Trucks can be a large investment, especially with the combined price of vehicles and fuel these days, so it's all the more important that you know you're picking the correct truck when it's time to make a purchase. If you find yourself asking, "which truck should I buy?" it's critical to have your criteria upfront. Maybe you'll be doing a lot of hauling with it, maybe it's more for off-roading purposes, but no matter what you're purchasing it for, there's a few key details that you definitely shouldn't overlook. To help you decide on which truck would be best for you, we've compiled this guide to ensure the truck you buy matches the capabilities you need to be satisfied with the vehicle. No two trucks are exactly the same, and the differences in engineering, pricing, fuel economy and more can all factor in to sway your final decision on your purchase. Based on the needs of most truck owners, we've decided what the most important criteria are, to better help you make your decision.

1. Fuel economy.

With gas prices at record highs, it's more important than ever to ensure that you're getting adequate mileage for the fuel you put in. Without fuel, a truck is simply an expensive ornament for your driveway, so make sure you have the budget to sustainably fuel up your truck. Don't overlook diesel engines, however. Even though the fuel is more expensive per gallon, it's more efficient overall, as diesel fuel simply packs more energy per gallon than gasoline. To contrast this, however, diesel is more expensive per gallon, and there are fewer mechanics available for diesel vehicles compared to the traditional gasoline-powered engine. Your mileage may vary, of course, due to a number of factors, including the type of driving you're doing, how much weight the truck is carrying/pulling, weather conditions, and more, but EPA estimates are still a fairly reliable starting point. Even two trucks of the same make, model and year were put up against one another, the owner's treatment of the truck and maintenance regularity can create a severe impact in how the truck performs, both overall and from the standpoint of fuel economy. Driving conditions factor in as well, both extreme heat and extreme cold can impact gas mileage, with cold weather imparting a negative value on fuel economy. If you live in a particularly cold region, or when winter hits in your area, you can expect a slight downshift in fuel mileage. When you search, "what's the best truck for sale," fuel should certainly be a factor that affects your decision. As far as trucks go, the Ford Maverick and the Jeep Gladiator are two of our top picks, both getting respectable gas mileage for the cost.

2. Towing/hauling capacity.

One of the primary reasons to own a truck is for the cargo space that no other style of vehicle allows you to have. With an open bed, vertical space is less of a concern, and a hitch on the back opens up a world of possibilities for the utility of your truck. Trailers of all kinds, in addition to heavy equipment, can be towed behind the truck to take your goods wherever they might need to go. If you're looking to do some really heavy hauling, getting up into thousands of pounds of weight, you need to make sure the truck you buy is equipped for the job. If you have a fairly light trailer, and don't plan on hauling a literal ton of stuff with it, most trucks will do the job, but it's important to know where your limits lie when it comes to weight. The Jeep Gladiator is another great pick for this category, with a surprisingly high 7000lbs of towing capacity on the Rubicon edition, meaning that it can tow 3.5 tons. This means it should be more than equipped to haul even most campers, which usually range between 1 and 4.5 tons, or most trailers, depending on what you're loaded with. If you're getting up into the really heavy stuff, 15,000lbs or more, we'd strongly recommend the GMC Sierra, which is rated for 20,000lbs, as well as the Ford F-250 and the Ram 2500, both of which have similar towing capacities. If you're searching, "What's the best truck to buy," and you've got something particularly heavy in mind, it's time to go for the big trucks!

3. Additional features.

More than ever, trucks have followed the trends that cars and SUV's have been on for years, improving the ride experience and available features for trucks even beyond the degree which it has affected cars. Newer model year trucks come with a ton of features that wouldn't have even been considered 10 years ago, including tailgates that are wildly more useful than previous years, with remote opening/closing, adjustable steps and further features that enhance the utility and ergonomics of using the truck's bed. The GMC Sierra in particular is known for this style of tailgate, with extras that even allow you to flip part of the tailgate upright to be a sort of shelf while still allowing some space for cargo to stick out the back of the bed. On top of that, the size of truck cabs has also been steadily increasing, with more trucks than ever being produced with two rows of actual seating. Older readers may remember the days of jump seats in the back of older Chevrolet and Ford trucks, but these have been phased out in favor of adding another row of bench or bucket seats.

Some trucks also offer blind spot monitoring that also applies to your towing space, which requires you to input details about the trailer you're pulling so the cameras and sensors can adjust to compensate. Most truck manufacturers also offer some version of sway control for the trailer, and if you've ever driven a tall/bulky trailer in high winds, you know exactly how useful that can be. Knowing how to buy a truck based on features can help you out quite a bit, just make sure you don't end up spending extra money on a feature if you know you're not going to need it.

4. Price.

Price can't be overlooked as a factor in your purchase, as this will obviously create some limitations in what you'll be able to buy. As a general rule, the newer and bigger the truck is, the more it's going to cost, but that doesn't mean you can't find some great deals out there! This RAM 2500 is a steal at the price, and if you're looking to get your work started without breaking the bank, it would be a great choice for you. Prices can fluctuate on trucks in particular, due to changes in supply and demand, so we'd recommend shopping for one now if the need for a truck is arising soon in your future. It's not all about how to buy a truck, it's also about how much truck you can afford at the price point.

With all these in mind, you should have an idea of what make and model of truck you'd like to get your hands on. At Castle Car Company, we carry quite the variety of trucks, all of which would be great for your driveway if you've got big plans for what to do with this summer.

Castle Car Company: Top of the line vehicles at below the line prices!