Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions for Trucks

From compact cars to massive haul trucks or buses, automatic transmissions have become the norm in recent years. While some drivers still swear by manual transmissions, automatics have been shown to have a better overall performance in multiple areas. It’s hard to go wrong with an automatic transmission.

As a truck driver, you may be able to choose between automatic and manual transmissions for your own work vehicle. If you’re used to driving a manual shift car in your personal life, you may be tempted to stick with a manual transmission in for your haul truck. However, automatic transmissions are popular for a reason. Take a look at the advantages offered by an automatic transmission and see if they’re the best choice for your work truck.

Are you used to driving a car with a manual transmission? Here’s why your work vehicle needs an automatic transmission instead. #CopelandInternational

Ease of Driving & Training

No truck driver will debate that driving with an automatic transmission is significantly easier than using a manual. After all, on a busy highway, the driver has to vary their speed quite a bit. An automatic model can easily roll with every slight change in speed and keep the truck running safely. On the other hand, a manual model requires a stick shift and constant gear changes as the driving speed varies. An automatic transmission allows the driver to keep their eyes and attention fully on the road without worrying about what gear they’re in.

Additionally, an easier method of driving is a major appeal to the trucking industry. Qualified and interested truck drivers can be difficult to find. It’s far easier to train new recruits with a simple system, like the one made possible with an automatic transmission, than it is to teach them how to drive a manual shift. Using an automatic model could help encourage more people to give the trucking life a chance.

Fuel Mileage

The ease of driving with an automatic gear shift isn’t all in your head. As it turns out, the simpler system allows the engine to operate at a slightly more efficient rate, leading to better use of fuel and better gas mileage as a result. A 2017 study showed that Allison automatic transmissions, in particular, can reduce your yearly gas consumption by as much as 5%! Choosing these newer, more efficient models over a manual transmission absolutely pays off.

Pro Tip: A manual transmission can only attempt to copy the efficient functionality of an automatic transmission. Consequently, a manual can’t provide the same reduction in fuel waste that an automatic can.

Control over the Vehicle

Finally, the simplicity of an automatic transmission gives the driver greater control over the vehicle. And when the vehicle in question is a massive haul truck, control and safety mean a lot! While a manual transmission can allow the driver to shift gears faster, rather than waiting on the automatic model to catch up, the simplicity offered by an automatic system ensures a smoother driving experience. Automatic transmissions are simply the safer choice.

Automatic Transmissions are Here to Stay

As manual transmissions are slowly replaced by their superior, automatic cousins, the trucking industry will become more efficient and easier for new drivers to break into. Truck drivers have chosen a clear winner in the debate of manual vs. automatic transmissions.

Connect with us for a closer look at the trucking industry and how a quality transmission can make your experience better.