Manual vs Automatic Transmission

Manual vs Automatic Transmission

Manual vs Automatic Transmission


There are lots of things to decide before you buy a car, from deciding the model and brand to what kind of interior you will and most important to choose the transmission for your car. Yes, lot of people get confused between manual and Automatic transmission. As they are the two most popular and used transmission among all four kinds of transmission. 

The transmission is a mechanical component designed to transmit power from a vehicle’s engine to the drive axle, which makes the wheels drive the vehicle. Along with that it is a most complicated and least understood component of your car.
In that case, it becomes very much important to understand these two terms, and their advantages and disadvantages. So let ’s begin:


What is a Manual Transmission and Automatic Transmission? 

Manual transmission is an automotive transmission in which the driver shifts gears manually (by hand). Whereas, Automatic Transmission is a transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually.

The basic difference between them is:

In a manual transmission vehicle, you have a gear shift which means you have to work physically as it includes a clutch pedal which unlocks the gears and you can safely shift the gear into the next gear. On other hand, an automatic transmission vehicle does all of this work for you once you put it into drive.


Let’s compare them in terms of their costs, maintenance, driving and fuel consumption:



If we begin with Manual transmission it is a known fact that, the manual transmission is cheaper than automatic transmission.

The difference between the cost of the same model, installed with one by automatic and another by manual transmission you will find that the difference is about more than thousand bucks or sometimes it goes to thousand dollars.

And it's a great extend of amount.



The basic difference between driving a car with manual and another with automatic transmission as we all know that you have to shift gears based on the vehicle’s speed and this requires the use of the clutch pedal and the gear shift.  When the clutch pedal is depressed the clutch is released - the engine and the transmission is separated. Gears can be selected at this time or the car can be stopped without stalling. You need practice to ensure a smooth start and gradual transition between gears once the vehicle is in motion. Learning to control the clutch pedal is the single most frightening thing of driving standards, but if once you learned to use your left foot properly for controlling the clutch-pedal the "muscle memory" becomes permanent and you won't forget it again,

it will be like a life lesson. Automatics also have a clutch except instead of a clutch pedal a torque converter is used to separate the engine from the transmission - and it all happens automatically without the need of driver input. Taking of driver input: manual user need all their pride and discipline in traffic jams when they need to shift gears every minute for hours. (Hint: if you commute in bad traffic, buy an automatic and forget about control- it's just not worth the stress driving a stick shift through traffic jams).


Fuel Consumption:

Cars with manual transmission consume 5%-15% less fuel depending on road conditions and driving habits. 

With the advancement of technology, as the automatics advanced and gain additional gears, they are often now overtaking manuals in terms of fuel economy. 



As the working on a manual transmission is very much simple and easier than the working with automatic gearboxes. So the maintenance cost for automatic transmission is relatively higher than the manual transmission. You can drive thousands of kilometres without any problem if you will operate your manual transmission car properly.

The lubricant needs to be replaced periodically but not as frequently as in automatics. (Some cars use special transmission fluids that do not need to be replaced at all).



Advantage of Automatic transmission: 

  • No need of worrying about shifting gears, when you are driving an automatic transmission vehicle because it allows you to keep your concentration on the road. For some people driving an automatic is less distracting.

  • Depending on your location, an automatic might be the most practical choice. If you find you frequently end up in rush hour traffic, an automatic clearly wins out. Driving a manual transmission in stop and go traffic is simply tiring and irritating. Automatics are also easier if you live in hilly areas.

  • If you do a lot of multi-tasking while driving, an automatic can be helpful. If you've ever tried to eat a sandwich while shifting gears, you know that eating and shifting do not go together. The same goes for talking on the phone, drinking coffee, and handing toys to your toddler in the backseat.

  • In newer automatic transmissions, the car will shift itself faster than you could shift a manual. This can be helpful anytime you need to accelerate quickly, such as when you merge onto a freeway.


Advantages of Manual Transmission:

  • Manual transmission cars typically get better gas mileage. Because the driver controls the RPMs of the engine, the car does less revving and uses less gas. The difference in gas mileage is usually between three and five miles per gallon.

  • Driving a manual transmission gives you more ways to control your car. If you want to slow down without using your brakes as much, you can downshift and let the engine help slow the car. This can save wear on your brakes and tires, but it requires practice.

  • Usually, it's often less expensive to repair your manual transmission car. Automatics represent more complicated technology, so they often cost more to service. However, depending on your driving habit, you may need to replace your car's clutch at some point.

  • Buying a new car, a manual transmission is generally a cheaper option. You can save you several hundred dollars on the purchase price of your car if you choose a stick shift.


Conclusion Points: 

  • You can get far more controls in manual transmission as compared to automatic transmission.

  • Vehicles with the manual transmission are much cheaper.

  • Manual transmitted vehicle are much efficient, easy to handle and economical in terms of fuel and maintenance.

  • Automatic vehicles are easier to drive in high traffic jams relatively to Manual vehicles.

  • Manual transmission boxes are lighter than automatics and also they a not easily get overheated as like the automatics.


It's necessary to know the major differences between automatic and manual transmission but at the end buying decision is all yours and depends on your personal preference. Both types of vehicle will get you where you need to go, But you must learn driving a manual car as, it's an important life skills that helps you in emergencies.


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