Manual Versus Automatic Cars: What are the Differences?


Whether you are a first-time car owner or you have been driving for decades, you might not be aware of the main differences associated with manual and automatic transmissions.  This is an important concept to cover, as many more variables other than driving methods will be impacted.  Let's take a quick look at what features separate these two unique functions as well as some of the benefits associated with each.


Automatic Transmissions

Automatic vehicles became quite popular starting in the 1950s; billed as vehicles ideally suited for those who were not entirely familiar with driving on the open road.  This might have actually been a bit sexist, as these cars were primarily marketed towards women.  As you are likely already aware, the main benefit associate with automatic transmissions is that you are not required to use a clutch to shift in between gears.  This is often why automatic cars are often used by those who are first learning the rules of the road. 


Having said this, there are a few downsides associated with automatic transmissions that should be noted.  One main issue involves servicing. Unlike manual variants, accessing the gears within the transmission is more complicated.  This can often result in hefty bills if your vehicle runs into problems.  It is also said that automatic versions are not the best options for driving in off-road or snowy conditions, as the user cannot actively change gears in order to accommodate for different surface environments.


Manual Cars

Manual vehicles were some of the first to roll off of the assembly lines during the early decades of the 20th century.  They were rather efficient in terms of operation and they were known to offer higher gas mileage.  However, please note that fuel efficiency is now nearly equal between manual and automatic versions.  Manual transmissions are often seen in large units such as lorries and construction vehicles due to their capacity to make the most out of the torque provided by the engine.


Once again , there are a few downsides to keep in mind in regards to manual transmissions.  The first is that some individuals are not entirely comfortable with their operation (as both a stick shift and a clutch will be required). The shifting gears themselves have also been known to wear down over time; especially if they "grind" due to improper use.  On the other side of spectrum, manual vehicles will often be priced cheaper than their automatic counterparts. 


These are some of the main differences between manual and automatic vehicles.  One is not necessarily better than the other, it is merely a matter of taste and opinion that will determine your final choice.  if you are still in doubt, it could be a good idea to test drive each variant.  This will help you to determine which is the most appropriate for your requirements as well as if you are comfortable with the associated configurations.