Euro Truck Simulator 2: Tips & Tricks (All Skills and Levels)

General guide for Euro Truck Simulator 2 with tips and tricks for all skill and experience levels.


Controls and Configuration (Gamepad)

I use an XBox 360 controller and these settings help out a lot.

Set your triggers to acceleration and braking. Don’t know why this isn’t the default setting. Set your right stick to look.

Increase your up/down look deadzone significantly. This allows you to slap your look stick left and right to scan intersections quickly without accidentally ending up staring at the floor or roof of your cab.

Increase your steering sensitivity. Matter of taste, but the default steering is just too slow for cornering at speed. If you find yourself braking mid turn to wait for your steering to catch up, this is a must.


Cruise control. Use it. I played about 20 hours without it and I can’t even guess how many speeding violations I got or how many times out of fear of getting them I travelled under the speed limit costing me time. Or how many times the distraction of having to constantly check my speed caused me to wander over the lines.

Building on that, set your cruise tolerance to zero, turn on auto retarder. You can safely travel up to 9 kph over the posted speed limit without getting cited. So set your cruise to 6 or 7 over the limit and travel at max efficiency without risking tickets. *Note: It’s been brought to my attention that the actual safe limit may be 10% over the speed limit. Have not verified.*

Watch the speed limit signs though, especially in areas where speed cameras are common. Running with cruise control it’s easy to get in the zone and miss a speed limit sign. Speeding tickets suck.

Sleep efficiency. There is no such thing as a partial rest. Every time you rest it’s going to burn 8 hours, even if you’re not that tired yet. Start looking for a place to park after the first yawn, no sooner. You’ll be fine. Don’t bother sleeping between jobs unless the job selection where you’re at is lousy or your rest meter is nearly pegged. (Hit F6 to see exactly how much longer you have before you get sleepy) Most jobs will allot you enough time to sleep once, especially after you put a few points in the long distance skill, which you’ll want to do early on. For the really long jobs you’ll have time to sleep 2 or 3 times and have time to spare for checking out new towns along your route. As of this writing you don’t get a bonus for delivering cargo early, so sleep on the clock.

Some toll plazas have EZPass lanes. You don’t have to go to green squares and stop at most plazas. You can slow to 30 kph and breeze on through the EZPass lanes, so watch for those, there will be nothing blocking the close end and a red “30” or whatever above the entrance. They take a lot of the pain out of toll plazas.

Miss your exit? Well… You won’t be penalized for driving the wrong way on the shoulder. If it’s too far to the next exit and going to take too long, just carefully pull a u-turn, get on the shoulder, and head back the way you came. Slightly terrifying, but better than wasting hours going out of your way trying to get back on the right path. Also note that if you turn slowly enough you can actually push cars blocking your trailer without causing damage. But you have to turn ever so slowly.

Try not to fuel in the UK. It’s way more expensive than on the mainland. Fuel before you cross the channel.

Never travel empty, or “bobtail.” When you go to job selection, click on the dot on the map for the city you’re in. This will list ONLY jobs originating in that city. If there are no high paying jobs, just grab a short distance job to a nearby city and try again there. And remember, $ per km is what you’re after, don’t just grab the highest total payout.

On the same topic, the payout listed includes any skill bonuses for cargo type, etc. It’s like sales tax in the EU. Included. What you see on the price tag is what you pay. What you see includes your bonuses. The math is done for you.

One additional tip on efficiency: On long trips you can and probably should edit your route. Open your world map once you’ve picked up a job and drop pins (waypoints) in towns right near your route that you haven’t explored yet to unlock the truck dealerships and recruiters there. The little time it takes won’t make you run late on the long jobs. You can also avoid 60 km speed limit country roads in Germany and manually choose to travel on the autobahn instead. Watch the upper left corner to see how much time you’re saving. Remember, there’s no penalty for arriving early. You can only drop 10 pins at a time though so if you run out, remember to stop and update your trip once you get to the last one.

Your Rig

The cheapest Iveco truck is severely lacking. Get a Volvo or one of the other trucks that starts with good baseline HP. Trust me, it’s worth saving up the little bit of extra money when you’re not crawling up hills, or when you’re driving stop-and-go in the cities. Once you get the later engine upgrades it’s incredibly satisfying passing the trucks that are struggling up hills.

Necessary upgrades. Money early game is tight. Upgrade your engine as they become available, also your tires. Grab a transmission with retarder equipped for the cruise tip above. That’s all you really need. Allison 6 speed transmissions are garbage, don’t waste your time.

Unneccesary but helpful upgrades. Put a light bar on the roof with a couple aux lights, but bear in mind they only work when your high beams are on. You’ll have to open the light menu (default F4) and check the blocks for aux/roof lights to enable them. Also get side skirts and a bull bar. These will dramatically reduce your damage when you inevitably cut a corner too sharp, get sideswiped in a roundabout, whatever. They pay for themselves quickly.

I don’t play the heavy cargo DLC, but in the vanilla game I’ve found absolutely no need whatsoever for 6 wheel chassis under any circumstances. Having the side skirts, improved turning radius, and added fuel capacity of the 4 wheel chassis are infinitely more useful. Note: I’ve read the Mercedes trucks can sport side skirts on the 6 wheel chassis, but then you’ve also got a longer wheelbase to deal with. So call this personal preference as well, but you definitely don’t NEED a 6 wheel chassis for any cargo in the vanilla game.

Starting your Business

Unless you’ve played before, wherever you chose to put your home garage chances are you’re going to end up hating the location. Don’t bother upgrading it. By the time you can afford your first garage, you’re going to want to move. Luxembourg is a great first location. Low fuel prices and lots of close-by cities to trade with.

Once you pay your first truck off, take the loan. Not the little loan. The 400k loan. It has the lowest interest rate. More on that in a minute.

Buy a garage in a good hub city and move there. (There are tutorials on how to do this, but hint, you have to move the truck first, then yourself) Once you’ve moved, sell your starting garage. Buy your second (and third, if you can afford it) trucks and put them there. Buy the junk Ivecos for your fleet trucks, at least at first. There is NO benefit to buying better trucks for your hired drivers. None. It makes no difference at all. Tip here, if money is super tight you can change the paintjob to a cheaper color to save about $500 per truck. Strip off optional accessories like the sun shield and front mirror to save even more valuable cash.

Then hire and assign your drivers. Try to start with drivers that have at least one point in long distance and one point in ADR. If none are available, no worries. Grab whoever and assign them to trucks. Manage them and set them to focus on ADR or long distance until they have a point or two in each. Then put a point into each of their skills (Except Eco, don’t sweat Eco yet) to maximize their job opportunities. Don’t want them returning bobtail either.

Back to the loan. The 12% interest on the 400k loan works out to… Well math, but it’s less than 2k per day. If you have 2 drivers they’ll make about that right from the get-go, so the loan to start your business basically pays for itself. And within a few days their skills will increase and they’ll be making more than that, so you’re already profiting. If you wait (“I don’t need no BANK to pay my way”) you’ll be losing out on a ton of potential profit. Don’t worry about paying the loan off early, just use your revenue to keep expanding.

Luxembourg (and probably most other hub cities) will support a fully upgraded and filled garage as long as the drivers have a point in each skill so they’re not competing with each other for jobs.

After your first garage though, don’t bother upgrading additional garages to the max. You can only hire about 150 drivers total and if you have a garage in each city that’s about 2 drivers per garage.

Assorted Tips

Turn up the rain. It’s Europe, not the Sahara. I find 20-25% is a good setting.

If you have a music folder on your computer, you can create a shortcut to it and drop it in the documents\ETS2\Music folder to access your music in game. Then hit R to bring up your radio. You may want to turn down the music volume to where you can still hear the truck though. I set hotkeys to turn it up and down depending on the situation. (And the song. Some songs you just need to turn up.)

Never skip skilled parking your trailer. It gets easy after a while and the experience boost is worth learning to do it. Matter of fact, just go into the gameplay options and set it to skilled only. Pop-ups ruin the immersion.

More Tips

Fuel prices:
Mother Russia has the cheapest fuel around. Not only in the East, but in Kaliningrad as well – always fill up there, sometimes worth extra 100 km.

Out of my experience, long distance sucks for AI drivers as they come back empty more often than when they do nearby jobs. So while it’s always the first skill to max for myself, I would go definitely towards balanced development (or even manual xp management for your first 5-10 drivers to avoid points in long distance)

Time Abuse:
Okay, this one is nasty and I see no reason for abusing time in a meditative game like ETS2, but if you are doing an external contract, the game tracks the cargo. Which means you go light-speed to the destination (do not damage the cargo!) with tons of fines, and then load a 15-min old save to go back it time, but stay at the place where you were when you started loading. You will lose the road discovery, but also all the fines, the fatigue, the fuel spent etc.

Your maximum loan amount is 500k. Once your cash is 100k below the remaining principle of your 400k loan, you should ‘top up’ your 400k loan by taking 100k, repaying, and borrowing another 400k (you might want to instantly repay the 100k, I prefer to keep it for extraordinary needs). 400l is the cheapest loan and you shouldn’t wait it to mature every time.

The police cars don’t ‘notice’ you on highways if they drive in the opposite direction (in the countryside they will), so sometimes you can drive safely ca. 600-700 km at average speed of 120 km/h (just remember that there are always warnings of cameras on highways). And don’t break rules that in real life, come on.

If there is no Freight Job to the city of your choice, check the External Contracts – they might have something. External Contracts still count for all the achievements, get you XP etc. – don’t be afraid to use those.

Credit to Kazmeister and mdme

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