Is a Diesel Pickup Truck Better for Hot Shot Trucking?

Freelance driving, such as through Uber and Lyft, has become quite popular, particularly during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While trucks are typically not able to participate in ride-sharing due to their size and accessibility issues, truck owners can do another type of freelancing job. That would be hot shot trucking. In fact, if you have a diesel truck, hot shot trucking is a great way to maximize the use of that diesel engine due to a diesel model’s superior amount of torque.

What is hot shot trucking and why is torque so important?

A 2005 GMC diesel pickup truck model with its hood raised
A 2005 GMC diesel pickup truck model | John B. Carnett/Bonnier Corporation via Getty Images

Hot shot trucking involves hauling smaller loads that are more time-sensitive and are usually to a single customer or location. It is mostly a freelance-style job, and there are dedicated hot shot load boards where hot shot truckers can pick up available jobs. It allows drivers to set their own hours as well as where they drive. You can also decide if you want to pick up short trips or longer trips that might even take you cross-country.

These loads are often available on very short notice and have a tight delivery deadline. Additionally, there is usually a lot of variety in what you are hauling, which can be interesting. Because the main thing a hot shot trucker does is haul loads, having an engine that produces a lot of torque is important because torque equals power in terms of hauling.

Why are diesel trucks better for hot shot trucking?

According to Diesel Hounds, trucks with diesel engines are better for hot shot trucking for a few reasons. As previously mentioned, a diesel engine provides more torque which is better for towing. It’s for this reason that semi-trucks are almost exclusively diesel engines. The more torque you have, the heavier loads you can tow. Additionally, for hot shot trucking, diesel engines usually have better fuel economy ratings than gasoline engines. 

Another huge benefit to a diesel engine is longevity. They are specifically built to withstand more pressure and have lower RPMs. This means that the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to get the same performance as a comparable gas engine. Because there is less wear on a diesel engine, they last much longer, over a million miles longer. Additionally, if you are in the business of hot shot trucking, you want a sturdy, reliable, long-lasting truck. Otherwise, you’ll be spending valuable time and money on repairs.

What are the limitations of a gasoline engine?

Being a hot shot trucker with a gasoline engine is not impossible, but you will have more limitations. Because a gas engine has less torque, you likely won’t be able to tow heavier loads, and you will likely be visiting the gas station more frequently. This leads to another limitation. Truck stops and refueling centers are typically diesel only, which means if you have a gas engine, you have to navigate smaller gas stations with car islands, which are tight fits, especially with a trailer. There is also a higher potential for accidents and irritating people because you take up so much room with a truck and trailer combo. 

Hot shot trucking can be a lucrative freelance business if you have a diesel pickup truck. Diesel Hounds has a handy guide to pick out the best truck for hot shot trucking if you are starting. Additionally, if you already have a diesel truck, you might want to check out hot shot trucking. It isn’t as stressful or isolating as long-haul trucking, and it is less expensive to get started. Depending on where you live and how large your loads are, you might not even need a commercial driver’s license. 

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