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Are you getting ready to buy a truck? Whether you are planning to become a first-time truck owner or you are just looking to invest in another new or used truck that’s right for your needs or budget, there are some basic guidelines that can help you make a confident and well-informed decision.

Truck Brands

Brand is a matter of preference. For instance, if you want to have easier access to parts, Freightliner and International are common brands with easily accessible parts. Volvo has a good reputation as well. This can also be said for Mack and Caterpillar. But it’s hard to say that any one brand is “the best” since there are so many other variables to consider.

Buying New

A big part of the new vs. used debate depends on what you intend to your truck for and what your budget is. The obvious plus with a new truck is everything is new and you’ll know its history. However, newer trucks break down surprisingly more frequently than you might expect. But power train is often covered for a certain period of time or for a specific number of miles with a manufacturer’s or dealer’s warranty.

Buying Used

If you are new to trucking or just looking to make an investment that’s more budget-pleasing, a used truck is worth considering. This is also true if you plan to become a trucker or owner-operator and use your truck to earn a living since you may not know for sure if this is the right move for you.

Plus, used trucks can be just as appealing as new trucks – and most of the time you can’t even tell the difference. Still, you may have to make some repairs or modifications. Still, you’ll have less insurance and taxes to pay and you won’t have to make a significant initial investment.

Taking the Right Precautions

If you do opt to go with a used truck, inspect everything before you make a commitment. A mechanic can use a chassis dynamometer (dyno) to determine if there’s something wrong with the vehicle – although not all dealers will allow this. What you can do, however, is check the VIN number at This will give you a history of the truck. Also, some used trucks come with extended warranties if you prefer added peace of mind.

‘Ugly’ Trucks

Will you be using your truck to drive to work for a later shift? Will it be mostly for occasional use? If the answer is “yes” to either of these questions, you may want to consider buying a truck with cosmetic damage.

So-called “ugly trucks” are cheaper but they often work just fine and meet all legal requirements. And you can always save up to make a buy a better used or new truck later.

WorkHorse Trucks

Macks have a reputation for being excellent heavy-duty trucks. Freightliner also makes some good “workhorses,” and you’ll be able to find parts easier since this is a popular brand. Volvo is normally focused on comfort and luxury – although the Volvo VNX is specifically built for heavy-haul trucking operations.

High-End Trucks

Peterbilt and Kenworth are the brands to pay attention to if you prefer luxury and comfort. High-end trucks, in general, tend to have a higher resale value. However, the price tag is also considerably higher. But it’s generally not advised that you make your first truck purchase a high-end model.


Detroit and Cummings are appealing when it comes to engines because it’s easier to hunt down pars. Caterpillar and Duramax also have a good reputation as far as engines go. Even so, parts aren’t always easy to find.

One other option to consider is a glider kit. This is a truck without a transmission or engine that has a new cab and chassis with rear axles. It’s an economical solution worth considering if budget is a major concern for you. Ultimately, the answer to “what kind of truck should I buy” will depend on what features and purchase-related factors are most important to you.