Transmission Trivia for Truck Fans

By: Ian Fortey
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Transmission Trivia for Truck Fans
Image: Zocha_K/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you have any passion for not just trucks but how trucks work, you should probably know a little something about the transmission that makes them work. Most people think manual when they think trucks, but that's not always the case anymore and automatic transmissions are catching up in terms of performance, speed and fuel-efficiency. But still, for a purist, there's nothing quite like the way driving with a manual transmission feels. It really makes you part of the drive, lets you feel the road better as you move in a way that someone who only knows automatic transmissions will never really understand. But hey, that's not the ride everyone wants! Automatic is just so much easier to use and there's no risk of dealing with that awful grinding sound that lets you know you messed up and you messed up bad. 

From its effect on your truck's torque to overall power output and just the way it interacts with your engine and gets those wheels spinning, your transmission is an integral part of your truck's system, and more people really need to appreciate the work that it does as well as how it does it. So if you're a transmission expert or just learning how the gears click together, it's time to take the quiz and show your stuff!

1 - transmission gearbox
da-kuk/E+/Getty Images
Do you know which of these isn't a type of gearbox?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Odds are if you're driving, you're using an automatic gearbox, a synchromesh gear box, or a non-synchromesh. The first is obviously automatic while the second two are manual. Non-synchromesh requires you to double-clutch to shift. There's no such thing as longitudinal, though.

2 - Ford model T
Jitalia17/E+/Getty Images
What kind of transmission did the Ford Model T have anyway?
Three-speed planetary
Six-speed automatic
Dual clutch
Continuously variable
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ford introduced the Model T back in 1908 with what it called a three-speed planetary gear transmission. Today, it gets a gear knocked out of the mix because one of those three is reverse and we wouldn't count that.

3 - continuously variable transmission
Wiki Commons by OSX
Another name for a continuously variable transmission is what?
Planetary gear
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Continuously variable transmission is also known as shiftless transmission and is a kind of automatic transmission that easily shifts through gear ratios. It uses a belt-driven design that's still less effective than automatic but makes up for it by being cheaper and better at allowing an engine to operate at its highest RPMs.


4 - manual transmission
dtimiraos/E+/Getty Images
What's a good rough estimate of the market share of manual transmissions in the US?
Around 0.1%
Less than 4%
About 10%
No one collects data on that anymore.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The market share for manual transmissions is under 4% in the US and it seems like few people are even aware of how to drive a manual transmission car anymore. That said, manual transmissions are generally cheaper to make and more fuel-efficient and better-performing than automatics.

5 -  automatic transmission
Wiki Commons by Morio
Which one of these things makes automatic transmission more costly than manual?
Transmission control unit
Transmission gear restraints
Flex gears
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The TCU or transmission control unit adds more cost to an automatic transmission, as a manual doesn't require one. The TCU uses senses and data from the engine control unit to operate the transmission, which means it needs software and proper calibration as opposed to the simple mechanics of a manual transmission.

6 - Dodge Ram SRT10
Wiki Commons by Bull-Doser
Which of these trucks used to use the Borg-Warner T-56 transmission?
Ford F-100
Chevy Blazer
Toyota Tacoma
Dodge Ram SRT-10
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Usually shortened to the T-56, the Borg-Warner T-56 transmission was first built for the Dodge Viper in 1992 and then found its way into the Dodge Ram among many other vehicles. Ram was one of the only trucks that used the transmission, but you could also find it in Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs, Aston Martins and more.


7 - 1958 Ford Customline Fordomatic
Wiki Commons by sv1ambo
What was the first automatic transmission used by Ford called?
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ford developed the Ford-O-Matic transmission at the end of the '40s for market in 1950. By 1958, the company had opted to call it the Cruise-O-Matic but it was essentially the same transmission. Of course, for Mercury models, the company went with the name Merc-O-Matic.

8 - Ford Bronco
Wiki Commons by IFCAR
In the '80s and '90s, what company made the M5OD transmission found in Ford Broncos, Rangers, F-150s and more?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The M5OD transmission was made by Mazda and stood for Mazda 5-speed with Over Drive. It was a manual transmission available for light-duty and medium-duty vehicles. The 2011 Ford Ranger was the last truck to make use of it.

9 - 2020 Chevy Silverado
Prime Autotainment via YouTube
What transmission are you going to find in a 2020 Chevy Silverado?
Tremec TR 6060
Allison 10-speed
ZF Powerline
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Chevy's newest trucks are outfitted with an Allison 10-speed transmission, which seems to be a response to RAM's increased torque. As a GM rep said, they may offer more torque "but that’s academic if you can’t put all of that torque to the ground."


10 - 9-speed automatic transmission
Wiki Commons by Morio
Do you know which vehicle had the first nine-speed automatic transmission?
Chevy Avalanche
Ford Bronco
Toyota Tundra
Jeep Cherokee
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Automatic transmission makers keep adding more speeds to them. Four and six used to be the norm, but in 2014 Jeep Cherokee became the first to have a nine-speed, and you can find 10-speed all over the place today, including in Chevy and Ford trucks.

11 - gear engine
da-kuk/E+/Getty Images
Do you know what connects a manual transmission to your engine?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The clutch is what connects the transmission and the engine in a vehicle. In basic terms, the clutch works by connecting or disconnecting rotating shafts. One is for the engine and one for the wheels. The clutch controls the slippage between the always-spinning engine and the only-spinning-when-you-want-them-to wheels.

12 - truck 18 gears
5m3photos/Moment/Getty Images
How many gears can a truck have?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

For the most part, the highest number of gears you'll ever see in a semi-truck is 18. Pickups often have 10 these days and not all semis need 18, but they can be helpful for when a truck is hauling a massive trailer that weighs tons and they're trying to go down or up a hill safely.


13 - manual transmission
Zoonar RF/Zoonar / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
When you hear grinding in a manual transmission, what could you be hearing?
Worn-out clutch
The collar colliding with the gear
Out of transmission fluid
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Part of the reason manual transmission fell out of favor is that when people use them incorrectly, they produce a terrible noise and can be damaged more easily than automatics. Anything from a lack of transmission fluid to a worn clutch to the collar literally grinding the gears could cause those sounds.

14 - tachometer
Yaroslav Mikheev/Moment/Getty Images
Do you know what your tachometer does?
Measures speed
Measures transmission fluid
Measures distance
Measures RPMs
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The tachometer on your dashboard measures the revolution per minute, or RPMs, of the spinning crankshaft in your engine. The name comes from the Greek word "tachos" which means speeds. The tachometer is pretty key for knowing when to shift gears.

15 - teeth gears
wakila/E+/Getty Images
When the collar in your transmission engages with a gear, how do they stay together?
Oil pressure
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Gears are wheels with teeth on them and have been made that way for centuries. When the collar slips over the gear, it holds in place by meshing teeth together to create a pretty firm and solid meshing of the two.


16 - truck Italy
Cultura RF/Zero Creatives/Cultura/Getty Images
In which country are you likely to find more manual transmissions than in the United States?
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Manual transmissions are still hugely popular in most other countries around the world, including places like Italy, China and Japan. Part of this is an economic factor as they're cheaper to buy and many countries don't have the same income to spend on cars, so a cheaper option is always better.

17 - truck downhill
Javier Encinas/Moment Open/Getty Images
Due to the potential for runaways, what kind of transmission would be bad in a heavy truck going down a hill?
Planetary gear
Dual clutch
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Planetary gear automatic transmission is generally fine in cars, but in a heavy truck it could spell disaster. If the clutch slips as a truck is heading downhill it will cause the truck to accelerate and that can, and has, lead to fatalities.

18 - automatic transmission
Karl Tapales/Moment/Getty Images
If you don't have a manual transmission, then which of these are you also not going to have?
Clutch pedal
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

No need for a clutch pedal in your truck if you're driving automatic. If you know manual, though, then you've experienced the third pedal alongside the gas and the brake that operates the clutch in the vehicle.


19 - RPMs
halbergman/E+/Getty Images
When you're shifting down, how many RPMs should you be looking for to do it properly?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ideally, you want to downshift when the tachometer reads 1 or about 1,000 RPM. That's just going to be better on your transmission overall and better for your fuel economy. Once you're really good at driving stick you can feel when's a good time to shift more than by just reading the tachometer, though.

20 - clutch truck
Pixabay by ypkorea
How long does the average clutch last?
5,000 miles
20,000 miles
40,000 miles
60,000 miles
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Don't take this as gospel and consult your truck's manual to know for sure but, in general, a clutch is good for at least 60,000 miles these days. That said, some only make it about half that distance and some are good for more. Your mileage may vary, literally.

21 - truck maintenance
danishkhan/E+/Getty Images
If you're changing your clutch, what else should you change?
Air filter
Transmission fluid
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If it's time to change the cutch you may as well take care of the whole transmission. You could use some new transmission fluid and, while you're in there, take the time to clean up the flywheel as well so everything runs smoothly.


22 - transmission fluid  milky
AliMECH via YouTube
What can cause transmission fluid to go milky?
Coolant has leaked into it.
It got old.
It overheated.
Oil got into it.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Transmission fluid is often described as milky although, to be fair, it's still pink in color so it's more creamy than anything and will often look like Pepto Bismol or strawberry milk. That said, a coolant leak is the most likely culprit here.

23 - car revving
avid_creative/E+/Getty Images
Where will you find the redline?
Gear shift
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Your tachometer lists numbers from 0 up to 14 and then, beyond that, you'll have numbers up to 17 in red. Above 14 is your tachometer's redline where you're pushing your engine beyond its safe operating boundaries and are risking damage.

24 - Turbo Hydramatic
Wiki Commons by Michael Barera
Which one of these is a line of transmissions designed by GM?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

GM designed the Turbo Hydromatic line of transmissions. It was the evolution of the Hydromatic which the company developed in the 1940s and had installed in nearly all of its vehicles throughout the 1950s.


25 - 2019 Chevrolet Colorado
Truck Central via YouTube
Which transmission is inside a 2019 Chevy Colorado?
Aisin BG6
Alisin 10-speed
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Chevy Colorado has been rocking the 8-speed automatic GM 8L90 transmission since 2015. The same transmission can be found in the Camaro, the Cadillac CTS, the Yukon Denali and the Corvette Stingray.

26 - 1st gear
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Which gear has the lowest speed output?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The gears of your manual transmission go in order from 1 to whatever number you may be rocking. There's no secret to this one, the lowest gear has the lowest speed output, so if you're in no serious hurry stay in first gear.

27 - transmission
Douglas Sacha/Moment/Getty Images
Which transmission is generally more powerful, a manual or an automatic?
They're equal.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Because of how an automatic transmission works, with things like the transmission control unit assisting how it functions, it will never be able to provide as much power as a manual. In fact, a manual transmission can give you around 15% more power.


28 - avoid the red line
kali9/E+/Getty Images
What can a driver do to avoid the red line?
Slow down
Shift gears
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you hit the redline, it means you're at a dangerously high level of engine RPMs. You could stop or slow down to solve that problem and, of course, shifting gears is also an option to reduce strain on the engine.

29 - top speed truck
Graiki/Moment/Getty Images
Can you just brake to stop from your top gear in a manual transmission truck?
Depends on your speed
In cars not trucks
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you're in top gear and at top speed in your truck and you want to stop, you need to brake to slow down first, then apply the clutch, downshift and brake again, then apply the clutch until you stop.

30 - Torque converter
Wiki Commons by Markus Schweiss
What does an automatic transmission have instead of a clutch?
Transmission control unit
Torque converter
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In an automatic transmission vehicle, the torque converter is a fluid coupling that does a job similar to a clutch of allowing the engine to keep working while the gears spin independent of the engine until you're in a new gear.


31 - double clutching
teekid/E+/Getty Images
How do you double-clutch?
Hold the clutch for a two-count.
Hit the clutch, rev the engine, then clutch again and shift.
Accelerate and shift simultaneously.
Brake and shift simultaneously.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Outside of racing, it's unlikely you'd ever need to double-clutch these days, but it was more common in the past. The idea is to hit the clutch to disengage the transmission, rev the engine to get the RPMs where they need to be, then hit the clutch a second time to shift.

32 - gear shift pattern
Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
What is a shift pattern?
The layout of the gears
The arrangement of gear teeth
The proper way to engage the clutch
How manufacturers align transmissions
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Every gear shift has a pattern on it. Many of them resemble an H or a tree of some kinds. This shift pattern represents the layout of the gears in your transmission and operates like a map so you know how to shift.

33 - fast truck
Jetta Productions Inc/DigitalVision/Getty Images
When you need high speed but low torque, what gear do you want?
Low gear
High gear
Doesn't matter
Depends on the vehicle
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A higher gear is all about higher speeds, but it sacrifices torque, which is a rotational force. The torque is important in a truck if you're hauling something heavy or towing a large trailer behind it, so you won't need that high gear for a job like that.


34 - first manual transmission
Wiki Commons by La Vie au Grand Air
In which country was the first manual transmission developed?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The first manual transmission dates back to 1894 when it was invented by a pair of French inventors named Louis-Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor. The first automatic transmission was credited to Brazilian inventors in 1932.

35 - manumatic transmission
SuperEurobeat M3 via YouTube
What is manumatic transmission?
Manual and automatic as one
Both transmissions that you can switch between
A Ford trademark
Automatic with a manual option
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The name manumatic makes it sounds like it's manual and automatic transmission at the same time, but it's not exactly. It's automatic transmission with a limited option to override and shift manually.

You Got:
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