The primary difference between an automatic and manual transmission is how the car shifts gears. In an automatic transition, the car itself will shift gears when necessary. In a manual transmission, the driver has to shift gears using the clutch, gas pedals and gear knob. There are other differences, as well.Automatic Transmission:
- Automatic transmissions are more complex than manual transmissions.
- Automatic cars are usually more expensive to purchase, and repairs often cost more than with a manual transmission.
- Depending on your driver style and habits, an automatic may be the more practical choice. For instance, if you usually drive in heavy traffic, you may want to consider an automatic. Driving a stick shift in stop and go traffic is tiring and requires more attention.
- An automatic transmission shifts faster than a manual transmission. This is a plus when you have to merge onto the highway.
- The driver needs to drive with both hands and both feet engaged at all times.
- Manual cars require a learning curve and are more challenging to use.
- Manual transmissions are less complicated than automatic transmissions, so repairs are less expensive. However, depending on your driving style, you may need to replace your clutch at some point, and that can get pricey.
- When buying a new car, a manual transmission is often the less expensive option. You could easily save several hundred dollars by buying a stick-shift.
- Manual transmissions usually get better mileage. Because the driver controls the RPMs (revolutions per minute), the engine does less revving and uses less gas. This requires practice and knowing when to shift.
- You have more control over your car. For instance, if you need to slow down, you can just downshift which slows down your engine. This move also requires practice, but it makes for less wear on your brakes and tires.
People will choose between an automatic or manual transmission based on personal preferences more often than costs. However, knowing all the differences will help you make a more educated decision. If you do choose an automatic, it doesn’t hurt to learn how to drive a manual. You may find yourself in an emergency situation where you may need to drive a stick shift.