Automatic Vs. Manual Transmission: Which is the best choice for you?

January 20th, 2015 by

Automatic Vs. Manual Transmission
Deciding between an automatic and manual transmission can be a tricky decision. Both transmission types have their own distinct pros and cons that make it redundant to label one as better than the other. However, you can determine which will be the best fit for you! Read on to find out some of the key differences between automatics and manuals.

For the most part, this choice is based on personal preference. People like automatic and manual transmission vehicles for different reasons. For instance, some drivers do not like manual transmission vehicles because they are considered “more work” to drive. You have to learn how to not grind gears while shifting, and be cognizant of which gear you are in. An automatic transmission may be worth the extra money if you find it more convenient to drive. Some may consider automatic vehicles boring to drive because they enjoy the extra involvement of the manual transmission, and consider shifting through the gears more fun.

Pros And Cons of Automatic Transmissions:

In an “automatic” vehicle the transmission shifts gears for you. Automatic vehicles generally shift gears slower than an individual would in a manual vehicle. However, automatic transmissions are definitely more convenient in stop-and-go traffic, though they use a little more fuel than a manual transmission. It has also been argued that an automatic transmission can decrease the overall power from the vehicle’s engine. If you spend a lot of time in rush hour traffic, this ultimately won’t matter, because you can only go as fast as the car in front of you.

While automatic transmission are typically more expensive and generally costs more to repair them, they tend to be more available on the car lot since most car buyers tend to prefer automatic vehicles.

Pros and Cons of Manual Transmissions:

With a manual transmission, also known as a “stick shift” or “standard transmission”, the driver has to use a third pedal, the clutch, when shifting gears. This means that you will have to use both feet to drive a standard vehicle. You become the shifter. It also requires you will to change gears using the stick shift with your right hand. If you are driving downhill, a standard vehicle can shift down quicker than an automatic. In an automatic, you may need to employ the brakes if it keeps running in a higher gear.

As Automatic transmissions are more popular in the United States, if you’re looking for a manual transmission you may have to order it, instead of being able to drive off the lot right away. With a manual transmission, your vehicle will likely provide you with better fuel economy than it’s automatic counterpart (dependent on personal driving styles) and give you better control while driving. However, when some people debate automatic vs manual transmission, a popular criticism of manual transmission vehicles is that they require more concentration to drive and can actually distract a person’s attention from the road if they aren’t yet comfortable shifting.

Things to Consider:

As automatic transmissions are more available at various dealerships, the specific model and configurations you are looking for may have to be special ordered in a manual. Though manual transmissions generally are less expensive on the invoice than automatics, there is also a higher chance of finding a better bargain on an automatic in a earlier year model as there are typically more available on the lot to begin with.

Deciding automatic vs manual transmission does not have to be a difficult choice. Just ask yourself how comfortable you are with having to use a stick shift to go up and down through the gears and consider the price you are willing to pay for a vehicle. If you are using a car as a commuter car, or as a family vehicle, you may want to put more emphasis on an automatic, as fewer people are comfortable driving stick. If you are planning on reselling the vehicle in the future, the type of transmission may not affect the potential resell value, but it could limit the number of potential buyers. The automatic vs manual transmission has been going on years, but ultimately, you should be the judge and consider what is important to you in a vehicle.

For a more technical description on how these transmissions differ, the awesome folks over at the Engineering Explained channel have us covered:

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