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Automatic vs. Manual Transmission: Which is Better?

When the automatic transmission car first appeared in driveways across the country, driving became a little easier for everyone as shifting gears was suddenly done automatically. But despite the immense popularity of automatic transmission vehicles, most vehicle manufacturers still sell manual transmission (or “stick-shift”) cars. If the automatic transmission car uses superior technology, why are manual transmission cars still being made? Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each to find out.

Automatic Transmission Vehicles

  • How they work: The automatic transmission is a complex piece of engineering that uses several planetary gear sets and a hydraulic-controlled clutch system to change gears based on the motor’s revolutions per minute (RPMs). It’s less important to know exactly how an automatic transmission works than it is to understand its complexity.
  • Pros: Driving an automatic transmission automobile is easier and requires less concentration than a manual vehicle. Automatic transmission is also a better option for individuals with a physical handicap. And since not everyone knows how to operate a stick shift, you can be sure that most people can use your vehicle if necessary.
  • Cons: Cars that change gears using an automatic transmission typically cost around $1,000 more and get up to five fewer miles per gallon than a comparable manual vehicle. Because automatic transmissions are so complex they’re also more expensive to fix, and require servicing more frequently than manual vehicles.

Manual Transmission Vehicles

  • How they work: The modern manual transmission vehicle works with the help of a gear shifter and clutch that the driver controls. When the clutch is pressed, the power to the transmission is cut off, allowing the driver to change gears via the shifter. It’s a much simpler mechanism than an automatic transmission, but it requires constant attention and the use of both hands while driving.
  • Pros: Manual transmission vehicles are generally less expensive to own because of their lower price, cheaper repair costs and better fuel efficiency. Since the gears are changed at the driver’s discretion, manual vehicles usually accelerate faster and handle inclines better, especially in the case of smaller engines. Fans of manual vehicles also claim that since a driver is directly engaged with the RPMs of the motor and acceleration of the vehicle, they’re more fun to drive.
  • Cons: The constant gear changing and clutch work can be tiresome, especially in stop-and-go traffic. Also, there may be occasions when you need someone else to drive your vehicle. If that happens, you may not always find someone who knows how to drive stick.

The choice between automatic and manual transmission should be based on personal preference, but no matter which you choose, make sure the vehicle is covered by auto insurance. To find a company that suits your needs, be sure to read online auto insurance reviews before making a decision.