Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Age Old Question: Manual or Automatic

Hm…that’s what comes to mind when you’re posed with this question.  Manual…you begin to ponder, imagining yourself as a speed demon.  You’re Evil Knievel reincarnate as your car reaches gut-wrenching speeds, your hand fixated on your gearshift as you weave through traffic.  Picturing Automatic is another animal.  You can enjoy the relaxation of not shifting gears, leaving more focus to the road and your surroundings.  The car ride is less work on your skills and more about maintaining a smooth ride.  So, when posed with the question of Manual Vs. Auto, which is better?  In today’s blog we discuss the differences and let YOU decide…


If you’re in search of power, Manual transmission is definitely the way to go.  For example, an automatic equipped Dodge Neon has a reported 0-60 MPH time of approximately 10.5 seconds.  The same Neon when equipped with a 5-speed manual has a reported 0-60 time of 8.1 seconds; a huge difference.  The acceleration offered from a vehicle with a manual transmission is usually higher, because of the precise shifting the car encompasses. 

Manual transmissions also excel at fuel economy.  Most new Automatic cars have an EPA rating of only 1 or 2 MPG less than the same model car with a manual transmission.  So, you’re not saving TOO much with a manual, but it is a small difference. 

When it comes to maintenance, most manuals require less service than their automatic counterparts.  The clutch disc in manual transmissions does need to be replaced on occasion. There are many factors that determine how long a clutch will last such as driving style, the material the clutch disc is made of, and the amount of city vs. highway driving. Clutch replacement is often a labor intensive task and can cost several hundred dollars if performed at a repair shop. 


Automatic cars are easy.  There’s no clutch or shifter to control.  That means city driving is a breeze and commanding steep terrain is simple.  There’s no ‘rollback’ with an automatic car while its in drive, giving you more energy to controlling your car on the road.  If you live in a busy city its also beneficial because of stop-and-go traffic.  An automatic takes away the worry of shifting gears, leaving an open hand to perform a small task.  Since automatic cars only require one shift “D”, while driving forward it has a wider appeal.  So, if two people were sharing a vehicle after its purchase no learning would be required.  If one person couldn’t control a manual transmission it could be easier for them to stick with an automatic. 

Some cars offer a “best of both worlds” style known as manumatics.  The term differs from brand to brand, but the vehicle could begin in automatic and be shifted into a manual mode that allows control through the gears like a regular manual without the hassle of a clutch.

Automatic cars also have a higher resell value.  The appeal for an automatic is much larger than that of a manual.  Thus, becoming an easier seller for when you trade-in your vehicle.

So, we’ve given you the facts.  What will you choose??? What do you prefer?  Feel free to comment below:

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