By Shawn Hutchings

Oil distributor trucks, also known as asphalt distributor trucks or bitumen sprayers, are specialized vehicles used in road construction and maintenance. These trucks are equipped with a tank or compartment that holds liquid asphalt or emulsion. The main purpose of an oil distributor truck is to distribute and apply liquid asphalt or emulsion onto the road surface.

This process is commonly referred to as asphalt spraying or tack spraying. The liquid asphalt or tack oil is heated to a specific temperature to make it flowable and easily spreadable. The truck typically has a heating system to heat the asphalt and maintain its temperature during operation.
The liquid asphalt is sprayed through a series of spray nozzles or bar systems mounted on the rear of the truck. The spray pattern and width can be adjusted to achieve the desired coverage on the road surface. The truck is driven at a controlled speed while spraying the asphalt, ensuring an even and uniform application.

Oil distributor trucks are used for various road maintenance activities, including:

  •  Surface treatment: They are used to apply a thin layer of liquid asphalt on the road surface to seal cracks, prevent water infiltration and extend the life of the pavement.
  • Chip sealing: They are used in conjunction with chip spreaders to apply a layer of liquid asphalt followed by a layer of stone chips on the road surface. This process helps to seal cracks and provide a skid-resistant surface.
  • Fog sealing: They are used to spray a thin layer of diluted asphalt emulsion onto the road surface to rejuvenate and protect the existing pavement.
  • Prime coating: They are used to apply a layer of emulsion as a primer before laying asphalt or other pavement layers.

Oil distributor trucks are designed to be efficient and versatile in their operations. The efficiency of these units helps maintain consistent application rates and calculates accurate material yield on the job. These units are versatile and can adjust to application requirements on the fly and be used for multiple recipes of materials.

Here are some additional details about these vehicles:

  • Tank capacity: Oil distributor trucks come in various sizes, and their tank capacity can range from a few thousand liters to tens of thousands of liters. The tank is typically insulated and equipped with heating elements to keep the asphalt at the desired temperature.
  • Heating system: The heating system in an oil distributor truck is crucial for maintaining the asphalt’s temperature and viscosity. It typically consists of a burner or heating coils that heat the tank and keep the asphalt hot and liquid throughout the spraying process.
  • Controls and gauges: The truck’s cabin is equipped with controls and gauges to monitor and regulate the temperature, flow rate and pressure of the asphalt. This allows the operator to adjust the spraying parameters and ensure precise application.
  • Spray bar configuration: The spray bar, located at the rear of the truck, is a critical component for distributing the asphalt onto the road surface. It consists of a series of spray nozzles or bar systems that can be adjusted to control the spray width and pattern. Some trucks have multiple spray bars for wider coverage.
  • Safety features: Oil distributor trucks are equipped with safety features to prevent accidents and ensure operator safety. These may include emergency stop buttons, fire extinguishers, safety interlocks and warning signs or lights.
  • Maintenance and cleaning: Proper maintenance and cleaning of an oil distributor truck are essential for its longevity and performance. After each use, the tank, spray bar and other components need to be thoroughly cleaned to prevent asphalt buildup and clogging.
  • Environmental considerations: Efforts are made to minimize environmental impact through best practices, such as proper containment of spills, recycling of asphalt and adherence to environmental regulations. Oil distributor trucks are operated by skilled professionals who are trained in asphalt application techniques. They work closely with road construction and maintenance crews to ensure the efficient and effective distribution of asphalt, contributing to the durability and quality of road surfaces.

Oil distributor trucks play a crucial role in maintaining and preserving road surfaces. They ensure the proper and efficient application of liquid asphalt, which helps to protect the road from deterioration, enhance traction and improve overall road safety.

If you’d like to know more about oil distributor trucks, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Shawn Hutchings is a Territory Sales Manager with LeeBoy. He can be reached at