There are 36 million trucks registered and used by businesses in the United States. With this many trucks, there’s bound to be the perfect truck out there for your business needs.
But how do you know which one is the best semi truck for your freight shipping needs? You need a truck that you can invest in that will be both efficient and durable.
Use this guide to help you find the perfect semi-truck for your freight shipping needs.
Best Truck Brands
When shopping for a new semi-truck, some brands stand above and beyond the rest of the industry. You can have confidence in their high-quality builds and durability.
Freightliner is a division of Daimler Trucks North America. This division is known for the production of Class 8 and heavy-duty trucks.
Thanks to their commitment to excellence and innovation, they’re the best-selling trucks in America. They dominate the market with the current truck lineup and are also bringing innovation with plans to bring all-electric commercial vehicles.
Back in 1912, the founder of Kenworth decided to build a more powerful inline six-cylinder engine. They ended up creating the first commercial truck.
Since then, Kenworth has only grown to become a major name in the industry. They are now a subsidiary of PACCAR.
Founded in 1939, Peterbilt is one of the classic American brands that even people outside the trucking industry are familiar with. Peterbilt is known for producing some of the most rugged and reliable commercial vehicles on the road.
Their production focuses on vocational, medium-duty, and highway trucks.
This company is formally known as the International Harvester Company. Now known as Navistar International Corporation, they manufacture school and commercial buses.
There are nearly 1,000 dealer outlets that spread across the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico. International focuses on producing private-label diesel engine parts and fully built engines.
Volvo produces more than just cars. They also are an industry leader in manufacturing on-highway and Class 8 trucks.
When you purchase a Volvo truck, you also gain access to an extensive dealer network and industry-leading quality parts. This Swedish company also owns the Mack Truck brand.
Types of Freight Trucks
It isn’t just about buying your favorite brand of truck. You also need to buy the right type of truck for your freight needs.
Box trucks are the smaller commercial vehicles that get used for local deliveries. They transport furniture and appliances.
A dry bulk truck is the standard cab and trailer setup that we see on the roads. They come in a variety of lengths from 48 to 52 feet. These large trucks get used for intrastate commerce to transport large quantities of goods.
When the goods getting transported are vehicles, they need to be on a car hauler. These trucks have specialized equipment to secure the vehicles to the truck. You’ll see two versions, open and enclosed trucks.
If you need to ship an oversized item, then a flatbed may be the answer. This truck has a body that is flat with no sides or roof.
Tankers are an enclosed tube-shaped truck body that holds gas, liquids, and dry good in bulk. You’ve probably seen these tankers on the road hauling everything from gasoline to milk.
Large and heavy machinery doesn’t get put onto a flatbed for transport. Instead, a truck tractor gets hooked up to the machinery to haul it from one destination to the next.
What to Consider When Looking for a Semi Truck
Now that we’ve discussed different brands and types of trucks, let’s discuss the qualities you need to look for. This will help you narrow down your choice by comparing the different features.
The average horsepower for semi-trucks is in the 400 to 600 range. You need to balance your budget with the engine size you can afford.
A larger engine will last longer because it doesn’t have to work as hard. However, purchasing too large of an engine isn’t cost-effective because it’s expensive to purchase and maintain.
You’ll find semi-truck transmissions have anywhere from 10-18 gears. The more gears your truck’s transmission has, the better and more fuel-efficient it’ll run. A high number of gears give the drivers more precise control, which results in better handling.
Keep in mind that semi-trucks run for long periods of time nonstop. So you’ll want a truck that has a radiator large enough to cool the engine effectively. A smaller radiator may cost less, but it may also lack the cooling effectiveness.
It doesn’t matter how high-quality the truck is; if the tires aren’t decent, then your truck will go nowhere. Look for tires that have a high durability rating and secure handling. Remember to consider the climate and terrain where your truck will be driven.
How many and where the axles are located will dictate how much cargo your truck can carry. The more axles your truck has, the more weight it can carry. But the increased axle number also means increased purchase and maintenance costs.
When choosing your axles, balance the axle spacing with the overall length of the truck.
Find the Best Semi Truck Today
Now that you’ve finished our guide to choosing the best semi truck, you’re ready to find the perfect truck for your freight business. Compare the different brands to find the one that offers the truck you need.
Think about what you plan to haul to choose the right type of truck. Then narrow down your options by considering the different features and qualities each one offers.
Need help along the way? Check out the rest of the content on our site for more auto-related guidance!