A manual transmission (manual) or an automatic transmission?
For decades, cars have been sold with one or the other as the standard option. If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t even give the question much thought until now. But you may soon have to make a decision. The good news is you can get a pretty fair idea of which is better for your wallet by understanding a few facts about these two types of transmissions.
First up: Automatic transmissions are, for the most part, much better than manuals. This is true for a number of reasons:
- They keep your engine from having to lug around more weight than necessary. That means fewer gas-guzzling, tailpipe-emitting, smog-causing vehicles on the road. And that translates to cleaner air, less pollution, and fewer health problems for you and your family.
- With an automatic, you don’t have to shift gears (manually or automatically) to go from a standing start to full speed. That means no interrupted acceleration, no idling, and better fuel economy.
- You can drive safely at any speed from zero to one hundred miles per hour without having to worry about “shift shock.” In other words, if you accidentally shift into “Drive” when you’re stopped, there’s almost no chance of causing an accident because the car will simply lurch forward until you get the shifter back to “Neutral.”
- Automatic transmissions are usually easier to repair than manuals. That’s because they are electronically controlled, which means the mechanic doesn’t have to remove as much stuff (gaskets, shims, etc.) to access the parts he needs to fix the transmission as he would with a manual.
In todays world, manuals require more maintenance. That’s true for a number of reasons:
First, they have more parts (gaskets, bearings, etc.) that need to be maintained and replaced more often.
Second, they are more difficult to adjust, which means mechanics have to do it more often.
Third, many mechanics simply don’t know how to properly maintain them, which can lead to transmission problems down the road.
Fourth, most mechanics don’t have the proper tools or the time to repair manuals.
And lastly, manuals just plain get used less. In fact, according to the EPA, only 40% of all vehicles on the road today have a manual transmission. That means 60% are automatic.
So there. Now that you know the facts, you can make an intelligent decision about what kind of transmission you want. The bottom line: If you opt for an automatic, you will almost always get a transmission that is sub-par compared to what you could get if you had the option of a manual. Of course that is just our opinion here at Stick hiftr. There will always be a debate on if manual car better than automatic and we are willing to to shift opinions as the world changes.