Are Manual Transmissions Dying?

Topic 30090 | Page 1

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Justin M.'s Comment
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New to the forum, newbie soon to be driver. Bought into the cdl training, looks like their trucks may be automatics. Putting a restriction for manual transmissions on my soon to be Cdl.

In this day in age, are manual transmission dying and autos taking over the truck world?

And how much will this restriction effect my newly sought out career?

Also what is the difficulty to remove the manual restriction, if thats what I have to do for now to gain experience.

Future thanks for the advice!


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.
RealDiehl's Comment
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Justin, it appears that most major carriers are phasing out manuals, at least for their company drivers. You still have the option to get a manual truck with Prime if you decide to lease.

Getting the restriction removed is as simple as going out with an examiner and doing a road test. I guess it's not actually all that simple though, since you will need a manual to practice with and a manual to take your road test in.

Justin M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the reply, my main concern is, if I decide to go to say a smaller company that's local. I won't be able to land a job with the auto restrictions.

My next worry is not being able to advance, 98% of the trucks I work on have always been manual. And the people driving hual anything from flatbed, refer, to heavy haul. Are auto's restricted in say heavy haul?

Been a heavy equipment mechanic my whole life, my trucking experience is moving the truck in the shop or field repairs or overhauls on the engine only. Mainly C15's lol. I'm a complete noob 🤣.

My main goal eventually would be flatbed or heavyhaul. I just wanna make sure I'm moving in the right direction for what I want to do.

If I did remove the auto restriction would company's view it as zero experience?

Sorry for all the questions lol

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

And I apologize for my lack of info. The reason you might work on so many manuals is because most major carriers have their own mechanics and shops. Their trucks are being worked on either in-house or by approved dealers. Do you work on many trucks from the major OTR carriers?

So far as flatbed... I have no clue about heavy haul. Company flatbedders use the same trucks with automatic transmissions though.

I can't imagine getting a manual restriction removed from your license would negate your prior driving experience. I see applications that require a certain amount of experience. I've never seen one that specified the experience must be in a manual truck.

Hopefully others here can add some more info for you.


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.

PackRat's Comment
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These are mostly disappearing, as you have thought. Here at Crete, about 85% of the new trucks are autos. I have requested that my next new truck be a manual again.


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.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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I'd say just get a license without the restriction, while true most companies are moving away from them not all have or will.

Mikey B.'s Comment
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Most of the large companies and many of the mid to smaller sized are getting all automated transmissions. Some flatbed companies still buy manuals and some of the smaller fleets that buy and run used trucks take manuals. The manuals are indeed a dying breed. I wouldn't be overly concerned about the restriction. You wouldn't be excluded from many companies since autos are usually, not always, but usually at least a part of most fleets, even when they run manual transmission trucks. Insurance companies give cheaper rates for autos than for manuals so companies buy them. In my opinion they are safer for new to newer drivers as well since they just drive without worrying about shifting gears which allows two hands on the wheel, hence the derogatory term "steering wheel holders". Plus, the more mega carriers swap out older trucks the more used automatics are out there.

Dwayne W.'s Comment
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I'm pretty well set on a company training program when I start next year...I've looked at a lot of them, and from what I can tell, they all train on automatics. That is, unless you go with a company like Schneider, where they "partner" with private schools or community colleges. In that route you can train on a manual - but then you're not training on the equipment you'll be driving when you're hired.

The way I see it is that I'm hoping to train with the company I want to drive for, for as long as I can. In my circumstance, it seems advantageous to train on the same kind of truck I'll be driving, and I don't feel an manual restriction will be a problem for me.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

I happened to meet a factory service rep on one of my trips. I asked about manuals vs autos. He said that many facilities have consolidated operations and that it can take days to even a week to retool for the line manuals. They often don’t have a separate line for manuals and autos anymore.

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