Are all big trucks manual? (automatic vs manual)

In today’s article, we will discuss: Are all big trucks manuals? We will explain the difference between automatic and manual transmissions, and how a truck transmission works. 

Are all big trucks manual?

No, not all big trucks are manual. Some trucks have an automatic transmission. For example, the following companies are using automatic for the majority of their vehicles: 

  • Husky Expedited Freight.
  • Republic Services Inc.
  • Werner Enterprises.
  • FedEx Freight.
  • Barr-Nunn Transportation.

How does a truck transmission work?

The truck’s gear change devices are designed to allow the gear ratio between the vehicle’s engine and the wheels to change when the truck is decelerating or accelerating. 

Gears need to be changed for a number of reasons, including preventing overworking the engines and maintaining their unbeatable performance. There are many types of truck gear levers, including automatic and manual transmission.

Trucks use different types of gear changes. Recreational trucks feature gearshifts that are roughly similar to car gears, have up to six gears and can be manual or automatic. 

Three types of gear changes are used on large or heavy trucks, including range, divider, and range divider. Smaller trucks typically have range gear shifting, which has high-low gear splits to allow reuse of the same gear shift position.

The splitter gear shift works in much the same way as a range shift. The only difference between the range gearbox and the splitter gear is that the former uses a high-low speed split. 

This means that the gears in a gearshift are divided in two with each position of the gear lever divided in two: an inscription and a wound. The range divider gear combines the features of both the divider gear and the divider gear, allowing a long-lasting selection of speeds and positions.

The importance of shift fluid for truck transmission

The primary function of the shifting fluid is to supply an automatic transmission with adequate amounts of hydraulic pressure for unbeatable gearbox performance. Manual gears use gears, levers, and linkages that are manually operated to shift gears and engage or disengage the gearbox. 

On the other hand, automatic transmissions depend on the fluid in the gearbox to perform important functions of the gearshift device. Gearbox fluids flow at different pressure levels in automatic transmissions. Gearbox fluid pressure is determined by several factors, including engine load, gear selection, and driving conditions.

The main similarity between an automatic and a manual gear shift device is that they both require manual shifting into reverse gear and neutral gear. No hijacking, unlike a manual gearbox that requires the driver to shift each gear himself, an automatic gear-changing device only requires the driver to shift to ‘drive’ and the car will take care of the rest.

The transmission or gear lever of a car plays several important roles in the performance of transportation. Learning the type of gear lever you have on your truck will help you determine which one to buy in case you need a replacement.

Difference between automatic and manual transmission for trucks

  1. Manual gearbox. In the event that we opt for a manual gearbox, the driver is the one who must alter the transmission ratio using the gear lever. Since it is a simpler mechanism, it also offers advantages in terms of durability and simplicity of the components, so that the cost of manufacture, purchase and repair is usually lower than that of its counterpart.

Similarly, it provides greater freedom when handling the unit; the driver will only have to have assimilated the touch of the clutch to perform certain manoeuvres and achieve a specific behaviour. 

The rider is 100% in charge of when and how to change gears, at what revs and how to use the transmission to take advantage of the famous engine brake. It even offers users the possibility to anticipate changes or avoid them altogether, useful and practical knowledge that is acquired through experience, but which is only applicable when there is a manual box.

As far as driving is concerned, it is a greater challenge for the person because it requires coordination of all four limbs to put the car in motion, so the learning process is slower. 

Another disadvantage of this mechanism is that they are more susceptible to breakdowns, especially due to incorrect use and the pilot’s habits. As if that were not enough, they appear to be destined for extinction due to the emergence of electric and autonomous driving cars.

  1. Automatic gearbox. The comparison between manual and automatic gearbox is always fruitful, as it helps to decide which one best suits our needs. Unlike the first, an automatic transmission uses a planetary gear system instead of pinions, which are responsible for varying the gear ratio without having to gear on our own. 

The clutches and brakes are the ones that choose the components that will rotate and those that will remain static. For this, there is the torque converter, which replaces the clutch of a manual car; the function is similar: connect and disconnect the power delivered by the engine to the transmission.

One of the virtues of the automatic gearbox is the comfort it offers to the user, in addition to its extreme functionality for urban environments. The absence of the third pedal allows us to focus on the steering wheel manoeuvres since we will only have to brake and accelerate with the pedals. 

Similarly, they are more adaptable to technological innovations, especially to driver assistance systems. Despite this, it also has disadvantages such as more expensive maintenance and less emotional connection between the pilot and the unit, by not giving the user the possibility to influence the gear change with full freedom.


Choosing between a manual and an automatic gearbox for a truck will influence the driving experience; Definitely, a user who likes to feel more adrenaline through agile and daring manoeuvres is not made for an automatic transmission, which will be better adapted to those who opt for a traditional driving and that does not require to execute unconventional changes.

Do you agree with us? Please feel free to get in contact should you have any questions or comments related to the content. 

FAQ on Are all big trucks manual?

What types of transmissions are there?

Most of the time we speak about two types of transmissions:

  • Manual. The mechanical box is the only one that requires a clutch pedal. 
  • Automated or sequential. This is the same manual gearbox, but with an electromechanical device that activates the clutch and causes gear changes to occur automatically.

What is the transmission of a truck?

The transmission of a truck is responsible for delivering the necessary power and movements to the wheels to make them work. However, problems sometimes arise that can make it difficult to handle the cargo truck, as transmissions see great use over the years.

How to know the type of transmission of my car?

To know the type of transmission of your car, check the gearbox. Manufacturers, as a rule, indicate information about the automatic transmission on the gearbox, or on the body of the car in the form of tablets with a set of numbers and letters. This information is called wines – code (VIN code).

What is a truck transmission system?

The transmission system of a truck allows the power and movement necessary to function to reach the drive wheels. The transmission system of a vehicle consists of a series of components in charge of driving from the crankshaft enough power to make the driving wheels turn.


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