Manual vs. Automatic: Which is Better For You?

Millions of cars have been bought these last years with automatic and manual transmission and it looks like sales will just keep increasing. But do some of you know what an automatic and a manual transmission is? Not all of us have any deeper knowledge of these transmissions nor know what their differences and uses are. If you are thinking of purchasing a car, maybe now is the time to have some research and get some perspective about the two transmissions. So here is an introduction about automatic and manual transmission. Their differences, advantages, and disadvantages that may be can help you in choosing what type of transmission you would like for your car.


If you have a car or at least have knowledge about cars, you may know what a manual and automatic transmission is. So let’s take a minute to get to know them better than the gearbox that makes your car move.

First, what is the transmission? The transmission is the home of a series of gears hence the name of the gearbox. It helps to power up the car by taking power directly from the engine and distributes it to the wheels. It makes sure to supply the right amount of power so it can run at an efficient speed.

Then what about the Automatic transmission? The Manual transmission? Automatic transmission is one of the most used transmissions nowadays. It lets the car easily change gears on its own without the driver’s inputs. So you can simply put the drives in and go.

Manual transmission needs the drivers’ adjustments using the clutch to accelerate the car. Learning to drive with the clutch takes some time but the smooth ride it offers is worth it and more fuel-efficient.

Everyone can see that a transmission is an important inner source of a car, but when it comes to an automatic and manual transmission, it is still a debate which is better.

What are the differences?

Over the years, even automatic and manual transmission has gone through some changes and differences. So, saying that the other is better than this one, or that one won’t work anymore because both transmissions have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s the customers’ choice whether they want an automatic or manual transmission. But here are some differences between the two transmissions:


  • Manual cars need the driver’s input in changing gears to accelerate and decelerate the car.
  • Manual has five or more gears and three pedals which consist of brake, accelerator, and clutch.


  • Automatic cars have four gears that do all the changes and hard work for you: Park (P), Reverse (R), Neutral (N), Drive (D).
  • Automatic cars have only two pedals; the accelerator and the brake.

There are four types of automatic transmissions that are now being used in some cars. So it’s a good idea to ask the sales rep what the automatic transmission under the hood is.

  • Traditional Automatic. It uses a torque converter to change gears and is equipped for larger cars.
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). It has no fixed gears and only uses belts or pulleys to distribute power from the engine to the wheels.
  • Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) or Clutches Manual Transmission. It is a manual gearbox that uses sensors or electric motors to change gear automatically.
  • Twin-Clutch Automatic Transmission (DCT). It is an automatically operated manual transmission that uses two different clutches to work as one unit and changes gears smoothly.

The Pros & Cons of Manual Transmission

The pros

  • Manual transmissions offer great control over the car and are better at distributing power from the engine to make sure the speed and acceleration are efficient.
  • It costs less to maintain, buy, or repair a car with manual transmission than the automatic, but when the clutch is your worry then it’s another thing you have to think about.
  • Manual transmissions are less complex and lighter resulting in much better fuel efficiency than the automatic transmission as well as saving fuel expense.
  • Learning to drive a car with manual transmission needs a lot of time and practice because it can only be moved by clutch and needs a lot of drivers input, so if you learn to drive it then you are qualified to drive an automatic.

The cons

  • Driving a manual transmission required more effort and thinking while operating the clutch and gears manually.
  • Driving in heavy traffic only gets harder because you need to constantly change gears due to stop-and-go traffic.

The Pros & Cons of Automatic Transmission

The pros

  • Automatic transmissions are easier to drive and don’t take much time to learn because there’s no clutch or gears to think about.
  • Driving a car with automatic transmissions is much easier in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Because you don’t need to constantly change gears or use a clutch in automatic, it is more useful and convenient for people with limited mobility or a disability. Just keep your hands on the wheel for better control.

The cons

  • Automatics are more expensive to maintain, buy, repair and will cost you more fuel expenses than the manual.
  • Learning to drive an automatic does not mean you are qualified to drive a manual car, quite the opposite. So take the manual license first before you drive a manual car.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: Which is Right For You?

Debating which transmission type is right for you will remain to be undecided because of some good and bad that both gearboxes have. Some cars still have manual transmissions as a standard specification and it’s more affordable than the others. Whereas, you can typically find automatic transmission as a standard on most luxurious and executive cars.

Manual cars may be more fuel-efficient and more reliable than automatic but that was way before autonomous cars were created. Nowadays, automatic cars have many inner gear workings as manual versions can often match or beat the economy figures. Besides, because of the automatic becoming more popular, maybe one day, possibly we’ll all be driving them. After all, there’s nothing manual in an electric car.



Written by: Esther Abranilla

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