Here's How You Shift An 18-Speed Transmission

When the Corvette first debuted with a seven-speed manual transmission, the chattering classes cried out “too much!” But big rigs have more gears. Way more gears. As in, 18 gears. This isn’t your simple clutch-and-stick affair. Here’s how you row your own, 18 different times.

The way Youtube user Sasnak explains it, it sounds so simple. But rest assured, this video to explain how to shift does take about 10 minutes, and as someone who’s tried it a grand total of once (1 time) in their life, it’s waaaaay harder for a mortal to do it than some salty old trucker says it is.


But as we’ve always maintained, truckers don’t get enough respect in this country. They have to master aspects of math, dancing, and practical wizardry just to get their beasts of burden moving.

All hail truckers.

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.


Shane Morris

I used to have hitchhiking races with my buddies back in the day, and the most reliable way to cover the hard distances (like West Texas) was having a funny sign at a truck stop.

I remember the first time I realized how many gears a big truck had, my mind was blown. I got picked up in San Antonio, and I was trying to get to somewhere around El Paso - and this older gentleman was like, “As long as you don’t have any pot on you, you can ride with me.”

I guess I thought they just had a six speed, and I never really paid attention, but I was sitting there in the passenger seat, and he was accelerating on an on-ramp, and he... just... kept... shifting... like... forever.

That’s when I asked him if it was hard, and he said, “I’m on my fifth marriage. If you think shifting this truck is hard, you should try convincing a woman that you’ve really got it right on the fifth try.”

“So did you get it right this time?”

“No. I said I’m on my fifth marriage. You think I’m going to magically get it right this time?”