How Bad Is It If You Don't Train On A Manual?

Topic 32284 | Page 1

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The Pelican's Comment
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The school I am trying to sign with trains all of their students on automatic transmission trucks.

However, you can request to be trained on manual trucks and they will accommodate that.

A lot of folks say it's really important to train on manual trucks. I'm a bit intimidated by it since I've never driven a manual car before. What do y'all think?

BK's Comment
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Do your training for auto. Manual training is not at all necessary for you to be a successful driver. You can learn to drive a manual and then never actually drive a truck with a manual transmission. Any company you hire on with will put you in a truck with an auto-mated tranny. There are a few exceptions to this, but you are not likely to be faced with one. Just go with auto and keep your life less complicated.

Banks's Comment
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Training on a manual isn't that difficult. It can be frustrating at times, but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Most instructors prefer students that have never driven a manual car because the shifting isn't the same, but the habits carry over.

The question I would ask the school is Can you switch to autos if you feel overwhelmed? If you can roll the dice and see what happens.

BK's Comment
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Training on a manual isn't that difficult. It can be frustrating at times, but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Most instructors prefer students that have never driven a manual car because the shifting isn't the same, but the habits carry over.

The question I would ask the school is Can you switch to autos if you feel overwhelmed? If you can roll the dice and see what happens.

Pelican, don’t listen to Banks. His first name is Manual. Lol.

Klutch's Comment
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Some LTL companies still run manuals, even if it’s only part of their fleet and will eventually transition to all autos.

Where it can be an issue for a company like this… one it limits what tractor they can put you in, often times the autos are newer which means if they hired a new guy with an auto restriction they would need to push a senior driver out of their normal truck and stick them in the manual.

For a line haul position it’s less of an issue as far as having to bump a senior man out of their truck but it limits the management again on say, sending you to do a tractor swap when your home terminal doesn’t have its own shop or if you need to swap trucks due to a breakdown.

Some issues I’ve encountered anyway. I have an auto restriction.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Banks's Comment
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It's pretty clear you never spoke to my instructor, Bruce. He would absolutely disagree with you. I remember trying to brake without shifting and him in the passenger seat yelling "SHIFT, YOU GOTTA SHIFT"..... Fun times rofl-3.gif

Old School's Comment
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Hey Pelican, you are asking some good questions. Here is an article I wrote on this very subject.

Do Real Truckers Drive Automatic Transmissions?

BK's Comment
member avatar

It's pretty clear you never spoke to my instructor, Bruce. He would absolutely disagree with you. I remember trying to brake without shifting and him in the passenger seat yelling "SHIFT, YOU GOTTA SHIFT"..... Fun times rofl-3.gif

Banks, you are hilarious. I enjoy and appreciate your comments.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
The question I would ask the school is Can you switch to autos if you feel overwhelmed? If you can roll the dice and see what happens

completely agree! Although manual transmissions are becoming more rare there are certain companies or niches in the industry that run them more frequently. I attended school 5 years ago and learned on a manual. At my first job I rarely drove a manual but it came back within the first couple minutes. Sure, it was frustrating at first having not driven a manual before but I got it figured out enough to pass my test. Most of the mega carriers by now are probably running at nearly 100% auto transmission with company drivers. Most drivers end up moving on after a year to something that fits their needs better whether it's pay, hometime, or any other factors important to you.

My opinion is if you have the option at the school you're attending always do what it takes to have the least restrictions on your license. Yes, you can always get it removed later but that involves additional testing with the state, and possibly missing out on job opportunities that you were otherwise qualified for. Also as Banks pointed out the school may let you switch to auto if you really can't get it down. Really though it isn't that difficult once you start doing it as most schools teach you on a 10 speed. Everyone does it slightly different but the basics are start in a low gear (my school had us do 4th, others prefer 1st to prevent stalling) when RPMS get between 1500 to 1700 clutch, shift to neutral, clutch, shift up. Downshifting let RPMS drop to about 1200, clutch, shift to neutral, clutch, downshift. If you miss a gear you add the numbers together to find the right gear (15 mph 1+5=6 gear, 25 mph 2+5=7th gear). When you hit 55 mph you'll be in 10th gear. My school had me make turns and come to stops ideally in 6th gear so you didn't need to use the lower gears that are easy to miss. Drive 5 mph under the speed limit and your RPMS will be in the 1200 range to drop a gear quickly if needed (such as a stoplight).

This question gets asked frequently and always have people that feel strongly on each side. Ultimately it is your choice but why not limit yourself. Same reason we recommend everyone gets all endorsements.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I did a video... 😂. Who would have guessed?

Manual Restriction?

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