Getting 1yr experience on automatics

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Burgs, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Burgs

    Burgs Light Load Member

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    I am curious if getting my 1 year experience at US. Xpress will be poor experience a year from now when I am interested in a better paying local type job that requires experience. All their trucks are automatics and I am worried my next employer might look down on it like I don't really know how to drive.
     
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  3. striker

    striker Road Train Member

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    personally I'd rather get a year with manuals before going to autoshifts. I've driven primarily autoshifts for almost 10yrs, but if I need to use one of our freightshakers, which are manuals, it only takes me 15 or 20 minutes to re-learn the pattern. But coming into it without exp. would be a pain. That said, a lot of companies are going to autoshifts.
     
  4. Burgs

    Burgs Light Load Member

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    I am confident I can walk away from a manual and come back in a year able to drive. I am sure like you mentioned I'd probably need a few times through the gears to get the pattern back down, but I have a solid understanding of it to start with.

    I am more concerned about a company looking down on it for future opportunities. I don't want to close doors by driving autoshift, but in todays economy you have to do whatever you can to work.
     
  5. 25(2)+2

    25(2)+2 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    It's different to drive an auto-shift, but not quite the same as an Allison with a torque converter.

    I find I have to pay more attention maneuvering in close quarters than I did with a clutch, making sure the trans shifts into the right gear. It is much more satisfying to me driving something without watching that idiot readout and listening to it beep if the shift parameters won't allow a shift that is well within tolerance of the engine.


    You will have the experience, driving time, and the CDL, and, local jobs would be more likely to have auto-shift than a better paying OTR job. It's really not that hard to pick up shifting a manual if that skill is needed.
     
  6. trustno1

    trustno1 Bobtail Member

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    Save your knee autos dont make you less of a driver I love my auto!!!! :laughing6:
     
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  7. Philly19

    Philly19 Bobtail Member

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    id start by driving a manual transmission first as most companies run them and if you have no prior experience driving one it can be painful, espically when you take your road test and have none/limited driving experince with one might be a rough way of going
     
  8. Truck Driver

    Truck Driver Medium Load Member

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    Are you just out of school? Driving up and down the street with an empty truck for a few weeks won't show you any more about shifting than you need to know to get by the DMV. You'll learn more if you get some real world experience with a stick. An Autoshift truck will deprive you of opportunities to learn certain things that set a guy just out of school apart from someone who's been there and done that.

    Lets say you got your year done with USX and you go do a test drive for a local job. More than likely, You'll have to drive a stick. The problem is you'd be competing with drivers that'll ,if you somehow managed to retain all your shifting ability, make you look like you're straight out of school at best. More than likely you will have lost your touch, having not shifted in a year, and it will take the examiners focus off all your other abilities. Chances are nobody hireing experienced drivers wants to take time to teach you to shift. Thats why they want experience.

    But on the other hand, I'm sure there are people that have gotten good jobs after getting thier experience at USX. I just don't think the odds would be in your favor.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  9. LavenderTrucker

    LavenderTrucker Medium Load Member

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    When I graduated from school, I was uncertain if I wanted to get into flatbeds, I had always been drawn to flatbeds, but I also heard it was hard work and people either love it or hate it. Also, being a female and only 120lbs, I knew there were tarps that weighed that much.
    Anyway, I wanted to know before I signed on with a flatbed company. So after I graduated, I hung out at a truck stop and found a flatbed O/O who let me ride along and find out how it was. I got to help tie down, tarp loads, and all of it. Of course he didn't show me how to get the fork lift driver to help with the tarps until after I got good at lifting it onto the truck. LOL But, that was good because I wanted to know if I could.
    Anyway, my point to you is, if you drive an auto for a year all is not lost, I am sure you can get someone to teach or re-teach you how to shift and get ready for the road test.
    However, I do agree with the previous poster, that there is more to driving a manual over the road than just shifting, and only experience can give you that. I am glad I was with a trainer when going through the mountains for the first time, not so much for the maneuverig of the truck, but for the shifting and picking gears. In school I learned to shift without grinding the gears, and how to find a gear if I missed. But, out on the road I learned to drive a manual truck.
     
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  10. Burgs

    Burgs Light Load Member

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    Well we shall see how the cards fall by the end of the week. I thank you all for the replies. I'd prefer to go manual but if it ends up that I am driving an auto stick then so be it. I just want to get that year behind me so I can seek better work.
     
  11. striker

    striker Road Train Member

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    just so you know, a lot of the fleets are heading towards autoshifts, slowly but it is happening. The Eaton rep was at our shop on Weds. updating some software on mine, he said that Werner, SWIFT, CR England and a couple of others are exp. with a few auto shifts to see how it works out. He also said that Wal-Mart may be going that way in the future as well.
     
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