The Benefits of Manual & Automatic Transmissions

The Benefits of Manual & Automatic Transmissions


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Manual transmission cars are less common in today’s environment, accounting for only 2.5% of annual car sales yearly. These vehicles have a certain appeal to them that keeps motoring enthusiasts engaged. The feeling you get when you shift gears and hear the engine roar is something that only a few people nowadays enjoy. However, in contrast, automatic transmission cars offer ease of use, safety, and comfort, which can provide a better driving experience, especially on daily commutes.

Below, we’ll delve into some details to help you find out if a manual or automatic car is best for you. We’ll review the pros and cons of manual vs. automatic transmission, maintenance, and the driving experience between these two.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission

Automatic cars have become the norm among drivers, with fewer than 15% of new vehicles offering manual driving modes today. Some people still prefer manual transmission vehicles citing tradition, more driving involvement, and lower costs as reasons for driving these vehicles. However, automakers have greatly improved automatic vehicles, narrowing the gap in price, fuel economy, and overall performance.

How Manual Cars Work?

A manual or stick shift is the traditional type of transmission of all vehicles. It requires the driver to manually shift the car’s gears, which requires adjustments using a gear stick and a clutch pedal. When you step on the clutch pedal, it disengages the transmission from the engine.

Once the engine is disengaged, the driver can use the gear stick to shift to the next gear up or down. You can find this kind of transmission in many high-performance vehicles and sports cars.

Pros and Cons of Manual Cars

A shift stick has no self-drive or other advanced features, so you’re more engaged in the driving experience while on the road. This reduces any chance of falling asleep since you’re proactively working the clutch and gear stick.

Apart from being more involved in the driving experience, you also have more control over the vehicle. Further, manual cars are less expensive for repair and maintenance. They’re also more likely to be fuel efficient than many automatic vehicles.

However, one of the biggest challenges of driving a shift stick is the huge learning curve you must overcome before you can drive one more efficiently. Mastering the smooth shifting of the gears, along with the right timing of the clutch pedal, can be difficult for many. This condition is especially true when you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic. Further, driving a manual vehicle can be more challenging for drivers with disabilities.


  • Better suited for high-performance driving.
  • Manual transmission is easier to drive during bad weather.
  • Driving these cars is more engaging.
  • A lot of people find driving a manual gear car more enjoyable.
  • Most manual cars are more fuel efficient than their automatic counterparts.
  • These vehicles are typically less costly to maintain.


  • Learning to drive requires a steep learning curve for beginners.
  • The resale value of manual cars is usually lower except if you’re selling high-performance models.
  • These cars are typically harder to sell and only take up 2% of the U.S. car market.
  • Driving one will require more focus and attention.
  • These vehicles can be pretty demanding, especially when driving in traffic.

How Do Automatic Cars Work?

Automatic cars use automatic transmissions designed to shift gears without any input from the driver. It is equipped with a series of gears connected to a torque converter. As the engine revs up, it causes the torque converter fluid to flow, which then rotates the gears in the automatic transmission.

The gears in this type of transmission are arranged in a pattern with a gear ratio designed to provide varying speed and torque levels. The system is equipped with sensors that monitor the load of the engine and its speed. Through these sensors, the entire gear system can adjust the gear ratio automatically to match the vehicle’s load and speed. With this system, the transmission can provide optimal power and performance to the car.

Unlike the manual gear stick, in manual cars, you only have to select the vehicle’s driving mode, not the gears to use. You need to select P (park), R (reverse), N (neutral), D (drive), and L (low), which are the different driving modes in automatic cars.

However, in other cars, especially in high-performance vehicles, instead of the L (low), they will include an S (sport) and M (manual) as additional driving functions. It is important to note that drivers must select the low gear to engage the vehicle’s engine brake for better control, especially in uphill or downhill driving.

Pros and Cons of Automatic Vehicles

Just like manual cars, automatic vehicles also have their advantages and disadvantages. Consider the following:


  • Automatic cars are potentially safer since they’re less prone to accidents due to human error. They are equipped with sensors and safety features that can reduce accidents.-
  • They provide a more effortless driving experience, especially when driving in traffic.
  • These vehicles also provide increased accessibility since they have features allowing people with disabilities to drive them.
  • Modern automatic vehicles have become more fuel efficient, reducing emissions and fuel consumption.
  • Some automatic cars also offer a manual transmission, giving you the best of both worlds.


  • Automatic cars are often more expensive compared to manual vehicles. The more features are packed into a car, the pricier it can get.
  • This car has more moving parts and features, which can lead to higher maintenance costs.
  • If your car has an autonomous driving feature, you may encounter legal and regulatory issues when using that mode.
  • The sensors and other advanced features can also be prone to malfunction.

Driving Experience

Another difference to note in manual vs. automatic transmission is the driving experience, which is subjective. Some people will prefer the easy driving experience of automatic transmission vehicles. In contrast, others will lean towards the added control provided by manual cars.

Car Maintenance

You can expect automatic vehicles to require more maintenance since they have more parts and features. The transmission is also more complex, requiring more frequent checkups and tune-ups. You will need to check the clutch and gear system on manual cars since they can wear out over time. In worst-case scenarios, you will need to replace them.

For this reason, all drivers need to pay attention to their vehicles and use high-quality maintenance products to keep their cars in tip-top shape. At Berryman Products, we have over 100 years of experience providing automobile maintenance solutions. Our products are available globally. Contact us today to learn more about the products that are best suited for manual and automatic cars.

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