Standard vs. Automatic Transmission – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

fcaIf you’re in the market for a new car, chances are most of your options are vehicles with an automatic transmission. But, there are some manual transmissions out there to be had, and good reasons to consider them.

Manual Transmissions

If you opt for a manual transmission, this is what you may expect:

Pros Cons
·Cheaper purchase price

On average, manual transmissions may cost up to $1,000 less than a similar model with an automatic.

·More fuel efficient

Manual transmissions are less complex mechanically, which translates into lighter weight, which translates to better mpgs.

·More control

You get to pick the gear you want/need to be in rather than your car’s computer, which may allow you to deliver more or less power as needed for road conditions.

·Less lifetime maintenance costs

As a less mechanically complex component, manual transmissions are easier to fix, so there’s less labor time/cost involved

·More involved driving experience

Let’s face it: shifting your own gears is just fun. When you get to accelerate on a clear, flat stretch, you feel like you’re in a car commercial.

·Less likely to be stolen

Maybe you’ve seen this meme:

We mean no disrespect to drivers of any age, but it is true that many drivers do not know how to operate a manual transmission, so the sight of a gear shifter can be a theft deterrent.

·Can be challenging to learn

To operate a manual transmission, each foot has a job, and you have to master that ever-so-delicate gas-clutch balance to achieve a smooth take off from a complete stop (and that may be complicated by application of the E-brake on steep inclines). There’s a learning curve, to say the least.

·More difficult on hills

Manual transmission vehicles will roll backward on inclines, so when you need to stop on hills, you may be left praying that the driver behind you leaves enough room.

·Inconvenient in stop-and-go traffic

Because both feet are involved in operating a manual transmission, stop-and-go traffic is something of a workout.


Automatic Transmissions

If you opt for an automatic transmission, you may expect:

Pros Cons
·         Easy to learn

Automatic transmissions allow you to keep both hands on the wheel and only one foot to operate the pedals. That’s significantly easier, especially for new drivers, than getting the gas-clutch balance just right.

·         Easy to operate

For the same reason automatic transmissions are easy to learn, they are easy to operate. When you want to go, you step on the gas. When you want to stop, you step on the brake. Simple.

·         Less chance of stalling

Unless your vehicle has mechanical problems, automatic transmissions don’t stall…they’re computer controlled so they just don’t.

·         More expensive to buy and maintain

Automatic transmissions are mechanically more complex, so that makes them more expensive from the get-go. Their complexity also means they will take more time from trained technicians to repair. So, when you first buy the car to whenever it needs maintenance, automatic transmissions come with higher price tags.

·         More attractive to car thieves

Because everyone can drive an automatic, there is no operational deterrent for car thieves. So, you’ll need something else for theft prevention.

No matter what car you choose for your daily driver or to increase driving capacity for your growing family, you can count on the ASE-certified technicians at Quanz Auto Body to keep them in peak condition. We also do pre-buy inspections for those looking at used manuals or automatics. Contact us to schedule your inspection.