Should You Buy an International Semi-Truck?

Navistar International is one of the leading semi-truck manufacturers in North America. The Illinois-based company has been producing medium to severe service duty trucks since 1902 and continues to dominate the North American semi-truck market.

And if you are wondering what makes International semi-trucks a good buy, we have listed some of the features that make the brand a dominant market player. But despite being more reliable than most, they will also eventually break down at some point. To keep downtimes to a minimum, we would recommend getting an International truck owner’s manual for the specific model you intend to buy on They cost little, but the knowledge you will get in return on troubleshooting, replacing parts, and maintaining your truck will be priceless.

Advanced Safety Features

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International leaves no stones unturned when it comes to safety. All International semi-trucks come with state-of-the-art safety and driver assistance technologies. Apart from the standard collision mitigation system, the trucks feature multilane automatic emergency braking, highway departure braking, and enhanced adaptive cruise control. This way the chances of a truck accident can decrease.

Also, keeping in mind that most trucks drive on the highway at high speeds, International has updated the Bendix™ BlindSpotter® Side Object Detection System. The Blindspotter radar is now more capable than ever, can detect objects up to 20 ft. in front and 20 ft. behind, and comes with broader 150-degree coverage (more details in your International truck operator’s manual).
The system’s high-speed highway modifications are also worth noting. According to International, the updated system can even filter out stationary objects such as guard rails at higher speeds. Not only that, but International trucks also come with an enhanced Wingman fusion system that applies increased braking power as large trucks with loads have high inertia and require more force to come to a complete halt.

Furthermore, International semi-trucks also feature a highly sophisticated Lane Keep Assist system. Not only it prevents unintended lane departures, but it also dynamically adjusts the steering wheel’s stiffness based on the vehicle’s speed. Truck accident lawyer Trent K. says: “one of the most common causes for truck accidents on the highway is driving fatigue that leads to unintended out of lane deviation.”

And that’s just to name a few. Indeed, countless other safety features make International semi-trucks a good choice when safety is concerned. Better safe than sorry, right?

Fuel-Efficient Engines

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Fuel efficiency is among the most important factors when choosing a truck. And luckily, International fares pretty well here. On average, International semi-trucks are up to 4% more fuel-efficient than their competitors.

International uses a host of clever engineering to reduce fuel consumption and maximize performance. A simplified air management system combined with a variable geometry turbocharger systematically feeds air to the combustion chamber, ensuring most of the fuel is burned and there is no wastage.

However, at the heart of International’s optimum fuel efficiency is the High-Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel system that sends fuel based on the engine’s performance via high-pressure injectors. The HPCR also helps to bring down toxic emissions and reduces fuel costs.

International’s semi-truck engines are also lighter than their competitors. For instance, the A26 is one of the lightest 12-liter engines (2,314 lbs) using an oil cooler bypass valve allowing oil to bypass the cooler in colder climates, significantly improving fuel economy.

Another exciting feature that makes International semi-trucks stand out from the crowd is the No-Idle system. The system can save up to 0.8 gallons of fuel every hour by reducing the idling time, also resulting in reduced engine maintenance costs by eliminating wear and tear due to idling.

It’s worth mentioning that you can also play a significant role in lowering your truck’s annual maintenance costs using a trusted International truck repair manual. The detailed step-by-step instructions are enough to carry out most repairs, meaning you won’t have to visit the mechanic every time something goes awry. Not sure what I’m talking about?

Comfortable Interior

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International semi-trucks come with an innovative and highly ergonomic interior especially suited for long drives. A multifunctional steering wheel makes sure you can access everything with the touch of a button. Moreover, the list of convenience-oriented features is pretty impressive, such as Cruise, Marker Interrupt, Headlight Interrupt, Radio Volume/Mute, Bluetooth, Track/ Preset Skip, as opposed to other manufactures like Volvo only offering Marker, Headlamp Interrupts, Radio, and Phone. International also boasts 26 auxiliary switches against Volvo’s 3 — if you like buttons, go for Inter!

The driver information display is also quite complete with TPMS, multiple virtual gauges, collision avoidance, trip info, diagnostics, navigation, and much more. No need to mention that International semi-trucks are pretty loaded.

International Semi-trucks vs. the competition

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At this point, there’s no doubt that International semi-trucks are a pretty good buy, but how do they fare against other manufacturers?

For a start, International trucks have excellent visibility, large swept-back windshields, well-positioned mirrors, and an aerodynamic sloped hood.
Not to be overlooked, International semi-trucks are also a lot cheaper than its main competitors. For instance, a mid-level Volvo truck can easily cost well over $100,000, whereas you can get an International for as low as $70,000.

However, for the sake of fairness, it’s important to recognize that International is outshined in certain areas. Volvo’s rear suspension system, for instance, reigns supreme over International’s, being significantly more effective at absorbing impact. The Swedish manufacturer is also widely known for its sophisticated braking system, a feat its American counterpart is yet to achieve.
Not to forget that, when it comes to overall reliability, International is pretty average. While its trucks certainly last longer than a Freightliner or Peterbilt, they pale compared to Volvo’s or Mercedes Benz’s industry-leading durability.

As a result, if you are a reliability-inclined person, we would recommend a Volvo anytime. However, for budget buyers, an International truck is a steal — it’s cheaper and comes jam-packed with features.

Last Words

International boasts thousands of happy customers across the globe and continues to manufacture pretty decent semi-trucks year after year. Hundreds of features, advanced safety systems, and industry-leading fuel-efficient engines make them a solid buy.

But buying is just the easy part. Regular repair and maintenance are the heart and soul of your truck, and that’s true for every manufacturer. Hence, make sure to inspect your truck regularly using an International truck service manual. It will guide you through the maintenance and repairs step-by-step, ensuring you always do the job right.

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