Transmission Trends

How transmission technology has changed the work practices of the fleet technician

FM: What advice would you offer a fleet manager who was considering changing over to automatic or autoshift transmissions?

MH: I've worked with a lot of larger fleets, with 20 tractors or more, and typically, based on experience, you could take a fleet of 20 tractors and improve your fleet miles-per-gallon, because what you'll end up doing is you'll take those drivers who aren't performing as well as the better drivers, from an mpg standpoint--perhaps they don't have the experience to know when to shift correctly or things like that--the automatic transmission takes all that guesswork out of when to shift, so you end up improving those lower performers, which ends up bringing up your overall fleet average.

Driver retention is also a factor to consider. Matter of fact, if you speak with some of these larger truck fleets--for example, I know some people we are very close with--they've gone almost 100 percent to these automated transmissions because they did an evaluation and they saw less driver fatigue, which ended up driving up their mpg, and ended up reducing their accident costs.

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