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Is Peterbilt Better Than Freightliner? (Full Comparison)

Peterbilt and Freighliner are both huge truck brands, however, you may be wondering which is better?

We will take a look at how good they are compared to each other. We compare the cost of maintenance and their unique qualities.

We will even look at their warranty terms, the safety of both brands, and the common problems each one has. We’ll compare the reviews and check out used trucks and more.

Here’s a quick answer to whether Peterbilt is better than Freightliner:

Peterbilt trucks are better than Freightliners in terms of build quality. They are more comfortable, longer-lasting, and have powerful drivetrains. However, they are typically more expensive Freightliners. Freightliners are better at having lower repair and maintenance costs on their trucks.

11 Important Factors when Choosing Peterbilt VS Freightliner

The important facts to consider when buying a truck are the build quality, the driver’s comfort when in motion and at rest, and the safety features of the vehicle.

Any additional or unique qualities the truck may have will also play a role.

How fuel-efficient they are will affect your earnings, so it is a good idea to choose wisely the cost of repairs and maintenance.

The initial cost of buying the truck or getting a fiance that will include interest and payment plans. The warranty on the vehicle is as important as all the rest. A truck can quickly go wrong.

Having the correct warranty will make all the difference. Selecting a used truck is not easy and will need some serious consideration, from where to buy one to how to have an oil sample checked.

All is a must for choosing your work buddy for the next few years. It is also a good idea to know common issues each truck may have. Although, this can be a grey area.

It will mostly fall to how the truck is being cared for. Any reoccurring issues will be noted by the manufacturer’s and hopefully dealt with over time.

Reviews can be helpful in choose the right truck. You will need to consider which truck you like and what it will be used.

Combine that with the review and all of the above and you are on the right path to trucking a carefree life.

Type of truck for a specific application

The truck manufacturing industry has thought everything through when it comes to specs. Both of these companies, like the rest, allow the driver to order a truck to suit their specific needs.

The driver can add axles for heavier workloads for off-road use in logging or mining. They can also choose the engine they want, depending on the interstate or rough terrain use.

The Peterbilt 367 is a great example of how to spec a truck to carry out heavy-duty tasks, with the pod-mounted halogen headlights for extra visibility and the sloping hood.

The Freightliner 122SD is cut out for the same line of work. The severe-duty truck can handle all types of weather and roads, including off-road. You can spec these and many other trucks.

The ideal way to spec a truck is to build it to deal with many types of load and terrain. Who knows, you may change your mind a mile down the road.

The Build Quality of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

No two trucks are alike. When you order a semi truck, you are building it to meet your requirements. From the seats to the dashboard, from the engine to the transmission.

The build quality of the Peterbilt is only slightly better than that of the Freightliner.

Peterbilts typically have a more luxurious feel and comfort to them while driving. The body of the truck remains intact even for an aged truck, however, a Freighliner may experience some rattle or even cracks.

Freightliner is fairly well built, but Peterbilt takes 1st place on this one.

Comfort of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

Two completely different truck brands can have the same seats and even suspension systems which then makes it a little tricky to compare the two.

Peterbilt is built more for comfort, whereas a Freightliner is built to do a job.

Freightliner lacks when it comes to comfort over the Peterbilt, their suspension isn’t as good as Peterbilt. Freightliner makes the driver work harder than is necessary for their cruise control and jake brake.

Peterbilt has a different approach. Their trucks can be set to the driver’s needs in these two areas, leaving them to sit comfortably in the seat and concentrate on the road.

However, Freightliners generally have more headroom in the cab.

Safety Features of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

A Peterbilt is equipped with a lane departure warning. It tells the driver that the truck is crossing the line into another lane. Its adaptive cruise control will readjust the truck’s speed to increase the gap between vehicles in front.

It has an object detection system that warns the driver of anything near the truck they may hit, and driver impact safety features such as Side roll protection with IMMI Rolltek.

Other Peterbilt safety features include door mirror cameras with night vision to guide the driver when reversing and automatic lights and wipers.

The Freightliner comes equipped with a 5.0 Detroit Assurance safety system. The truck detects stationary objects using sensors and cameras and reacts to them by braking either fully or partially.

Its lane assist system stops drivers from straying from their lane by warning them on the dashboard. The intelligent HighBeam feature controls when the headlamps need to be high or low.

Side guard assist detects any objects in the driver’s blind spot. And of course, Rolltek, a driver’s side airbag if the truck rolls. They also come equipped with automatic wipers.

Additional or Unique Features of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

The Freightliner has a lower air dam, tow hook covers. It has chassis fairing skirts and side extender seals.

Its active brake assists 5.0, side guard assist, and air disk brakes on all axles aids for safer and shorter stopping. This will allow the driver to save money on brake wear as well.

It has a driver’s lounge, heated and cooled seats for both driver and passenger. Both cab and door mirrors are heated and adjustable spring-loaded mud flap brackets.

The Peterbilt has a 10% quieter cab compared to other trucks with the aid of a crank-mounted fan, an engine-mounted air cleaner, and acoustically tuned engine mounts.

It has a new bumper fairing to improve aerodynamics, custom three-function LED lamps in the bumper. The rear tandem fairings and the chassis are 15% stiffer.

Unique features do not stay that way for long as other manufacturers introduce the same ideas that work for other trucks into their own, making all trucks similar in style and technology.

Fuel Economy of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

When it comes to fuel economy, we have to think about the load of the vehicle, the driver’s skills and the terrain, and the engine size. So we will make an overall calculation on these two trucks.

The Peterbilt 579 is capable of achieving 10.7 mpg. Recent tests of continuous driving through some demanding terrain have proved to be a huge improvement in fuel savings.

The Freightliner Cascadia is capable of achieving 9.31 mpg. The vehicle was tested with a load of 76,000 Ibs.

We must remember, you can have two identical trucks. They would both read close in mpg but can be significantly different depending on how it is driven, where it is driven, the wind, and the load.

Cost and Ease of Maintenance of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

A Peterbilt, in general, takes longer to maintain than a Freightliner. It is not clear if there is a lack of technicians or that they are not trained well enough, or it could even be that the trucks are harder to maintain.

Freightliner has a quick turnaround when it comes to maintenance. We should also bear in mind the difference in pricing depending on what needs doing.

The average service on a Peterbilt is around $200 to $500, including tax and fees. The average service on a Freightliner is about $200 to $600. The prices of both truck services may vary.

It also depends where you have it serviced. You would assume it would be a set price for maintenance. It seems not to be the case. Our advice is to speak to other truckers for guidance.

The Capital Cost of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

The deposit for finance on a Peterbilt or a Freightliner is around $5000 for the truck itself, and about $600 to $1000 for insurance.

To buy one of these trucks outright is like buying a house. They can cost between $30k for a used truck and around $200k for a new one.

The prices can vary on both trucks and will depend on the model, mileage, condition, and year.

When purchasing a truck of any kind, it is a good idea to shop around and take your time. If you buy a used truck, have it checked by an independent company before handing over any money.

Test drive every vehicle, as you may like the look, but may not like the feel.

The Warranty Terms of Peterbilt vs Freightliner

The Peterbilt has a Red Oval Assurance standard warranty. That covers their trucks from the factory to one year or 125k miles on more than 90 engine and after-treatment components.

They do offer additional cover packages up to 5 years or 625k miles.

The Freightliner factory direct warranty covers the engine and its major components for five years or 500k miles.

A comprehensive vehicle warranty is also available with three years or 350k miles of cover. Packages for each truck can vary. It is also worth noting that you can get an extended warranty on any truck.

A Used Peterbilt vs a Used Freightliner?

When purchasing any used semi truck, it is a gamble to how well it has been looked after. These two trucks both have good characteristics.

A 2018 Peterbilt 579 with around 390k miles can cost $99k.

A 2018 Freightliner Cascadia with 405k miles on the clock can cost $120k. These prices, as you may well know, can vary from truck to truck and dealer to dealer.

We have to consider the condition of the truck along with the mileage and age. It shouldn’t be something you rush to do. There is no easy way to gauge if a used truck is good.

They could both have been well looked after, or not. It’s best to have a mechanic who has good experience with these brands, to take a look at the truck before purchasing.

Both manufacturers offer 150 point checks on used trucks bought from them.

Typical Problems with Peterbilt vs Freightliner?

Any problem can occur on any truck at any age. You could buy a brand new Peterbilt and be in the garage a week later and the same with the Freightliners.

The typical issue with a Peterbilt is oil leaks, but, to be fair, this could happen to any truck. The steering tends to get stiff in the winter.

The wiper plug-in can short out, that may sound small, but if your driving down the interstate and it blows without you knowing, then the rain starts, you and everyone else will be in trouble.

The Freightliner hood brackets over time can break. Clearance lights above the cab windshield leak water when it rains. The sleeper cabinet’s locks sometimes break. 

The engines leak oil from the cam housing and injector lines. The coolant reservoir leaks from the level sensor.

It is safe to say that a well-looked after truck will have fewer issues.

Which is more Popular, and What do the Reviews Say?

The opinions on both trucks are mixed, with good and bad reviews. I guess it is a case of preference and bad experiences mostly.

However, it seems most truckers favor Peterbilt for their build quality. The Peterbilt is also loved more by veterans too.

The Freightliner is more loved by the newbies for its affordability mainly.

The reviews say Peterbilt is built to last but more expensive to fix. One truck owner commented on paying $5000 for a Peterbilt turbo while his friends paid $2200 for the turbo on his Freightliner.

Freightliner is slowly catching up to Peterbilt in terms of quality and durability.

However, it’s crucial to test drive both trucks before purchasing, to get a feel of the ride and cab environment. Also, your budget will play a crucial role in determining what would you go for.

Frankly speaking, both Peterbilt and Freighliner are great options. Both can do the trucking job quite well.

Happy Trucking!