Although it is nice to have the torque of a diesel engine in your truck while towing, it is not always needed. There are many other things to consider when deciding whether to purchase a gas or diesel truck for towing.
When it comes to towing, the top things to consider is the ability for your truck to maintain speed, carry the load, and stop the extra weight you will be towing.
Maintain or Get up to Speed
The ability for your truck to get up to speed and maintain that speed is the area that the diesel engine option is best for. Diesel engines typically create a lot more torque than a gasoline engine. That additional torque is the specification directly related to moving additional weight without too much extra struggle. The diesel engine option is going to accelerate and maintain cruising speed up inclines a lot easier than any gas engine option out there. That being said, the diesel engine option is typically a lot more expensive and not always needed.
If you are planning on towing 10k lbs or more, we would strongly encourage you to go with a diesel truck for towing. If you are towing less than that, it may not be justifiable for you to spend the extra money to go with the diesel.
Carry the Load
Diesel engines create the power to move the weight, but they are not what actually carries the load. The suspension and steering of your truck is what needs to meet the right specifications to safely tow a heavy load.
Most makes have the same suspension package available for a diesel engine or a gasoline engine. For instance, a Ford Superduty F350 is available with a gas engine or diesel. Regardless of whether you go with the gas engine or the diesel engine option, the steering and suspension is going to be the same. This will allow you to safely carry the amount of weight listed on specification label.
Stopping the Extra Weight
Although it is nice to have that diesel power to help you get up to speed, it doesn’t necessarily help you stop the weight. The newer diesel trucks do have the tow/haul mode and even an exhaust brake that helps with stopping additional weight, but those options are typically used once the weight gets heavy (over 10k pounds). The braking system of your truck is what stops the additional weight you are towing. You will want to pick a truck model designed to stop whatever weight you plan to tow. You will also want to have a good trailer brakes system in place for stopping any weight you will be towing.
Our Owner’s Thoughts on Purchasing a Diesel Truck for Towing
Over the years, I have had a large number of gasoline engine trucks and diesel engine trucks. I am a power sports guy, so I am often towing a trailer full of dirt bikes, side by side, or snowmobiles. I am currently driving a 2020 Ford F250 with the power stroke diesel. The amount of power the newer diesel engines produce will definitely impress you, but don’t feel you must have one if it is not in your budget.
Prior to buying my most recent truck, I was driving a GMC Sierra 2500 HD with the 6.0 L gasoline engine. I drove that truck to 240k miles without any major problems and it towed all my trailers just fine. It was frustrating when my buddies would blow past me on a hill with their diesel trucks but I always made it to the same destination. Now that I drive a newer diesel truck, it would be very hard to go back to my gasoline engine truck. It is quiet and has more power than I really need. I feel like I am barely using its capacity and feel it will remain reliable for a long time.