Tag Archives: manual transmission

Automatic vs Manual transmissions in Semi trucks 

I have to first make a disclaimer. I’m a bigot. I seem to look down my nose at those that drive trucks with automatic transmissions. The automatic is for the (as my son-in-law would say) La La Sissy Pants who can’t shift. 

Most of those people don’t have a choice. The company they drive for made the decision to change their entire fleet over to automatics. 

My introduction to the confounded things was back in 2005. Joe and I picked up trucks from US Express in California – near Fontana – and that was a sickening ride if I’ve ever had one. 

From a full stop to the first gear, pressing the accelerator while easing out the clutch, the stupid thing lunged forward for a split second. Pressing my back against the seat before sending my chest into the steering wheel as it shifted to second gear, then back into the seat to spool up for third gear. All this was within a span of 20 feet!  

Yay!  I had about a mile and a half of stop and go traffic before I would reach the interstate. That was THE most intolerable mile and a half EVER. The truck didn’t get higher than fourth gear for 15 minutes for all the stop and go. 

Once out on the highway I was a menace, I tell you. Each time I was knocked back into the seat as the engine spooled to shift, then  decreased speed tossing me forward as it shifted up I was all over the highway. Snaking around like I was drunk. Off the highway and on the shoulder, make a correction while the truck was accelerating or decelerating and I’d be off into the lane to my left. 

I cussed that truck the entire way to its destination of Phoenix, Arizona. I was so glad to get out of that stupid thing. 

My dislike of automatics have their roots in that first trip that made me so sick from all the back and forth. I got car sick really bad. Not bad enough to loop plastic bag handles over my ears to puke in the bag – just sick enough to know that I was in immenent danger of blowing chunks. 

After that experience, every time I check out a truck and find it is an automatic I invariably utter “sh*t”. 

The newer models of trucks with automatic transmissions have no clutch pedal. 

The shifting device is on the dash console. 

Automatic transmissions are supposed to be more fuel efficient and get better mileage. This one isn’t even getting six miles to the gallon. 

For an automatic transmission to work properly the batteries have to be in good condition. Low voltage means “Honey, you ain’t getting very far”. Trust me. I’ve learned that one the hard way. 

Manual transmissions are my preference. Nine or 18 speed doesn’t matter. Just as long as it is manual is all I care about. 

We will have these trucks delivered to Houston, Texas tomorrow and I will be out of that thing. Thank God it shifts smooth and is not all jerky. 

I’ll be home for two weeks in just a couple days and I won’t be thinking of any of this business during that time. I will be in my craft room.