Is Automatic or Manual Transmission Better for a Truck?

Every truck driver seems to have their own fervent opinion on which is better, the traditional manual transmission or the increasingly popular automatic one. While both have their staunch loyalists, like anything else there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Many times, the preference comes down simply to whichever style makes a trucker feel most comfortable. We’re here to analyze the commonly noted pros and cons of each.

Whenever commercial transportation is involved, fuel economy is at the top of the list of importance. However, with so many other factors at play, transmission has a relatively small role in how many miles you will get per gallon. In this regard, the way you drive is more important than what type of transmission you’re driving. It is true, however, that automatic trucks do tend to travel further over time, as you don’t need to release the throttle every time you shift gears. More distance traveled means higher working efficiency.

Automatic trucks also take advantage of torque converters and wider spread of gear ratios allowing better maneuverability and traction on the road. Automatic drivers enjoy a smoother ride and less risk of rollback on steep hills. In addition to these advantages, newer drivers tend to favor automatics because they can focus less on constantly changing gears and more on driving safely and efficiently. At the same time, veteran drivers trained to expertly manipulate a manual transmission may feel that it puts them at an advantage.

One area where manual transmissions clearly take the cake is the cost of the vehicle. In fact, automatic transmissions run several thousand dollars more than their manual counterparts do. On the other hand, when you consider some of the possible long-term advantages of an automatic transmission, these benefits may outweigh the up-front costs.

For this reason, many trucking companies are moving towards automatic fleets, especially for light and medium-duty trips. In the end, drivers and their employers are sure to favor the vehicle that is most productive and safe on the road. For more information on topics like these and commercial driving employment opportunities, contact the team at Platinum Drivers today!