Driving with a newer vehicle comes with a lot of perks: more advanced technology, less wear and tear and (hopefully) fewer repairs. At Dynamic Transit, each and every one of our drivers is either in or soon will be in a 2018 or newer Peterbilt 389. We outfit each truck with TriPac auxiliary power units (APU’s), 1500-watt inverters, bunk heaters, refrigerators, in-cab diagnostics, electronic logs and a fuel efficiency module.
We also equip all our Peterbilts with a manual transmission. Trucks with manual transmissions comprise about half of the total North America Class 8 market and are both reliable and cost-effective in many ways. The main difference between manual and automatic transmissions is the use of a truck’s gearbox. A manual transmission requires the driver to control the rig’s clutch and shift. Conversely, an automatic is comprised of a clutch-actuated manual gearbox with a computer-controlled clutch and shift actuator.
Shifting requires a lot of concentration and more physical effort than handling an automatic. A fair number of drivers feel that level of attention helps them stay more alert on the road. Many report more comfortable driving with a manual transmission – maybe because it’s what they’re used to. But, there are definitely benefits over a truck with an automatic transmission. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Trucks with a manual transmission are almost always less expensive than those with an automatic one. Because they’re a simpler machine and have fewer moving parts, they sometimes even run thousands of dollars less.
Ask almost any veteran truck driver, and he or she will tell you a rig with a manual transmission offers more control and gives more of an advantage over one using an automatic. Braking is easier, and there’s a better overall feel for the truck. Plus, drivers can control speed by letting out on the clutch, and engine braking is less complicated. Control of the truck is especially important in wintry conditions like snow and ice.
Trucks with manual transmissions also provide better acceleration, an important factor when driving up hills and other inclines. Automatic transmissions are heavier than manuals, tend to slip more easily and experience more power loss.
Measurable Fuel Efficiency
According to Consumer Reports, vehicles with manual transmissions can provide drivers with an additional 2-5 miles per gallon (MPG). Other reports say those automobiles consume 5-15 percent less fuel than automatics. For trucking companies, these seemingly small numbers can add up to big savings. If there are skilled drivers available, manual transmissions should certainly be the first choice.
Along with being easier to maintain and longer-lasting, trucks with manual transmissions are, for the most part, less expensive to repair. Automatic transmissions often have more electrical problems and take more time to service, which usually means higher costs for labor. For trucking companies, this increased service time puts part of the fleet out of service longer, meaning it’s not making money while idle. Plus, gear and engine oil deteriorate more slowly in a manual transmission, meaning fewer oil changes. By transitioning all Dynamic Transit drivers into 2018 or newer Peterbilt 389s, we’re further able to reduce maintenances costs.
As we mentioned in a recent blog, the United States trucking industry experienced a reported 592 cargo thefts of cargo theft in 2018. Each incident averaged $142,342 in stolen property. Seventy-four of those thefts were full truckloads. Not every adult knows how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, so such cars and trucks boast fewer thefts.
At Dynamic Transit, we do everything we can to ensure our drivers have the support they need to be successful in their chosen profession. Contact us to learn more.