How to Shift Gears in International 10 Speed Trucks


Although trucks are much larger and more powerful than other vehicles, they require similar driving techniques, such as shifting gears and turning carefully. Shifting gears in a 10-speed international truck is slightly different than shifting gears in a manual sports car, and requires greater attention and skill, along with accurate timing and multi-tasking. If you are new to driving a large truck, practice shifting gears on empty roads. Never take your eyes off the road or focus your attention on shifting gears instead of driving safely.

  • Examine your surroundings to make sure that it is safe to drive forward.

  • Grasp the gear shifter and pull it towards the middle, to the "neutral" position. Grasp the hi/lo pressure switch and pull it to the "down" position. Place your foot on the clutch pedal and push the clutch pedal towards the truck's floor. Turn the truck on by turning the key in the ignition.

  • Set your other foot on the brake pedal. Press the brake pedal towards the floor. Pull the gear shift lever to the appropriate gear and release the truck's parking brake. Pull your foot off the clutch and move it to the accelerator. In most cases, you want to start in second gear.

  • Press the accelerator until the truck's RPM passes 1400. Press the shift button as you depress the clutch pedal. When the engine's RPM reading decreases, the gear has shifted.

  • Complete a double-clutch gear shift. Press the accelerator until the truck reaches the appropriate RPM. Move the shift button backwards. Release the accelerator and depress the clutch pedal. Move the shifter into neutral and release your foot from the clutch. Press on the clutch slightly and move the shifter to the appropriate gear. Step on the accelerator and move your foot off the clutch.

  • Continue shifting gears, as needed. Typically, you should switch to fourth gear at around 1500 RPM and to fifth gear at around 1600 RPM. Stay at 1700 RPM or above when you are in any gear above fifth gear. Once you reach the fifth gear, you must press the hi/lo switch to the "Up" position in order to shift gears any further.

  • Downshift to stop the truck. Remove your foot from the accelerator to slow the truck. Apply the throttle and move the shift button forward. Move the shifter into neutral and release your foot from the clutch. Press on the clutch slightly and move the shifter to the appropriate gear. Once you reach second gear, stop the truck by depressing the brake.

Tips & Warnings

  • In many trucks the shift button must be forward for even numbered gears and backwards for odd numbered gears.
  • Do not drive a truck unless you have the appropriate class of driver's license.
  • Never jerk the shift lever.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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