Manual vs Automatic

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: You Decide

While automatic transmission is virtually taking over all new car sales, there are certainly some great reasons to snap up a manual and make it your own. So let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both so you can weigh them up for yourself.

Manual Gear Stick

Manual Transmission Pros

  • It is without doubt a cheaper option compared to the same car with automatic
  • You have full control over the gears and changing them up or down when cornering or when road conditions alter such as steep gradients
  • A manual gearbox is often less to repair than an automatic transmission
  • If you can drive a manual, you can drive virtually any car on the road
  • You are more involved with the working mechanics and have a different drive and feel for the road
  • Lower insurance premiums as the manual mechanisms associated with a car are much less intricate than its automatic rival
  • If you’re looking for a classic or older car, there is a much bigger chance of picking up a manual than an automatic. According to Australian car sales at the time of writing, manual cars built up to 1998 make up for about 50% of used cars for sale. Go back further for a classic, and the stock available in manual transmission outweighs automatics by far
  • If a thief only knows how to drive automatic, they are less likely to take your car

Manual Transmission Cons

  • More practice and attention needed to master the art of driving a manual gearbox
  • Can become a hassle in city traffic constantly having to change gears
  • Less selection on the market (only 17% used cars on Australian roads at the time of writing)
  • Lower resale value and often longer time to sell
  • Besides the stick shift, the clutch will also have to be replaced at some point
  • If someone had to drive you and your car home, would they be able to drive a manual?

Automatic Transmission Pros

  • Easier to drive, especially in city traffic
  • Bigger selection on the market
  • Becoming more fuel efficient
  • Some automatics offer duel clutch options so you have the choice of using both elements to further enjoy your drive

Automatic Transmission Cons

  • More expensive to buy than its manual alternative
  • More expensive to repair with more intricate working parts
  • Sometimes changes or doesn’t change automatic gears as it should
  • Not as engaging and responsive to the drivers needs
  • You can’t drive a manual if you only learnt and got an automatic license
  • Less ‘Classic’ cars available in automatic transmission
  • Insurance can often be higher

I have owned both types of car over the years, and both have great positives and negatives. If you’re a car fanatic and love the idea of engaging with your car and enjoy the actual drive you get every time you get in, opt for the manual. If you are buying a car for work or get from ‘a’ to ‘b’, then I’d recommend an automatic. Budget may also be a consideration when choosing a transmission.

Whatever your reasons, the whole idea here is to point out what both options give you. If you have the opportunity, test drive both types of car to see which one suits your driving style. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s more important when it comes to buying a car.

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