Manual VS Automatic: Which is better?
Are you having difficulty between deciding whether to buy a manual transmission or an automatic transmission? Not to worry, we are here to help you make an educated and informed decision when you are choosing the transmission type for your vehicle. We will be outlining some of the main differences between a manual transmission and an automatic transmission. Read on.
While it is true that many people prefer a manual transmission over an automatic transmission system in their vehicle, an automatic gearbox has a lot to offer too. Here are some reasons why an automatic shouldn’t be completely overlooked…
Easier to drive
One of the main advantages to automatic transmissions is the fact that these are easier to drive than manual transmissions. To drive a vehicle with an automatic transmissions system, it only requires the use of two/three limbs - two hands on the steering wheel and your foot on either the accelerator or brake. When you are driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, you have to use all four limbs - you have to use two hands on the steering wheel while occasionally changing gears with your left hand, one foot on the clutch and one foot to alternate between the accelerator and brake pedals. Which means you have to use an extra 1 or 2 limbs. Automatic transmissions are also much simpler to learn, which means you can save a significant amount on driving lessons (bonus).
Of course, it happens far less frequently than when I was learning to drive, but I still manage to stall when I’m on the road. There is nothing more annoying than when you’re waiting at the traffic lights and your vehicle stalls. Or when your vehicle is stationary on a really steep road and because your vehicle isn’t at the correct biting point, it stalls and begins to go backwards. This is something automatic transmission vehicles do not have to struggle with. The only time a stalling problem might occur is when there is a mechanical issue with the vehicle.
The majority of people in the UK prefer driving manual transmissions, but what are the reasons why these are so popular...
You are in full control of your ride
Vehicles with manual transmissions allow you to have more control over the vehicle than vehicles with automatic transmissions. That is simply because of the use of the clutch and the use of the gearbox/gear stick. This might seem completely obvious, but the clutch allows you to control the amount of fuel being transferred to the front and back wheels of the vehicle whereas the gearbox/ gear stick allows you to be able to switch between 5 or 6 different gear levels. You don’t get this option with an automatic transmission. Automatic transmissions are very limited with what these can do because all the driver has to do is move the lever from P (park) to D (drive); although some drivers forget that they need to apply the brake before they do so. For that reason driving an automatic is definitely not the same as driving a manual, because you just simply don’t have the same level of control over the vehicle.
It is commonly known that vehicles with automatic transmissions are less reliable, more expensive, and often require more maintenance work such as checking and replacing fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid. They also have a filter that needs to be replaced every so often. So if you’re someone like me and you normally forget to make these very basic vehicle checks, then maybe automatics are not for you. That said, one thing that an automatic has over a manual is that you don’t have to worry about changing the gearbox when it decides to eventually quit on you, and this is a major plus for automatic transmissions!
Cheaper to purchase
Generally speaking vehicles with manual transmissions are lighter and cheaper than vehicles with automatic transmissions. On average, opting for a manual will save you an extra £1,000 or so up front. That’s a considerable amount of money, especially for people who are shopping for a vehicle on a budget.
You can drive anything
If you can learn to fully manage and operate a vehicle with a manual transmission, then you are better equipped to drive a range of different petrol/diesel-powered motors such as motorcycles, vans and minibuses. This is why we fully encourage drivers to get a full driving license, so they can experience the joys of both worlds - both manual transmissions and automatic transmissions.
Your vehicle is less likely to be stolen
While this is less likely to happen in the UK as most people can drive manual vehicles, there have been multiple scenarios in the U.S where thieves have tried to steal vehicles with manual transmissions. However, they fail because they are unsure about how to operate a vehicle with a clutch and gear stick, which is quite comical. So in terms of vehicles being stolen by thieves, manual vehicles offer better security.
Automatic vehicles are less stressful to learn and easier to drive whereas manual transmissions are cheaper and give the driver more control. Personally, I think both types of transmissions are equal in terms of what they offer drivers, but everyone has different wants and needs, which means one is not better than the other.
Which transmission type is better and why? Leave your comments below.
Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of High Street Vouchers. Each month we pick our favourite comment from the previous month - get involved for your chance to win...
The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.