Do Real Truckers Drive Automatic Transmissions? - Article By Old School

Topic 22581 | Page 2

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JD's Comment
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When I was young I would've said affirmative but nearing 60 and been driving an automatic for a year I love the auto once you understand how to use it it's much better all the way around

JD

Susan D. 's Comment
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My first truck as a solo driver was a Volvo Autoshift. I loved it. Next was a 10 speed manual.. love it too. I originally learned how to drive about 22 years ago on an 18 speed manual.. loved it lol. Back then you could have a CDL permit indefinitely and my husband and I owned a small trucking company.. had no intention of getting my CDL (worked in healthcare), but I loved to drive on occasion, hence the permit lol.

Anyway, my next truck? I've been told it's been ordered, but they won't tell me what it is.. already told them I'd go down kicking and screaming if it's not a manual. The truth is, I'd be happy to drive either but don't tell my company.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Colin K.'s Comment
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Thank you for another great article, Old School. It is especially timely considering my circumstances.

I'm starting training with CR England this coming Tuesday and was told that they train on automatics. Part of me said that was great as I don't have to learn how to shift/clutch, etc. Part of me was wondering if that restriction would cause people to consider me less of trucker. Silly I know, but there it is.

I decided that it probably didn't, but to have OId School, and others here, verify that conclusion makes me feel good.

Stay safe out there, Colin K.

Dave Reid's Comment
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I appreciate Old School's article and agree with every word.

That said, I would rather drive a manual. I drove a manual at first, then was switched to an auto. Now, I intend to get back to a 13 speed.

The majority of the drive shift, I'd rather have the auto.

Why then do I want a manual? Here are three reasons I can think of off the top of my head:

1) Downhills in bad weather. Sure, you can wrestle an auto into manual mode and control things that way, but when I do that I end up forgetting to shift when I need to because I'm not used to shifting. Plus there just isn't the control of the manual than can be directly shifted into the desired gear after getting the RPMs right.

2) Parking. Sometimes in tough parking situations, my auto will run out of air and then I am stuck wherever I am, holding up traffic. This is a very rare occurrence, sure - but once a year is once too often. Also, it is tough to nuance an auto-shift truck around slowly in tight areas. With the auto, just select the correct gear, let out the clutch, and put some pressure on the brake, standing ready to push the clutch in. No lurching around as with the auto. In any parking situation, I would rather have a manual.

3) This is similar to part of #2 above but deserves a line of it's own: backing in close quarters on a slope. Just this morning I had to deal with this. I pulled into an urban truck stop late at night. Of course there were no parking places. I joined a row of folks that had added a "creative row" next to the fuel islands. (Don't you hate those guys!?!) Well, last night I joined them. I needed to bust out of there a few hours later. Well....lots more folks had joined in the party such that there were now THREE rows - one in back of my row and one in front. I was pinned in. What to do? Wake someone up and get shot or beaten to death? I don't like that option. What I did do was wiggle out of there...pain in the butt...I was facing forward into a downgrade, and backing up with the auto trans in such a way as to avoid banging into the truck behind me while lurching lurching lurching was a real treat....but I got out. It would have been much easier and safer with the manual (assuming a little experience so one can creep around with that without lurching...no matter how much skill, one can't do it with the auto trans in my current vehicle - a 2017 freightshaker.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
JustMitch's Comment
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Great article. Also, the fuel savings cannot be downplayed. Automatics save 20k+ in yearly fuel. And many fleets are trying to transition into auto anyway.

PackRat's Comment
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Great article. Also, the fuel savings cannot be downplayed. Automatics save 20k+ in yearly fuel. And many fleets are trying to transition into auto anyway.

I got the exact same fuel numbers driving each variety for a year each. I expected better with the auto-shift, but it never happened.

Dave Reid's Comment
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A highly compentent gear-shifter who makes an effort to drive for fuel economy can equal the automated shift. But for the average driver, the autoshift does better.

double-quotes-start.png

Great article. Also, the fuel savings cannot be downplayed. Automatics save 20k+ in yearly fuel. And many fleets are trying to transition into auto anyway.

double-quotes-end.png

I got the exact same fuel numbers driving each variety for a year each. I expected better with the auto-shift, but it never happened.

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