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Cab Styles And Transmission Types - Two Things To Consider When You Purchase A Used Semi Truck

If you are ready to invest in a used semi-truck, you may already have a good idea of the type of equipment you are looking for. Your preferences may be based on the type of business you will be conducting, the type of environment your truck will be used in, and the budget you are working with. While all of these should be your guiding factors, you may want to specifically consider your cab style and your transmission type. 

Cab Style

The cab of your truck is where you will be spending all of your time. There are two basic styles of cabs. They are:

Day cabs - These are lightweight, aerodynamic, and designed to maximize your payload. While packed with a wide range of safety features, these are much smaller and will generally only hold two drivers, or a driver and a passenger.

Sleeper cabs - These are larger, heavier cabs that accommodate a bunk or sleeper berth as a part of their design. In addition to a berth, you will normally find an increased amount of storage space for your personal belongings, upgraded electronics, ergonomic seating, and more. These can be found in a wide variety of roof heights, some of which will allow you to stand completely upright and walk around the cab of your truck.

Why choose a day cab over a sleeper cab? This is because the sleeper cab may not offer you any value, and it may use up valuable weight that you may need for your cargo. 

The total weight of a semi-truck fully loaded cannot exceed 80,000 pounds without special permits. Sleeper cabs are much heavier than day cabs. Along with the weight of your cab, you must also factor in the weight of your:

  • Trailer
  • Headache rack
  • Chains
  • Binders
  • Tarps
  • Straps
  • Other custom features and more

The weight of all of this will have a direct impact on the amount of cargo you will be able to haul and stay within your legal weight range.

Transmission Styles

If you have been driving a truck for a while, you probably already know that there is a wide range of traditional manual transmissions found in most semi-trucks. The most common transmissions found are either 9, 10, 13, or 18 speed manual transmissions. Each of these styles require a lot of practice to become proficient in driving them. 

This is quickly changing. You can now find used semi-trucks on the market that offer other choices

Automated manual transmissions - This transmission uses the gearbox and a regular manual transmission, but all of the shifting is done by a computer that also utilizes a computer-operated disc clutch to disengage the drive train, like in a manual transmission. Most of these give the driver the ability to take control of the transmission if needed.

Fully automatic transmissions - These do not use a clutch; they use a torque converter and require no input whatsoever from the driver. These transmissions have been designed to monitor the road grade, vehicle speed and weight, as well as any torque demand. Once this is determined, the truck will then select the gear that would produce the most efficient utilization of the engine.

Although they have been met with some resistance from seasoned drivers due to the disappointments that were seen in earlier models, fully automatic transmissions are gaining ground in the market. Both of these transmission types have been shown to reduce the learning curve required by new drivers, increase safety, and improve the fuel economy trucks are able to offer.  

There are a lot of great used semi trucks for sale waiting on the right owner. With a little bit of effort on your part, you will be able to find the right one for you and your business.