Truck Transmissions – Different Types & Uses

Types of truck transmission

A truck transmission is a type of gearbox specifically designed for use in heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks and buses.

Unlike a car transmission, typically designed for passenger vehicles, a truck transmission is built to withstand the heavy loads and higher torque levels characteristic of commercial vehicles.

As a result, truck transmissions are much larger and more robust than their automotive counterparts. In addition, they often come with specialized features such as extra gears and reinforced casing.

While truck transmissions can be very complex pieces of machinery, they perform a vital role in keeping commercial vehicles on the road.

Today, there are many truck transmissions, each with a specific purpose. Knowing which transmission is suitable for your truck can be confusing!

In this post, I’ll discuss the different types of truck transmissions and their uses. Stay tuned for the article, where we’ll go into more detail about selecting the right transmission for your vehicle.

Types of Truck Transmissions

With so many types of truck transmissions on the market, it can be challenging to know which one is right for your vehicle.

Here’s a quick overview of the most common types of truck transmissions and their uses:

1- Automatic Transmissions

Automatic transmissions are the most common type of transmission in trucks.

They are similar to the automatic transmissions found in cars, but they are designed to handle the heavy loads and higher torque output of commercial vehicles.

Automatic transmissions are typically easier to operate than manual transmissions, making them a good choice for inexperienced drivers.

2-Manual Transmissions

Manual transmissions are less common in trucks than in cars, but they can be found in some heavy-duty applications.

Manual transmissions give the driver more control over the vehicle’s gear selection, but they can be more difficult to operate than automatic transmissions.

As a result, manual transmissions are typically only used in trucks that experienced drivers will drive.

3-Semi-automatic Transmissions

Semi-automatic transmissions are a type of hybrid between automatic and manual transmissions.

They allow the driver to select gears manually, but they also have an automatic mode that can be used for lighter loads.

Semi-automatic transmissions are becoming more common in trucks as they offer the best of both worlds: the control of a manual transmission with the ease of an automatic transmission.

4-Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT)

CVT transmissions are a type of automatic transmission that uses a system of pulleys and belts to provide an infinite number of gear ratios.

This allows the transmission to always be in the optimal gear for the current conditions, which improves fuel efficiency.

CVT transmissions are less common in trucks than in cars, but they are gradually becoming more popular in commercial vehicles.

5-Planetary-Gear Automatics (PGAs)

PGAs are a type of automatic transmission that uses a system of planetary gears to provide a wide range of gear ratios.

PGAs are often less common than other types of automatic transmissions, but they offer some advantages in fuel efficiency and durability.

6- Sequential Transmission

Sequential transmission is a gearbox used on motorcycles and high-performance cars to engage gears.

They are very similar to manual transmissions, but instead of using a clutch to engage and disengage the gears, they use a shift lever connected to a selector drum.

This transmission is often used in racing applications because it can be shifted much faster than a traditional manual transmission.

The main disadvantage of sequential transmissions is that they can be difficult to drive in stop-and-go traffic because the gears must be manually selected.

In addition, if a gear is not selected correctly, it can result in excessive wear on the gear teeth or even damage the transmission.

7- Intelligent Manual Transmission (IMT)

An intelligent manual transmission is a type of semi-automatic transmission that uses a computer-controlled clutch and shift actuators to select gears.

This type of transmission is similar to a traditional manual transmission, but the computer-controlled actuators make shifting gears much easier and more precise.

IMTs are often used in high-performance applications where drivers need to be able to shift gears rapidly.

However, this transmission type is becoming increasingly common in new cars, so repairs are likely to become more affordable over time.

8- Torque Converter Transmission

A torque converter transmission uses a fluid coupling to transfer engine torque to the transmission.

Torque converter transmissions are often used in heavy-duty applications because they can handle large amounts of torque.

The main disadvantage of torque converter transmissions is that they are less fuel-efficient than other types.

In addition, torque converter transmissions can be expensive to repair if they develop problems.

9- Tiptronic Transmission

A Tiptronic transmission is an automatic transmission that allows the driver to manually select gears.

Tiptronic transmissions are similar to traditional automatic transmissions but have an additional set of gears that the driver can select.

This allows for a more sporty driving experience and is more fuel-efficient because the driver can choose the most efficient gear for the current driving conditions.

10- Dual-clutch Transmission

A dual-clutch transmission is a type of automatic transmission or semi-automatic transmission that uses two separate clutches for odd and even gear sets.

It can opportunistically preselect the next highest or lowest gear ratio, eliminating torque converter lockup lag during upshifts and reducing gearing losses during downshifts.

This allows drivers to keep both hands on the steering wheel and makes for a more engaging driving experience.

factors to consider when choosing truck transmission

How Many Gears Do Semi Trucks Have?

Most semi trucks have ten gears, but some may have as many as 18, like the big rigs.

The number of gears a truck has depends on the make and model of the truck, as well as the type of transmission it has.

Most modern semi-trucks with more automatic gears tend to be more fuel-efficient because they can stay in the optimal gear for the current driving conditions.

In addition, more gears in semis can provide a more comfortable ride for the driver by reducing engine noise and vibration.

How Can I Find Out What Transmission I Have?

The best way to determine what type of transmission your car or truck has is to consult the owner’s manual.

If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you can typically find this information on a sticker inside the driver’s door frame or the edge of the door.

The transmission type will usually be listed as “automatic” or “manual.” If it doesn’t say, it’s likely an automatic transmission.

How to Choose the Right Transmission for Your Truck?

When choosing a truck transmission, there are several important factors to consider, including:

1-The Type of Engine in Your Truck

The engine type in your vehicle will dictate which type of transmission is compatible.

For example, diesel engines typically require a different type of transmission than gasoline engines.

2-The Size and Weight of Your Truck

The size and weight of your truck will determine how much power the transmission needs to be able to handle.

Heavier trucks will require more robust transmissions with more gears.

3-The Intended Use of Your Truck

The way you intend to use your truck will affect which type of transmission is best.

If you are doing a lot of stop-and-go driving, an automatic transmission will be a good choice.

If you are hauling heavy loads or doing a lot of off-road driving, a manual transmission will be a better option.

4-Your Budget

The cost of the transmission is another essential factor to consider.

Automatic transmissions typically cost more than manual transmissions, but they may be worth the extra expense if you’re not experienced with operating a manual transmission.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are various truck transmissions to choose from.

The best transmission for your truck will depend on several factors, including the engine type, the car’s size and weight, and the intended use.

If you’re unsure which type of transmission is right for your needs, talk to a qualified truck mechanic or transmission specialist.

They’ll be able to help you choose the best option for your particular truck and driving needs.