Let’s Decode the Difference Between Automatic and Manual Transmission

Manual Transmission Breakdown Middleton & Meads

Let’s decode the difference between automatic and manual transmission for semi-trucks

Let’s decode the difference between automatic and manual transmission for semi-trucks. One of the most significant parts of a semi-truck is its transmission. While most cars are automatic, a manual transmission is more prevalent regarding semi-trucks. The movement towards automatic transmissions has been on the rise, but how does it affect your ride? Does it matter? Is there a clear-cut answer helping you lean one way or the other. Well, it depends on your perspective. Here is a clarification on the difference between automatic and manual transmission. 

Automatic Versus Manual Transmission, In General: How They Differ 

As you probably know, the most significant difference between the two is that manual transmission involves shifting gears. When you use manual transmission, you have to control what the vehicle does. You use a clutch and the gas pedals to signal the semi-truck when it’s time to shift upward or downward. Conversely, the automatic transmission does this for you via a computer that detects when changes should happen. 

How Automatic Transmission Applies to Semi-Trucks 

Automatic transmissions for semi-trucks had adaptation troubles in the beginning. The technology didn’t adapt smoothly. Either the computers or the hydraulic systems couldn’t catch what drivers wanted or couldn’t decipher. Many drivers complained about this regarding inclines and complained about semi-trucks sticking in inappropriate gears. For this reason, some drivers prefer a manual transmission. However, the good news is that transmission technology has come a long way. Transmission performance is smooth now and almost undetectable. 

A driver rarely has shifting mechanism issues due to the two-pedal design of a semi-truck. The benefit of an automatic transmission is that it allows the engine and transmission to communicate in a particular fashion. Even with all of the relative information, a driver may not be able to shift gears consistently. The engine of a semi-truck and its transmission understand what the driver wants. These two systems also consider factors such as the fuel map, the load, and the grade. 

Manual Transmissions: Are They Worth It?

A manual transmission is for the highly skilled driver. Regardless of the motor vehicle type, it takes an expert driver to handle this transmission type. Manual transmissions are more cost-effective. If you have a seasoned team, you might consider this option. However, most young drivers have probably only driven vehicles with automatic transmission. You also have to think about the stress levels associated with constant gear shifting. 

Another option to ponder is a combination of both: automatic manual transmissions or an AMT. An AMT uses computers, actuators, and sensors that help shift the fork and the clutch. The computer control system moves the manual transition’s gearbox. In short, consider the costs and the skill of your team. 


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