How to Shift a 10-Speed Semi Truck

by Gregory Crews

Driving a semi truck can be fairly complicated. Once you step up in the cab of one of these monsters you might be disoriented by all the gauges, buttons and switches. These trucks operate like cars but have the means to monitor every aspect of operation. The most challenging part is shifting gears on a truck with 10 speeds.

Shifting a Ten Speed Transmission

Engage the clutch pedal. The clutch is the pedal to the left. Use your left foot to engage. Be sure the clutch is pressed to the floor. That will leave your right foot to operate the accelerator and brake pedal.

Ensure the semi is in neutral. Neutral is in the middle of the shifter. You will have inches of free play left and right. Never start in first gear; this gear should be used only for pulling out of weathered areas where traction is vital.

Crank the truck up. Some trucks require turning the key and some require the push of a button.

Disengage the parking brake. Air brake trucks have a yellow knob on the dash that has to be pushed in.

Place the truck in second gear. Move the shifter all the way to the left and down.

Press the accelerator pedal down as you pull your foot off the clutch. This action is just like operating a manual transmission in a car. Disengage the clutch as you feel the vehicle accelerating. Do not engage the clutch when shifting gears.

Shift the gears as the engine pitch gets louder. The RPM gauge on your dash will rise past 5 to 6 thousand RPMs. You should shift when the gauge gets higher than 5 thousand.

Shift to sixth gear by bringing the shifter back to the first gear position. Locate the switch on the shifter. The switch will have up and down movement. Down position is for the lower gears and the up position is for the higher gears.

Watching your RPM gauge and listening to the wind of the motor will tell you when to downshift. Simply bring the gear shifter from the higher gear to the next lower. You can tell this is engaging correctly as it will be simple to place the shifter in the proper gear.

Tip

  • check Practice is the only way to successfully learn to shift gears. Practice on a manual transmission car before attempting to operate a semi truck. A shift patter is located on top of the shifter. This will show you the gear diagram as well as hi-lo operations.

Warning

  • close Be sure you are licensed or supervised by someone with proper licensing to operate larger vehicles.

Items you will need

About the Author

Gregory Crews has been in the film industry for three years and has appeared in more than 38 major motion pictures and 16 television shows. He also writes detailed automotive tutorials. His expertise in the automotive industry has given him the skills to write detailed technical instructional articles.