Automatic vs. Manual Transmission

The great debate: are manual or automatic transmissions better? We're entering a dangerous playing field with this one. People are just about as passionate with this as they are with "their" football team. To set some ground rules, this post will discuss pros and cons only--no pushing, shoving, or yelling of obscenities allowed.

  1. Control: When it comes to really feeling in complete control over your vehicle, the manual takes the cake. The combination of using the clutch and gear shift allows (almost requires) you to be constantly aware of your vehicle. If you want to be able to hold hands with your girlfriend Sandy, or pet the family dog (unfortunately also named Sandy) while you're on the road, stick with an automatic.

  1. Cost: On average, a car with a manual transmission will cost approximately $1000 less than the same model with an automatic transmission.

  1. Fuel Economy: Depending on driving habits and conditions, a manual transmission will get 5 to 15 percent better gas mileage than its automatic counterpart.

  1. Maintenance: A manual transmission is much lighter, and less complex than an automatic gearbox. This leads to fewer trips to the shop, and when you do go they're cheaper.

  1. Ease of Driving: Here is where the automatic starts to gain on the manuals lead. Learning to drive a stick-shift is going to take time and effort--often frustrating time and effort. Learning to drive a manual is definitely not going to go in the journal as a flowery paragraph surrounded with kitten stickers. Yelling is probably going to be a thing, but if you stick with it, manual drivers will insist that it's worth the pain.

Another item worthy of note here is that most manual transmissions do not come with a cruise control feature, and if you're stuck in stop-and-go traffic prepare to have to shift gears about once a minute. Did we mention that starting your car on a hill is a positively terrifying experience to an inexperienced stick-shift driver? Automatics enjoy a simple gas-pedal-and-go experience.

6.   Reputation: This one might seem like a bit of a stretch, but it's definitely a thing. If you want to impress Sandy-the-girlfriend's dad, driving a manual is the way to go. If you want to be "that guy" who guns it when the stoplight turns green, manual is also the way to go. If you want a comfortable no-pressure ride, an automatic is for you.

Which would you choose to drive? We'd love to hear any other pros or cons you can think of in the comments below, or on our Facebook page here.

Categories: Parts, Service
Tags: Automatic, Manual