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Automatic vs. manual transmission


Technically there are a few types of transmissions the car can be equipped including manual, automatic, continuously variable (CVT), dual clutch or automated manual gearbox. While it is good know the difference between each most of regular drivers will never care how the power will be transmitted from the engine to alive axle(s) but be more concern whether mechanism will chose appropriate gear based on a vehicle’s speed and load or it has to be done manually. For that reason, all transmissions can be divided into two groups: automatic and manual with their own advantage and disadvantages.

Convenience while driving

Owning a vehicle with automatic transmission especially beneficial for city drivers or who spend long hours in the traffic while commuting to work place. Pushing clutch pedal continuously on every traffic light might be not only inconvenient, but annoying. It is much more comfortable to operate a car with brake and accelerator pedals only and forgetting changing adequate gear nearly every time you push brakes.



Not long ago automatic transmissions were a headache for many older cars owners. With implementation of new and improved technologies car manufacturers achieved significant results toward better performance of new vehicles. But still less complex mechanism of a manual transmission tends to be more reliable and last longer with minimum required maintenance.
Other useful factor to take into account: it is very easy to start the car with manual transmission if the car battery is dead. Power from rotated wheels on live axle will be send through the clutch directly to the flywheel generating the source of energy for starting the engine. In other words if the car battery do not accumulate enough energy to rotate crankshaft with a speed sufficient for starting the motor you can push (pull) the car with a 3rd – 4th gear on and the engine will go to work. When you have a problem with a battery in a vehicle with automatic transmission the only options you have is to jump start the car from external source of energy or replace the battery.



Cars with automatic transmission are more expensive. Many automobile manufacturers offer manual gearboxes on their base models and automatic comes as an option for an additional fee. Besides higher purchasing price, there are usually greater charges for repairing automatic transmission and if the manufacturer’s power train warranty expired you will pay for costly repair service out of your pocket.


It is all about technology. “Car with manual transmission is more fuel efficient” is a statement from a past. Some car makes and models with CVT transmissions electronically controlled depending on the engine’s load might go further on a single tank of gas compare to same vehicle with manual transmission.

What transmission is better?

Absence of clutch pedal and no destruction on changing gears make the car equipped with automatic transmission very attractive for majority of drivers. But cheaper, reliable and less demandable vehicles with manual transmission are always valued by another group of customers. In addition, manual transmission offer more control over the vehicle and typically better acceleration from 0 to 60 mph. Many sport cars designed for speed and acceleration build with manual gearboxes.