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In our last blog, we examined the gradual but inevitable shift in our industry from manual transmissions to automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and fully-automatic gearboxes. While there are several advantages to these types of transmissions, manual transmissions are still the dependable go-to, and make up close to 50% of all Class 8 semis in North America. Still, many other factors come into play when it comes to deciding whether to go automatic or not.

If you’re thinking about getting a CDL driver job in Massachusetts, we can help. We’re the go-to source of employment opportunities for truckers, and we offer information, news, and other resources about the entire trucking industry. Want to know the pros and cons of automatic transmission vs. manuals? Let’s take a look.

In This Corner…Automatic Transmissions

Fuel Economy

One of the most significant benefits of AMTs and fully-automatic gearboxes is their increased fuel economy over their manual counterparts. This can add up to not only tremendous savings on fuel, but also less maintenance over the life of the truck.

Safety and Handling

Trucks equipped with automatic transmissions allow many drivers to enjoy an ease of driving, primarily because there’s no shifting involved. This means they can place a better focus on the traffic around them. Consequently, this is also why it’s an excellent choice for drivers with less experience on the road.

Reliability and Repairs

Compared with the more traditional manual transmission, AMTs and fully-automatics could potentially cause more electrical issues. Also, there’s also the possible difficulty of finding a semi mechanic who’s well versed in this newer technology and fully understands automatic transmissions.

And in This Corner…Manual Transmissions, a.k.a. Ol’ Reliable

Fuel Economy

There’s no denying the value of the increased fuel economy for automatic transmissions. However, truck drivers with enough experience using manual transmissions can have the shifting skills necessary to compete with the fuel economy of an automated transmission.  

Safety and Handling

Because they’re continually engaged with shifting the gears, many manual transmission drivers claim it helps to keep them alert while avoiding boredom and fatigue behind the wheel. Additionally, some automated transmission trucks don’t handle that well on the snow and ice.

Reliability and Repairs

Because manual transmissions were the industry standard for so long, most mechanics are extremely skilled in repairing and maintaining these types of trucks.

Clearly, there is a shift taking place toward automatic transmissions, but manuals aren’t going away anytime soon. Ultimately, it might just be up to a driver’s personal preference. We’ll keep our eye on this trend over the next year and report back on any news or progress.

For more information or if you’re interested in a CDL driver job in Maryland, call us today at 866-823-4519.