Automatic vs. Manual Transmission

Automatic vs. Manual: Which Transmission Option is Better?

No doubt, the varieties in cars are endless. You can find anything from front-wheel drive to four-wheel drive to conventional gas or electric engine types. When purchasing a new vehicle, you’ve to focus on multiple factors.

One of the critical factors is to choose the type of transmission for your car. As you know, cars feature two different types of transmissions – automatic and manual.

If you’re curious to know the difference, you need to know that manual transmission requires the driver to shift the gears. In an automatic transmission, your vehicle does the shifting.

There are fewer manual cars made yearly. In October 2019, only 1.2% of vehicles were sold with manual transmission. However, the variety is wider, as you can find sports cars, sedans, and heavy-duty trucks with manual transmissions.

The question is, which transmission option is better? To find out, continue reading the blog.

What is a Transmission?

The transmission is a metal case that contains a series of gears. Its function is to take power from the engine and deliver it to your vehicle’s wheels to help power the car.

It also ensures that the wheels receive an exact amount of power to operate at the desired speed. Moreover, each gear is responsible for operating within a specific ratio and ensuring that the wheels and engine move at different speeds.

Your car needs a lower gear ratio to move, using more power and less speed. But at the higher speeds, a higher gear ratio is required to maintain low revolutions per minute or RPMs levels to move your car.

Since the transmission is a crucial component of your vehicle, it’s essential to keep it in excellent condition. You need to focus on signs that indicate it’s time for a transmission repair.

What is Manual Transmission?

Did you know cars with a manual or standard transmission are known as stick shifts? This is because the driver uses a stick shift to change the gears manually to accelerate or decelerate the vehicle.

It is located on the center console, where a linkage is given to connect the transmission to the shift lever. Not only a stick shift, but the manual transmission also uses the clutch pedal, placed to the left side of the brake pedal.

When you engage the clutch pedal, the clutch mechanism gets disengaged. You can find it in the middle of the engine and transmission. You need to press down the clutch pedal to stop power from reaching the transmission to change gears.

When you need to change gears, press down the clutch pedal, move the shifter to your required gear, and release the clutch pedal. This way, you transfer the power from the engine to the transmission.

There’s no denying that learning to drive a stick requires practice – and lots of it. Because if you engage the clutch pedal too fast, it will stall the engine. If you engage it slowly, it leads to premature wear.

Pros of Manual Transmission

  • It has an affordable purchase cost.
  • It gives the sense of control, which most drivers prefer.
  • It ensures fuel efficiency.
  • It enables superior acceleration; which performance drivers prefer.
  • It’s less expensive to maintain.

Cons of Manual Transmission

  • You need to practice using it.
  • You must learn to coordinate gas, shifting, and clutch.
  • It isn’t available widely.
  • It has a lower resale value.
  • It can be challenging to move in or go traffic.

What is Automatic Transmission?

Manual transmission requires the driver to play an active role while operating a car; it isn’t the case with automatic transmission.

In an automatic transmission, the driver chooses “D” located on the shifter and allows the car to handle the rest of the work. Your vehicle uses the fluid pressure to complete the gear changes automatically. It also cools and lubricates the transmission’s moving parts and helps drive the car too.

The best part of the automatic transmission is the full-fledged set of gears. This part is also responsible for developing various gear ratios for the transmission to use.

Additionally, a torque converter sticks to the drivetrain. Its function is similar to the clutch on a manual transmission. The fluid helps in locking and unlocking the set of gears to shift gear ratios. What’s the exciting part? The shifting occurs automatically!

Pros of Automatic Transmission

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It’s widely available.
  • It’s a good option for beginners.
  • It has a higher resale value.
  • It’s an excellent option for a stop or goes traffic.

Cons of Automatic Transmission

  • It’s expensive as compared to a manual transmission.
  • It’s less efficient than manual.
  • It’s expensive to repair.

Interesting Facts about Manual and Automatic Transmission

  • 95% of the cars sold in the US have automatic transmissions.
  • Automatic transmissions require little input by a driver.
  • Automatic transmissions rely on the fluid and gear set.
  • Manual transmissions are extremely popular in Europe and Asia, with over 80% of the manual vehicles sold.
  • Manual cars require extensive input from drivers, and they select and shift the required gear.

Which Transmission Option is Better?

Both types of transmissions come with a set of advantages and disadvantages. If manual transmissions are fuel-efficient and offer better control to the driver, then automatic transmissions are easier to drive and don’t become a hassle during heavy traffic.

Therefore, which transmission to get for your vehicle solely depends on your preference. It’s best to go for the type that fits your requirements.

For example, if you’re someone who loves to drive around the city, the automatic transmission option might be easier to move you through stop-and-go traffic.

On the other hand, if you crave performance and driving experience, manual transmission might be a fantastic choice for you.

Final Word

As mentioned, which transmission you should go for depends on your needs and preferences. You also need to consider your budget. To choose the suitable transmission, do your research, focus on both types’ pros and cons, and seek guidance from your local transmission experts to get the best option.