Type Of Transmissions Used By Trucking Companies

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2018
Sunset over a truck stop

This is a master list of the types of transmissions used by the major trucking companies. Some fleets are fully automatic, some are fully standard, and many are a mix of both. In today's trucking industry we're seeing a major shift toward automatic transmissions. Many of the companies that have a mix of transmissions are in the process of transitioning to fully automatic fleets.

Many of these companies offer paid CDL training programs. If we have the information available we'll also list the type of transmission each company is using for training new students.

If you have information to share please email me at Brett Aquila

Fully Automatic Fleets

Mix Of Manual And Standard Transmissions

  • CFI

    CFI is almost finished switching to an all automatic transmission. They have a manual option but no clutch. There are a few older trucks with manual but they are being replaced. Updated 1/17/2018

  • Crete Carrier

    Fleet is a mix of standard and automatic transmissions. I am told within three years it will be a completely automatic transmission fleet. Trainers have a mix. Mainly, it depends on what each student can drive. Updated 1/16/2018

  • CRST

    CRST is about 75% automatics and they are in the process of switching to a fully automatic fleet. Updated 1/22/2018

  • H.O. Wolding

    H. O Wolding has a mix of 10 speed Eaton Fuller and 12 Speed Detroit Autoshift. Eventually will be all auto, but that is years down the road. Updated 1/16/2018

  • Heartland Express

    Currently a mix of both, but mostly 10 speed manuals. As far as I know, there's no plan to go fully one way or the other at this point. Updated 1/16/2018

  • Knight Transportation

    Knight is definitely moving toward a full Auto Shift fleet. There are still a few older trucks around with manual transmissions, but they wiil eventually all be gone.

  • McElroy Transport

    McElroy is a mixed fleet. All the new trucks are being ordered as automatics with the exception of some of the trainer trucks. McElroy should be all automatics within the next couple of years. Updated 1/17/2018

  • Millis Transport

    Millis is still a mix but is almost switched over completely to automatics. Updated 1/16/2018

  • Pride Transport

    Has a mix but is focusing on ordering new trucks with automatics. Still ordering some manuals to cater to veteran drivers that want them. They were asking incoming experienced drivers for their preference and trying to accomodate, but they don't guarantee availability.

    Students train on whatever is in the trainer's truck. Updated 1/19/2018

  • Prime Inc

    Prime Inc has mostly gone to automatics and is moving toward a completely automatic fleet. Updated 1/19/2018

  • Roehl Transport

    Roehl Transport uses both 10 speed manuals and automatics. Roehl will try to assign you a truck based on your preferences for manuals or automatics, but nothing is guaranteed. Updated 1/17/2018

  • Schneider National

    Schneider has a mix of both and is in the process of changing over to all automatics. Updated 1/17/2018

  • Stevens Transport

    Mix of both. In the process of updating the entire fleet to automatics. Updated 1/22/2018

  • Swift Transportation

    Swift Transportation began their auto-shift transition for company trucks about 3 years ago. I believe L/O's can optionally order a manual. Any company truck tractor purchased beyond the 2nd quarter of 2015 was configured with a 12 speed auto-shift transmission. Swift enables "manual mode" allowing the driver to select and hold a specific gear. Highly relevant for safe operation on slick roads and highways.

    As far as I know the Swift Academies are still teaching on 8 and/or 10 speed manual transmissions. That said, as a result, at least for the moment there will not be an "auto" restriction on the CDL. Once in the mentoring/road training phase, it's likely an auto-shift truck will be used. Updated 1/16/2018

  • Sysco Foods

    Sysco Foods is moving slowly toward a fully automatic fleet - updated 1/19/2018

  • US Foods

    US Foods is moving slowly toward a fully automatic fleet - updated 1/19/2018

  • West Side Transport

    Uses a mix of 10 speed manuals and autoshifts. Updated 1/24/2018

Fully Manual Fleets

Transmissions Used For Training Students By Companies Who Offer Paid CDL Training

  • CR England

    CR England is training students on automatic transmissions. You will have an "automatic transmissions only" restriction on your CDL. Updated 1/16/2018

  • CRST

    At NADTA which is the school that CRST owns, Class 203 was the last class to fully test in Manuals. Class 204 had the option of both. They preferred Automatic for ease however if you had to drive a stick, they would work with you. Class 205 and later now does it exclusively in automatics. However the schools that CRST does not own but contracts to are all sticks only. For their flatbed division (Malone) and for dedicated services routes I am not sure, however Expedited drivers and new Lead Drivers all have automatic trucks to train students due to the fact that students coming out of NADTA will have the E restriction on their license.

    Restriction E= No Manual Transmission equipped Commercial Motor Vehicle. Updated 1/22/2018

  • Roehl Transport

    Roehl does all student training on 10 speed standard transmissions. Updated 1/17/2018

  • Stevens Transport

    Their training fleet is a mix of standards and automatics but they're in the process of upgrading to a fully automatic fleet. Updated 1/22/2018

  • Swift Transportation

    As far as I know the Swift Academies are still teaching on 8 and/or 10 speed manual transmissions. That said, as a result, at least for the moment you will not have an "automatic transmissions only" restriction on the CDL. Once in the mentoring/road training phase, it's likely an auto-shift truck will be used. Updated 1/16/2018

Transmissions Used For Training Students By Companies That Hire Inexperienced Drivers

The following companies do not have their own paid CDL training programs but do hire inexperienced CDL holders who have graduated from an approved private school. They will send you out on the road with a mentor before upgrading you to solo.

  • McElroy

    McElroy trains incoming drivers on standard transmissions but will soon have some trainer trucks that are automatic and then if someone can basically do everything required of the job but just can’t really grasp the shifting they’ll switch them to a trainer with an automatic. If they complete their training the company will flag their file for driving automatics only. Updated 1/17/2018

  • Pride Transport

    Trains students on automatic or standard transmissions, which may come down to the type of transmission that happens to be in the trainer's truck. Updated 1/19/2018

  • West Side Transport

    Train all drivers with less than 6 months verifiable OTR experience in a Freightliner Cascadia 10 speed manual.

    Driver's are issued either a Freightliner Cascadia 10 speed Autoshift, An International ProStar 10 speed Autoshift, a Volvo 12 speed Autoshift, or very rarely a Freightliner Cascadia 10 speed manual, if one is available. Updated 1/24/2018

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.

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.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • OWI:

    Operating While Intoxicated

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