In The Beginning...

Topic 23774 | Page 1

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JoAnne EC's Comment
member avatar

Hey guys! Going to be getting my CDL in the near-ish future and have a potentially silly question: I have never driven a standard transmission before and am wondering if I should learn to do this beforehand or if anyone knows if schools will teach you this. I'm thinking it may be easier to just learn in a rig as I know there are differences in how far you engage the clutch and possibly other differences. Any thoughts / advice are much appreciated. Thanks!

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.
Harry H. [ navypoppop ]'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, I would say yes as it never hurts to know how or if a company you drive for has standard transmissions. Mostly everyone else here on the forum will tell you that most companies now are going with automatics so the decision is yours. Good luck to you.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Waste of time to learn manual shifting in a car or light truck as a requisite to your training. Many times it’s actually a detriment and harder to unlearn techniques that in a Class 7 or 8 multi-range manual; flat out won’t work. Safe the effort.

“Yes” they will teach you how-to shift in trucking school unless auto-shift trucks are the only option. Keep in mind the entire industry is quickly transitioning away from manual transmissions to auto-shift. It’s been almost a year since I have driven a manual tractor.

Chris I.'s Comment
member avatar

The company I just applied to is all automatic. If you want the "automatic only" restriction off your CDL they make you bear the expense of an extra week at driving school. I'm on the fence about weather to pocket the expense. Good Luck JoAnne!

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hi, I would say yes as it never hurts to know how or if a company you drive for has standard transmissions. Mostly everyone else here on the forum will tell you that most companies now are going with automatics so the decision is yours. Good luck to you.

Sorry Pop-Pop, but I disagree with learning how-to manually shift a light vehicle, including most medium duty trucks.

It can actually make it more difficult to learn double-clutching, splitting and meshing unsynchronized gears using engine RPMs.

The part about companies switching to auto-shift is absolutely true.

JoAnne EC's Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys! I was thinking that it may be more confusing to learn on a 4-wheeler then turn around and try to learn on a rig so I'm hoping just to pick it up in school. I'd love to ride along w/ someone for a day or two and just sort of observe (but I know there are a lot of different transmissions). Can't wait to join you all on the roads! Safe travels, everyone!

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys! I was thinking that it may be more confusing to learn on a 4-wheeler then turn around and try to learn on a rig so I'm hoping just to pick it up in school. I'd love to ride along w/ someone for a day or two and just sort of observe (but I know there are a lot of different transmissions). Can't wait to join you all on the roads! Safe travels, everyone!

I think you would be better off watching some videos on shifting a 10 speed transmission, then learning at school. I think knowing how on a 4 wheeler will ingrain bad habits, and also stress you out for no reason, as it will not apply in any way to driving a manual in a semi, other than possibly the shift pattern, and the fact that both involve a clutch, though in completely different ways. In a 4 wheeler, you push the clutch all the way down, or close to it, in a semi, that is a no no

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Grumps is right: there is little in common between shifting a 4 wheeler and an 18 wheel big rig. True, though, watching some videos can help you see what's going on. (WARNING Will Robinson!! Do not do anything with "floating" gears where you don't use the clutch all. This a common practice with truck drivers but it isn't allowed in training or in your CDL drive test.)

Here's a decent video for you:

[Tutorial] 10 Speed Shifting Tips by CDL College

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.
JoAnne EC's Comment
member avatar

"I think you would be better off watching some videos on shifting a 10 speed transmission, then learning at school. I think knowing how on a 4 wheeler will ingrain bad habits, and also stress you out for no reason, as it will not apply in any way to driving a manual in a semi, other than possibly the shift pattern, and the fact that both involve a clutch, though in completely different ways. In a 4 wheeler, you push the clutch all the way down, or close to it, in a semi, that is a no no" ~Grumpy Old Man

Kind of what I was thinking - thanks for the reinforcement! I will check out that video Errol - thank you!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jo Anne commenting on Grumpy’s suggestion...

I think you would be better off watching some videos on shifting a 10 speed transmission, then learning at school.

I do not agree with the above statement if taken at total face-value.

Watching videos on shifting is only going to provide a conceptual overview and approach. Although it’s a good supplement, it is not a replacement for learning how-to shift under the watchful eye of an instructor like Errol.

There is no shortcut or substitute for practice and repetition. Experience is the best and most consistent teacher. Same holds true for learning PTI, backing, and highway operation.

Even the good videos are not a substitute for hands-on instruction.

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