Question. Will We Have A Choice In 5 Years Of Manual Or Automatic Transmission? I Have Been Told Things.

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Victor C. II's Comment
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So I am hearing from one of the top instructors that in 5 years all of the at least major companies will have automatic trucks and have 0 manual transmission trucks just to save a smidgen of a % of fuel. Now I am hoping that I will be able to get in to TMC and I know they have a lot if not all manual transmission vehicles. I love to shift my vehicles, and even though the automatic has less work to be done to shift it, it helps keep my knees loose since I had limes disease when I was 12 and also I like choosing when I am going to shift. I don't like the idea of a automated tranny. So what do you know? In 5 years maybe I will choose to be a owner operator if it comes to that. Of course I know what the majority here on trucking truth thinks about that and quite frankly I do understand where your coming from. I am also trying to hire my brother later on in my career but not sure how long it will take. Thanks for all of your info and have a great and blessed day with your travels! God Bless!

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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If the transmissions prove to be reliable, and get the same fuel mileage or better, then the overwhelming majority of companies that hire new drivers coming out of school will all have them. You're always going to find plenty of places that do not, though, because there will always be people who prefer to shift manually or companies that would rather not have the headache of a more complex and expensive transmission.

So I don't expect you'll see an overwhelming amount of automatics on the roads in the coming years. The major companies will mostly have them, but I expect the majority of smaller companies and owner operators will stick with standard shift transmissions.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Rick S.'s Comment
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So let me get this straight...

As a rookie just in in school - despite all the advice to the contrary, you would go BUY A TRUCK and be an O/O, SIMPLY TO HAVE A MANUAL TRANSMISSION?

Read that back to yourself, and see how much sense that makes.

5-8 years AGO (or thereabouts) autoSHIFTING transmissions - because in fact, they are DIRECT DRIVE MANUAL TRANNYS that have their shift mechanism controlled by a computer (versus fluid drive automatic car transmissions) - were rife with issues, resulting in a lot of downtime. Companies that started to integrate them, backed away to allow them to mature and work out the kinks.

Aside from saving a "smidgen of fuel" - which, over thousands of trucks and MILLIONS of annual miles, ends up to be a SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF $$ (something you would consider also, if you were an O/O and could pocket $1,000's in fuel savings annually), they actually REDUCE REPAIRS inflicted by new drivers tearing up transmissions.

I love driving a manual - every SPORTS CAR I ever owned had one. Every daily driver work vehicle, has on auto - especially for local and bumper to bumper driving. A manual is great for jumping on the highway and running the gears to cruising speed. You could go for hours without touching a shifter. Or the could be an accident, and could be sitting on a highway that's backed up 10 miles to the next exit, just creeping along shifting from 1-4 a thousand times in a 1/2 hour - sure sounds like fun to me. Or having to take rural roads through small/mid sized towns with a stop sign on every corner.

A great majority of OTR driving is going to be highway with very little shifting involved anyways. 90% (or more) of the auto-shifting transmission have "paddle shifters", or other mechanisms to shift up/down manually.

Auto Shifts are here to stay. They are as durable and trouble free as manual shift transmissions. They save $$ in fuel efficiency and maintenance. They reduce driver fatigue and increase comfort.

If I were spec'ing a truck to purchase today, it would be an auto. Nostalgia and the "fun" of shifting gets OLD - when you have to do it a thousand times a day, and it's not in a Corvette/Sports Car.

Rick

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

G-Town's Comment
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Victor...

From a purist perspective, yeah I like shifting. If I miss it, I take-out one of two remaining 10 speeds we have at the DC, had one last Saturday as a matter of fact. From a practical sense I don't really miss it that much. Now that I have gotten used to it, have a good working knowledge of how to effectively operate it, I honestly would not go back. Perhaps that's because I spend a minimum of 30% of my day either in stop-and-go traffic or urban/suburban secondary roads with a multitude of traffic lights. Less fatigue. I now realize and notice this after I spend 11 hours driving a 10 speed.

Remember these transmissions are auto shift and can be operated in full manual mode when you need total control of the gear selection (such as in snow or descending a long downhill grade). The only difference? There is no clutch to press.

Like Rick, hypothetically, if I was going to buy my own truck, I would spec. it with an auto-shift transmission with a correctly matched engine.

Old School's Comment
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Victor, we understand how all newbies are fascinated with the whole gear shifting thing, but like Rick said, "think about what you are saying."

To be an owner/operator just so you can move that shifter back and forth is really silly. I spend usually ten plus hours on the road every day. If I were to measure the time I spend shifting gears each day, I would bet it is maybe less than ten percent of my day or maybe one hour! We run these trucks on the interstates, and that is predominately where you will be. You will not be shifting those gears on the interstate.

There are much weightier issues to consider when determining whether you should own a truck or not, but I'll spare you one of my lectures. smile.gif

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Victor C. II's Comment
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I do see where I was being a bit silly lol. My bad. In the future I will probably be an O/O because I know dispute the hardships I will know what I want to dok in trucking and will know what I want to do and be able to choose what loads I do. Probably won't be able to be too picky after getting my own truck lol. Old School, Rick, Brett and G-Town thanks! Best advice possible!

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Victor C. II's Comment
member avatar

Why other than that auto-shift trannies are easier in traffic why would you if looking to be a owner operator want to have a auto-shift over a traditional manual?

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I would think the biggest reason is the fuel economy more than anything. Most fleets aren't keeping trucks long enough to have to worry about the repair costs generally because they get rid of the older trucks right around the time the warranty runs out leaving the next potential owner to deal with. You'll never see manual transmissions completely disappear though like Brett mentioned, people like them too much. The 2017 Pete I'm driving has an air over hydraulic clutch in it and it requires very little effort to engage, doesn't even give the leg a workout in comparison to the last few trucks I've been in and nothing like the old Pete I learned in years ago or the trucks we had in the military.

Oh and Rick, they're not a direct drive. Direct drive is what sprint cars use and are always engaged.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Oh and Rick, they're not a direct drive. Direct drive is what sprint cars use and are always engaged.

Direct drive, meaning they are driven through a clutch that is mechanically coupled to the flywheel on one side, and the input shaft of the transmission on the other.

Not an "automatic" transmission with torque converters, etc. - where you have parasitic losses in the drivetrain from converting mechanical energy into hydraulic energy.

Sorry for the inexact nomenclature...

Rick

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Victor, you asked why as an owner, you'd want an auto other than heavy traffic. That IS a pretty major reason for many.

I have a friend who went O/O while I stayed company driver. He went with a brand new automatic because "I'm not getting any younger." See, you're gonna keep that truck for a million miles or longer (unless you opt to have payments forever) and that's 8-10 years. Also, depending on where you operate, it may be US Highways (with lots of speed zones) you're driving, not just interstate. Add to that, if you're doing flatbed (which TMC is) you'll have even more physical stress on those knees.

I drove a new Cascadia auto for a year and a half before going back to a ten-speed with my new company. New company is great, but I sure miss that automatic.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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