Saturday, July 2, 2022

Automatic transmission vs Manual Transmission, Which is better?

Automatic transmission vs Manual transmission: This is a debate that is as old as the car manufacturing industry. Even if you are not a car whizz, you’ve likely heard of the terms automatic and manual gearboxes. The differences between the two are a bit complex. Without getting too technical, the major difference comes down to only one thing; manual cars have a clutch pedal while automatic cars lack one.

These are, however, not the questions one considers before heading to a car dealership to buy one car between the two. Which is better for fuel saving? Which one goes faster than the other? Which one has a higher resale value? Which car can I get a lower insurance premium for? All these questions subtly settle on one overall query, “What are the pros and cons of the two transmissions cars?”

What is the difference between an automatic and a manual car?

Manual cars

A manual car has a gear system that you operate yourself by moving the gear (or the ‘stick’) and pressing down on the clutch pedal. When driving a manual car, the gears are only half the equation as you would have to consider the clutch. The clutch’s function is to stop power to the transmission while the driver changes gears using the stick shift. The footwork involved in gear changing is technical as some might consider it “Hard”. It has a popular name in the west called blending, much like a dance between the driver’s feet on the clutch and gas pedals. Manual cars have five or six gears and reverse gear.

Automatic cars

An automatic car changes the gears for you automatically in relation to the speed you are travelling. The automatic transmissions use a transmission fluid that lubricates and cools pieces of the transmission. A torque converter communicates between the engine and transmission using hydraulic pressure, allowing the vehicle to switch gears smoothly and prevent stalling. Automatic cars tend to have four modes:

  • Park – P
  • Reverse – R
  • Neutral – N
  • Drive – D

The car itself selects the right gear based on your speed and road conditions. All you have to think about is whether you’re going forwards or backwards, or stopping.

Are manual cars better than automatic cars?

As noted, to begin with, it is never that simple to come to a general conclusion. There are lots of factors put under consideration to weigh the pros and cons of either type of car. The factors largely depend on your circumstances and driving style.

Pros of a manual transmission cars

  1. Better control of the car itself – A manual gearbox gives you more control of the gears to use. Five, six…. drop to fourth gear. The car allows you to change gears freely under your own will and judgement as to how you would like to drive. For some drivers, it just feels right to change gears for yourself and certain habits are hard to break as there’s a level of satisfaction given when shifting gears. It is just as cool as the Fast and Furious franchise. Once you see the gear changing in the films, you can’t unsee it.
  2. More speed – A manual gearbox is traditionally better at transferring power from your engine to the wheels, so you can accelerate at a faster pace compared to some automatics that can be slow and cumbersome. However, most automatics manufactured these days are now fitted with dual-clutch technology to increase the car’s picking rate.
  3. Initial purchase cost & maintenance cost is cheaper – This can be largely owed to the fact that manual cars are less popular in the country as many prefer driving automatics. Manuals generally require less maintenance because they have a less complex design compared to automatics. Repairs tend to be significantly cheaper.
  4. Most manuals are more fuel-efficient than automatic cars, however, technology has come a long way and the gap in the fuel economy between the two cars is closing quick. You may even find that an automatic car has better fuel economy than a manual car
  5. They have lower insurance prices
  6. They are less susceptible to theft.

Cons of manual transmission cars

  1. They are not as safe as automatics – With a manual, you have to take one hand off the steering wheel to change gears. Automatic cars are safer as you can keep both hands on the wheel and concentrate more on the road ahead.
  2. Not suitable for traffic jams – constantly working the clutch can be uncomfortable as your left foot never gets a rest more so in a start-stop kind of traffic jam. This can lead to aches and pains in your leg muscles
  3. Manual cars lack variety – The USA’s General Motors is manufacturing fewer vehicles with manual transmissions which means buyers have fewer options from which to choose.
  4. They are tiresome to drive – This is because the driver has to be constantly adapting to the pace of his vehicle and changing the gears from now and then making him easily susceptible to fatigue.

READ; What to consider before owning a classic Mercedes-Benz (

Pros of an automatic transmission cars

  1. Easier to drive – Many love automatic cars for their convenience. They are simple to operate as there’s no clutch control. Simply select the gear D for Drive and forget about manoeuvring the gear stick until you need to park or reverse.
  2. Smoother ride – Automatic gearboxes offer s seamless transition between gears giving you a pleasant ride without any stuttering.
  3. Good for rush hour traffic – If you’re forever stopping and starting in a congested town, it can constantly become a chore to pump the clutch pedal. Automatic transmission requires less effort so you can concentrate fully on navigating the tricky junctions and other traffic safely.
  4. They are more widely available – Car manufacturing industries manufacture more automatic cars as they dawned on the realization that most of their consumers prefer driving automatic cars.
  5. They have a higher resale value than manual cars.

Cons of automatic transmission cars

  1. More expensive to drive – The main disadvantage of automatics is that they generally cost more than their manual counterparts, both new and second hand, hence are not an ideal pick if you are on a budget
  2. They are boring to drive to some drivers – Some drivers find that automatic cars take the fun out of driving. They like the feeling of changing the gear and having a more physical connection with their car. And for anyone used to changing gears, it can be difficult to adjust to not having a clutch pedal.
  3. They are more expensive to maintain.
  4. They have a higher insurance premium than manual cars.
  5. They consume more fuel than manual cars, however, this varies across the different makes of vehicles.


The important thing to prompt one to buy a vehicle is what they are more comfortable with, but generally speaking, an automatic car is what many motor specialists would advise for urban city driving.

If one travels longer distances to the rural areas frequently, a manual car may be the way to go for a more enjoyable and rewarding drive.

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