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Manual vs Automatic Transmission: Pros & Cons [with PDF]

In this article, you’ll learn about manual vs automatic transmission. Its working, pros, cons, and uses all are explained with pictures.

Also, you can download the PDF file at the end of this article.

What is a Transmission?

The transmission, often known as a gearbox, is one of the most intricate parts of your car. It is a metal container that holds many gears.

To help your car move, the transmission transfers power from the engine to the wheels. It ensures that the appropriate power is sent to the wheels, allowing the vehicle to drive at a particular speed.

Each gear has a precise ratio that ensures the wheels and engine do not spin at the same speed. Your car shifts into a lower gear ratio to accelerate from a stop, requiring more force and less speed to move the vehicle.

At greater speeds, your transmission employs a higher gear ratio to accelerate the car while maintaining low RPMs.

Let us now define manual vs automatic transmission and explain how it works.

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What is Manual Transmission?

In manual transmission, the driver shifts gears by hand using a stick shift to accelerate and decelerate the car. The shift lever is situated on the center console and is linked to the transmission via a linkage.

Manual Transmission
Image: s3.amazonaws.com

A manual transmission also needs the usage of a clutch pedal, which is situated to the left of the brake pedal, in addition to a stick shift. When you press the clutch pedal, the clutch mechanism between the engine and transmission is disengaged.

The clutch pedal must be depressed to shift gears since it cuts power from the engine to the transmission. A driver changes gears by pressing down on the clutch pedal, shifting into the desired gear, and then releasing the clutch pedal to reengage power from the engine.

It takes some practice to become a stick-shift driver. If you apply the clutch too quickly, the engine will stall; if you use the clutch too slowly, it may lead to premature wear.

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Pros of Manual Transmission

The following are the advantages of manual transmission:

#1 Better fuel efficiency

Generally, compared to automatics, manual transmission engines are lighter, less complicated, and have more gears.

This means that compared to an automatic, you will ultimately get more kilometers out of the fuel you put in. It has been claimed that drivers can reduce their fuel expenses by 5% to 15% by using a manual transmission.

#2 Cheaper to maintain

Cars with manual transmissions require almost no maintenance, and repairs and maintenance are typically less expensive. But be warned—the clutch is one component of a manual that an automatic doesn’t have to worry about, and if it gives up on you, you might be in trouble.

#3 Better control

The automatic transmission is designed to select the best gear for any situation, but it tends to shift to too high a gear and waste engine power in the process.

However, because they are designed to react to the circumstances that arise, drivers are unable to pick lower gear to gain extra power or to predict an impending hazard. Drivers who use manual transmissions have more control over their cars.

#4 Less likely to be stolen

Increasingly, automatic transmissions are showing up on roads, leading to a generation of drivers unfamiliar with manual transmissions.

Having a manual transmission means you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to deter a car thief when he or she inspects your car for stealing it.

Cons of Manual Transmission

The following are the disadvantages of manual transmission:

#1 More difficult to learn

It can take a longer time to learn a manual transmission car because you have to perform the gear changes yourself.

#2 Heavy traffic driving

Due to constant stopping and starting as well as manual gear changes, driving in heavy traffic can prove challenging.

Read Also: Different Types of Steering System Used in Cars

What is Automatic Transmission?

When driving a manual transmission vehicle, the driver plays an active role, while with an automatic transmission, it is simply a matter of selecting D and letting the car do the work.

Automatic Transmission
Image: images.pexels.com

The car shifts gears autonomously on its own using fluid pressure. The planetary gear set is the key component of the automatic transmission. This component is liable for generating the various gear ratios used by the transmission.

Automatic transmission fluid provides the pressure required to engage the clutches and bands that decide which gear the car should be in. In addition to cooling and lubricating moving parts, this fluid drives the vehicle.

The drivetrain has a torque converter that functions similarly to a clutch on a manual transmission. Planetary gears are locked and unlocked using fluid to change gear ratios. The driver is not required to do anything, this shifting occurs automatically.

Pros of Automatic Transmission

The following are the advantages of automatic transmission:

#1 Easier to use 

Even though it’s not difficult to shift gears and work a clutch, it usually takes some practice before drivers feel comfortable using each limb independently to control a manual transmission.

Drivers learn how to use an automatic transmission considerably faster and with less complexity than a manual one.

#2 Better for hilly areas

Less experienced drivers may have difficulty navigating steep inclines in a manual transmission, especially from a dead stop. This problem is resolved by automatic transmissions, allowing your car to run smoothly on any hill.

#2 Less reliance on manual work

New drivers are taught to keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel to drive safely. Using an automatic transmission allows you to do this, but using a manual transmission prevents you from doing so.

#3 Lower chance of stalling

An accidental stall at a traffic light is one of the most embarrassing and awkward things that can happen to a driver.

In cars with automatic transmissions, stalling only happens when there’s a mechanical issue with the car. This isn’t a typical issue for them.

#4 More user-friendly in traffic

In general, manual gearboxes need more effort to start, accelerate, decelerate, and stop. This isn’t usually an issue, but drivers may find that constantly starting and stopping their car becomes difficult when there is heavy traffic and they are unable to go at a high enough speed.

Automatic transmissions allow the driver to navigate heavy traffic by simply using one pedal.

Cons of Automatic Transmission

The following are the disadvantages of automatic transmission:

#1 Costly to maintain

Automatic transmissions are less complex than automatic transmissions. They often take longer to fix since they have more operating parts, which increases the expense to the driver.

#2 Less control

An automated transmission gives the driver less control than a manual transmission does.

Read Also: What is a CVT Transmission? Pros and Cons

Manual vs Automatic Transmission: Which is better?

You should consider some factors before deciding whether to purchase an automatic or manual car. While personal preferences and opinions vary, there is an obvious difference between manual vs automatic transmission.

Before choosing the right type of car, take into account the following parameters to determine which is better for your driving style:

Purpose of Buying Car

Purchasing a car can be based on two factors: either you want greater control over the vehicle in varying driving situations, or you want to drive in stop-and-go traffic.

An automatic car is probably easier to drive in stop-and-go traffic since it requires less driver input. A manual car can be difficult to drive in traffic and demands a lot of driver input.

If you’re trying to choose which gear the car should be driven in, the manual car is preferable. In addition, some race drivers prefer manual cars over automatics since they can decide the speed to drive.

Beginner in Driving

Compared to manual cars, automatic cars are simpler to learn how to drive. This is because operating a manual car involves many driver inputs.

Automatic vehicles offer ease of operation when it comes to driving a car, especially on congested urban or city roads, so they are a good choice for beginners.

Cost of the car

When comparing manual vs automatic cars, manual autos are more economical if you’re on a tight budget or want to spend more on a vehicle. However, because AMT vehicles are now cheaper, the market has altered.

However, AMT has transformed the industry by providing affordable automatic vehicles. AMT cars are limited to entry-level models and are not used in pricey or high-end cars.

The Factor of Choosing Manual vs Automatic Transmission

There shouldn’t be any doubt when choosing between a manual or automatic car. Before making the decision, there are a few crucial things to take into account.

The following are the key factors that will help you in choosing between the two:

Basic Understanding of Transmission

First, it is important to understand the basics of the gearbox, especially the automatic. Automatic transmissions require less work and driver input to operate, even though manual gearboxes have been around for a longer time. Thus, pick the gearbox type that best meets your requirements.

Ease of Learning

When you don’t know how to drive a car, using a manual gear shift along with the clutch, brake, and accelerator pedal can be challenging.

Driving an automatic car is much simpler to learn than a manual one since it lacks a clutch pedal and a gear shift lever. It’s much easier to learn how to drive a car when you only need to use the brake and accelerator.

Fuel Efficiency

Despite popular perception, automatic cars return higher mileage due to new engineering capabilities, such as the AMT. The AMT is an innovation that benefits both the customer and the automaker. A good option would be an automatic car with fuel efficiency that is nearly identical to that of a manual car.

Identifying the Needs

There are cars for driving short distances on congested city roads as well as cars for driving long distances when extra power and control are required. On occasion, you might wish to purchase a powerful vehicle that also has an automatic transmission.

Everything is dependent upon your needs. Make sure you know what you need before you make the decision.

Consider Power

Automobile purists or enthusiasts will prefer manual transmissions over automatics since they like to control the car. However, utilizing a manual gearbox in busy stop-and-go traffic might be challenging.

Still, an automatic car offers a great deal of comfort in these circumstances. Make sure you consider the power output while selecting the appropriate car.


That’s it. Thanks for reading. I hope I have covered everything about the “manual vs automatic transmission” It would be helpful if you could let me know if there was anything I missed or if you have any doubts about anything I wrote.

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Read more in our blog:

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External Links:

  1. https://auto.howstuffworks.com/transmission.htm
  2. https://www.britannica.com/technology/automatic-transmission


Is manual transmission better than automatic?

If you drive in the city often, an automatic transmission might be simpler to use in stop-and-go traffic. But if handling and driving pleasure are important, you might want to get a manual.

What are the disadvantages of automatic cars?

1. Eventually, the cost of an automatic car increases. Because of their complicated design structure, they are more expensive to purchase initially and require greater maintenance.

2. An automatic car relies on the torque converter to shift gears for you, making it less fuel-efficient.

Do manual cars last longer?

Compared to automatic gearboxes, manual transmissions require less maintenance and a different kind of oil to function properly. Stick-shift vehicles often have a longer lifespan than automatic cars of the same model and manufacturer.

Which is cheaper to maintain, automatic or manual?

When driving in difficult conditions, manual cars could provide stronger control and quicker acceleration. They are less expensive to buy and maintain since the gearbox technology is simpler than that of automatics.

About Yousef

He is a mechanical engineering student, he likes to write about engineering stuff and he is really interested in learning about new technology in machines.

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