Automatic vs. Manual Transmission: Weighing in on the Big Question

manual transmission stick in carIf you are thinking about getting a new car, you may be wondering whether a manual or automatic transmission is better. Traditionally, America has had a pretty strong preference for automatics, but the people who drive stick really swear by it. If you aren’t sure which option is best for you, take a look at these pros and cons of manuals and how they compare to automatics.

Advantages of Manual

1.  Sometimes cheaper MSRP – Manufacturers often charge their lowest prices for manual transmission, precisely because they know that there won’t be as many takers. For those who either already know how to drive stick or are dedicated enough to learn it, opting for manual can knock as much as $1000 off their car’s asking price.

2.  Generally involve fewer repairs and less maintenance – Manual transmissions are made of simpler components, decreasing the number of malfunctions that they experience and making the problems easier and cheaper to fix. Even the transmission fluid for manual vehicles is longer-lasting and, thus, doesn’t require as many visits to the shop.

3.  More control over vehicle – This is the single biggest draw of manual transmissions. Because you switch gears yourself based on the speed of the vehicle, you have ultimate control over it. This can make for a far more thrilling driving experience, which is one of the reasons that the option is featured prominently in certain sports cars.

Disadvantages of Manual

1.  Harder to learn – Stick shift is notoriously difficult to learn, especially for those unused to it. Once you’ve picked up on it properly, manual becomes second nature, like anything else, but you’ll have to expect some stalling before that. Since this isn’t an issue with automatics, many people simply opt to avoid the frustration by sticking with them.

2.  Fewer on the market – The number of manuals available on the market has been dwindling in recent years, with 693 models available in 2007, dropping to only 448 by 2012 [1]. In addition, the types of vehicles that are available with manual transmission are no longer diverse – mostly compacts, a few sedans, and some sports cars.

3.  Bad in traffic and on hills – Because you have to be constantly changing gears when speeding up and slowing down, traffic jams are veritable nightmares for people with stick shifts. And if you have any problems changing gears on a hill with a manual vehicle, you may just find yourself sliding backwards into the middle of an intersection (San Francisco would be a terrible place to learn stick!!).

Even Ground

1.  Comparable fuel efficiency – Manufacturers have been doing a lot to make automatics more efficient, the result of which is that fuel efficiency is roughly the same in manuals and automatics. Some models are a little better on one side or the other, but essentially, you can find an efficient car of either variety. So the factors listed above should play more heavily on your decision.

Whether you get a manual or automatic, your transmission is one of the most important parts of your car. Lowndes County Transmissions reviews your vehicle’s issues and can repair any problems that they find. Call us today at (229) 247-8992!