How Truckers Shift an 18 Speed – 3 Steps To Shifting – What Truck Driving Schools Don’t Teach You

As a trucker, shifting gears becomes second nature next to breathing. In this article these 3 tips will teach you how to shift an 18 speed transmission. Whether an 18 speed to an 8 speed, these simple techniques will teach you how to shift.

1st Tip 3 Points on a Transmission

First let’s talk about the mechanics of the transmission shifting levers. So you are sitting up in a big truck looking at the shifting lever on the stick. You notice that there are 2 red switches on it. You have one on the left and one in the middle.

So what do these switches do? The selector switch in the front is for your high and low side on the gear box. The selector switch on the left is also a high and low side to shift a gear. Next I’m going to tell you about the hard rail.

The hard rail is an invisible line in the transmission which will let you know where you are in the gear box. When you move the shifting stick from side to side you will feel a little resistance on the left. When you break into that and push up on the gear shifter that is reverse. When You pull down that 1st gear.

2nd Tip Floating Gears

This term is used a lot by trucker. This means you are shifting without a clutch. I have been driving truck for over 10 years now and never used to clutch to shift. The only time you need to use the clutch is put it into first gear or reverse.

3rd Tip Double Clutching

This method is for some reason taught at a lot of truck driving schools. When I first tried it my leg got sore. I quickly learned to float the gears. The way to double clutch is you push in the clutch and put it in 1st gear. You clutch to take it out. Then you clutch to put it in 2nd gear… and so on. Floating is so much easier.

Test Drive

Now you are in the driver’s seat and we are going for a drive. Go ahead and push in the clutch and grab the shifter. With the middle selector down which is in low pull the gear lever into 1st gear. Ease up on the clutch and we are pulling away. Good job.

Now slide the gear shifter into second gear without clutching. You should ease it in gear with just your figure. Now shift to 3rd the same. Note… when floating gears you are matching the engine RPM with the transmission and road speed. Like if you were rolling down the road you wouldn’t try to get it into 1st gear. Some times you might scratch a gear so also just rev up the engine and it should drop into gear. See you are doing fine, good job. You are on your way to be a truck driver.