How to Know Which Big Rig Is Right for You

Posted in May 18th, 2016
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Mack, Peterbilt, Freightliner, Kenworth… You probably recognize the names of common class 8 manufacturers, but do you know which one makes the trucktruck that suits your needs? Every big rig manufacturer has a reputation in the industry, be it for tough trucks or for cozy cabins. Whether you are looking to invest in your first set of 18 wheels or you need another truck to fill out your fleet, this truck buying guide will help you determine the rig of your dreams.


It seems that every day more and more Freightliners appear on highways around the country. Indeed, the brand is reliable and affordable, which makes these rigs excellent for owner-operators. There are dozens of features that make them highly attractive to truckers, too, like the spacious-yet- compact interior which keeps the tractor light and maneuverable. Indeed, newer Freightliners have some of the best fuel economy on the market. However, the abundance of Freightliners causes one serious downside: low resale value. The used market is flooded with Freightliners at any moment, which means owner-operators will have a hard time unloading old equipment when it’s time to update. Additionally, repair parts are some of the most expensive in the industry, making maintenance incredibly costly. So, if you are looking for a short-term commercial truck, then you can look no farther than the Freightliner.


Mack has a reputation for being the rugged big rig of grizzled truckers ? and that reputation isn’t wrong. Mack trucks have always been solid and strong with excellent power for those long hauls over the mountains. However, the newest generation of Macks is slightly smaller and sleeker, meaning the manufacturer has finally married strength and agility for better handling in the city. Now, whether you are looking for a Mack truck in the southeast or the northwest, you can be sure to find a tough, trustworthy truck.


A Kenworth offers a luxury experience unlike any other you’ll find in the eighth class. Maximized for comfort and quickness, Kenworths are beautiful behemoths on the road. Even better than their look and feel, the manufacturer consults with actual truckers during the design phase of new models, which means real drivers give practical input to help the brand build better trucks. Of course, all that specialized design doesn’t come cheap. Kenworths are some of the most expensive trucks you can buy, which makes assembling a matching fleet a bank account–buster.


When most folks imagine a semi-truck, they imagine a Peterbilt ? even if they don’t know it. With a long, square hood, a Pete has a timeless look that appeals to many truckers. The iconic shape actually facilitates maintenance on these models, allowing owner-operators to customize as they see fit. In fact, Peterbilts are some of the easiest to accessorize, and parts are relatively cheap. Still, Peterbilt offers the second most expensive rig on the market (after Kenworth) which puts them out of many price ranges. Additionally, Peterbilt’s recent advances in tech is causing many truckers to stay away, as maintenance becomes more and more laborious.


In the transportation industry, Volvo is nearly synonymous with fuel economy. The Swedish company has a well-known reputation for safety in its cars and trucks, and the safety features in its semis are also top-of- the-line. However, Volvo’s frequent updates in recent years have resulted in the most fuel efficient class 8 on the market, which is what really drives truckers wild. This impressive achievement is mostly due to the smart transmission, but truckers also truly appreciate the smooth lines created for the truck’s aerodynamics.

Western Star

For years, Western Star has produced the lowest-selling trucks on the market. The brand has long been known for its heavy-duty style, which during this age of light and airy vehicles, might have caused its recent drop in popularity. However, now owned by the same parent company as Freightliner, Western Star has regained a foothold, producing an affordable range of trucks with laudable features, like low wind noise and well-spaced seats. Best in fleets used for the heaviest of loads, these rigs don’t have much get-up- and-go, but once they start going, they keep going until you need them to stop.