Do you know the types of gearboxes?

Become an expert and master the characteristics, differences, advantages and disadvantages of the gearbox.

If you are an automechanics enthusiast, you have surely been interested in gearboxes at some point. You may wonder… Which one is better? What breakdowns can they cause depending on their typology?

Don’t worry because at Monedero we are experts in components for heavy and light commercial vehicles, special vehicles and buses. And in this section, we will tell you everything you need to know about one of the most important parts of your vehicle’s powertrain: the gearbox.


The gearbox

We know it is very important, but few people really know how it works or the wide variety of typologies, not to mention the advantages and disadvantages of each one!

We could define the gearbox as a system that takes care of transferring the engine torque to the driving wheels in an effective way. This means that the rotational speed of the engine is transcribed into different speeds for the wheels of the vehicle.

Gearbox types for trucks and buses

One might think that all vehicles can have the same types of gearboxes, but this is not the case. While it is common for buses, coaches and trucks to have a similar gearbox mechanism, in the case of passenger cars things are different.

For this reason, in this post we will talk exclusively about those used in trucks. These are: mechanical, automated and automatic.


·      Mechanical gearbox:

A truck with a manual gearbox requires the driver to change the gear ratio. This is done when the driver depresses the clutch and moves the gearshift in order to adapt the power of the truck to the speed at which it is traveling.

Therefore, they need the clutch pedal to disengage the truck from the gearbox. In this way, the motive power is disconnected with the gearbox. If this were not the case, when shifting gears, the pinions or synchromesh could break.

Today, it is still quite common for passenger cars and light vehicles to use manual gearboxes. However, when it comes to heavy vehicles, automated or automatic gearboxes are the most common. In recent years, automatic gearboxes have become very popular, due to all the advantages they offer… Do you want to know more? Keep on reading.

    • Advantages of the mechanical gearbox

Because there are still many more used manual gearboxes, it is easier to find a replacement if you do not want to buy a new one. Therefore, the buyer will have a wide range to choose from and the purchase is likely to be more economical.


    • Disadvantages of mechanical gearboxes

Mechanical gearboxes are prone to more breakdowns than automated and automatic gearboxes. Among the most common breakdowns we find the breakage of synchronizers.

The synchronizers are responsible for braking the shafts so that they do not wear out and break. This failure is a great danger, since it can cause that “the gear does not engage” or “a gear remains engaged” and cannot be removed. This could lead to more mechanical breakdowns and therefore a loss of safety for the driver and the truck driver.

Mechanical gearbox MERCEDES BENZ G155-G180
Mechanical gearbox MERCEDES BENZ G155-G180
  • Automated gearbox (also known as piloted or robotized):

The automated gearbox has a similar physical structure to the manual gearbox. However, it is controlled by a computer that makes gear changes possible without the driver’s intervention.

Automated gearboxes have an electro-pneumatic control unit that is responsible for carrying out the gear changes requested or programmed by the driver. This same control unit is responsible for clutch engagement and, therefore, there is no need to depress the clutch. As a curiosity, it should be noted that they do not have a clutch pedal, however, they do have an internal clutch managed by the electro-pneumatic control unit.

    • Advantages of the automated gearbox

What has it meant for a truck driver to switch from a manual to an automated gearbox? We have the answer: comfort and lightness.

Drivers no longer have to shift gears, so the truck shifts gears as needed, which makes driving easier and aids fuel management.

For example, when the truck is climbing a hill and is heavily loaded, it automatically downshifts one gear or even two gears at once. By not having to depress the clutch, the shifting time is reduced and therefore the truck does not miss a beat, it climbs with more power. This results in less strain on the engine and far fewer breakdowns than with manual gearboxes.

Automated gearbox ASTRONIC LITE 6AS1000
Automated gearbox ASTRONIC LITE 6AS1000


·        Automatic gearbox:

A truck with an automatic gearbox adapts the gears by itself. Automatic gearboxes are usually hydraulic, with hydraulic disc packs that are mechanically governed by pressure. However, the most modern ones operate electronically.

Among the advantages of this type of gearbox we find, mainly, comfort. Drivers do not need to be aware of adapting the gear to the speed, since they use only the accelerator and the brake, without the clutch.


    • Advantages of the automatic gearbox

Automatic gearboxes offer greater driving comfort. In addition, they break down much less than mechanical gearboxes and are nowadays, due to their popularity, readily available.

Moreover, contrary to popular belief, automatic gearboxes are not more dangerous than mechanical ones, nor can they lose control going downhill. They adapt to the required speed, braking (or using the intarder) when going downhill. Moreover, even without a clutch pedal, the driver can reduce speed with the brake.

Automatic gearbox ECOLIFE 6AP 17008B
Automatic gearbox ECOLIFE 6AP 17008B


In Auto Comercial Monedero we faithfully believe that information is power and that with it you are able to make better decisions. Let our experts advise you and you won’t miss anything. Thanks to the section of this blog you will learn everything you need to know about the automotive sector.

A little more about us…

Monedero has been serving the automotive sector for 25 years. Today, we operate in more than 70 countries, making us one of the benchmark companies in the automotive sector.

We are characterized by our commitment to quality and the environment, as well as our investment of resources in R+D+i.

One of our greatest strengths is our human resources. Our professionals are highly qualified and specialized in the automotive sector. Therefore, we are prepared to always offer you the best solution to your problems, thanks to our experience and knowledge in the market. In short: people, experience and know how.

Want to keep learning with Monedero? Read our blog and… Become an expert!
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