:01

5 Answers 5


If the dump box gets pushed on by a truck or an end loader or whatever, it can cause damage to the box, possibly not even allowing it to dump again. The rear door, while seeming stable to you and me, would be at the mercy of an end loader or bulldozer. Some might want to push the box to get the truck to move, such as if it got stuck or needed a little extra "umph" to get started after loading and in soft soil or some such. They also might want to "help" the rear door to close (latch). There may be other reasons as well.

  • Your explanation for the damage that could be done doesn't seem right to me, as I've never seen such a sign on a standard dump truck, only a semi-trailer dump truck. I've assumed that the problem is that the hitch would get damaged, but it's strange that the hitch could tolerate such large loads when pulling the dump trailer (or braking it), while not while the truck is being pushed. Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 16:25
  • There are a plethora of references on the interwebs that support the claim. Google it. Here's one. centraltrucksales.net/blog/… Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 22:01
  • Old Q/A, but I just saw a standard dump truck with a "DO NOT PUSH" sign; no hitch involved. Thanks. Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 18:45
  • Also note that dump trucks are not often driven by the owner. IOW, sorry to say, but people don't treat or care for equipment like they would if was theirs (or understand it as deeply). They just drive it and collect the pay check primarily. So that big sign is for instances where the driver (non-owner) is stuck and might take a dozer's offer to push them out of a "situation". Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 1:27

I like to share my experience in this DO NOT PUSH dilemma. It is really simple:

  1. You can damage the whole box since it was not designed to be pushed. It's just like a shoe box: you can stack one the top of each other but you just can't push it.

  2. The whole truck suspension is designed to go forward BUT NOT to be pushed; PULL and only PULL. You can total your truck by pushing directly into the box or rear axle.

I've learned this hard way, and I'll tell you what happened to my truck. A few months ago, I got to my destination and started to raise my box when i noticed that my whole box was leaning to one side to the point where it would flip to the side. To prevent it from flipping I dropped the box down by releasing oil supply, but the box was still full of dirt so the box slammed down, my main oil line exploded and of course I wasn't able to raise the box and I got stuck and stuck for gooood.

So i called a tow truck to winch me out and one of the loaders told me that he can push me out. I told him "no you can't push a truck from the back but if you can pull me from the front that will be great." So he called out a different dozer CAT D6 that had pulling cable and he started to pull but wasn't able to pull me out and that's with me helping with my truck. So the other guy that was offering me help by pushing me from the back decided to push me from the back with his own D6.

So they got me out of there and kept pushing me and pulling at the same time and rear D6 was pushing and driving fester then D6 in the front of me. I was inside the truck and suddenly my gear shifter fell down through the floor. When they finally stopped I got out of the truck and noticed that my transmission was under my rear axles.

So, long story short, when he pushed me from the back he pushed too hard and my rear axle shifted forward and pushed drive line into the transmission and busted my bell housing, and the transmission dropped on the ground, broke the U-joint, and rolled under my truck damaging my two tag axles, ripping off my all air lines and wires, and damaging my fuel tank, air tanks, and frame.

So my truck is destroyed; DO NOT PUSH YOUR TRUCK FROM THE BACK EVER !!!

  • Hello, and welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair. Thanks for the great answer; keep 'em coming, and I hope you don't mind my edits to clean it up a bit. Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 11:02

The bed of a dump truck is only secured by two hinges and a Hydraulic hoist. It is not designed to be pushed by a wheel loader bulldozer or other piece of equipment in the event it becomes stuck.

An aluminum bed could easily be crushed just from the extra force imposed upon the tailgate, And in the least case scenario would be severely misaligned thus enabling it to close securely and preventing a load from Leaking, and depositing into the roadway, etc. Also, a misaligned push could actually bend the frame of the truck ruining its capacity to be operated safely again.


Most often these "high-sided dump trailers" go into muddy landfills and get stuck while dumping. A bulldozer or front-loader may offer to push you out, but it can easily damage the trailer if they push the door.


I always thought it had something to do with the way the semi trucks push each other down the highway I don't know if you've ever noticed but two trucks will be right Bumper to Bumper to each other and what it is it's basically the same concept of knowing NASCAR the draft pushing they'll get their drafts to the point where they're both able to go faster than their governed speed limit

  • 2
    i doubt trucks or any legal street vehicle utilizes bump drafting Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 23:16
  • 1
    At least not North of the Mason-Dixon ....
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 3:50
  • @SteveRacer Eaaast bound and doooown Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 16:28
  • Heavy Hauler . . . Smokies at mile 18.
    – John Canon
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 1:04

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