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Difference between Manual and Automatic Transmission

Manual and Automatic Transmission

Before buying a car we need to know about what type of car and what type of transmission will suit us better. There are two types of transmissions, one is the automatic transmission and the second is the manual transmission. So to decide which car to buy it is important to know the difference between manual transmission and automatic transmission.

The most significant difference between the two transmissions is that in manual transmission the driver uses a clutch to change the gears whereas a car with an automatic transmission adjusts the gears automatically based on the engine speed. This is the main reason why one transmission is called automatic whereas the other is called manual.

The usage of fuel by a manual transmission car is less but automatic transmission uses more gas. This is an important consideration when taking the buying decision regarding which type of car to buy. An automatic car will overtime have far greater expenditures due to greater fuel consumption.

If we use manual transmission then it will give greater control of the car but it is not always convenient to drive a manual car. Automatic transmission gives lesser control over the car but promises comfort and convenience. A great deal of concentration is required in manual transmission as the driver is required to use both feet and both hands to drive the car but in automatic transmission the left leg is free.

There is also a difference between the prices of both the cars. A car with manual transmission is cheaper than the same car with automatic transmission. Moreover, maintenance costs are also greater for automatic cars as repairing of the gearbox as well other parts concerned with the transmission is more expensive than the same parts of a manual car.

In manual transmission the gear is located in the floor whereas the location of gear is at the steering or in the floor in automatic transmission. The gear in manual cars has an outward protruding handle that can be shifter in 6 directions; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and the reverse gear. The gear in automatic transmission incorporates the first 5 gears in the ‘Drive’ gear and has a ‘P’ for parking, ‘R’ for reverse and two other gears named ‘1’ and ‘2’ for restricting the changing of gears to the 1st and 2nd level respectively.

Manual transmission cars are more efficient cars on average. Automatic cars, however, are more popular and are bought more than manual cars.

Summary Points

    • In manual transmission the driver uses a clutch to change the gears whereas an automatic car adjusts the gears automatically based on the engine speed


    • A manual transmission car uses lesser fuel than an automatic car


    • In manual transmission, the driver has greater control of the car than in automatic transmission, whereby the decision to change gears is taken by the car!


    • An automatic car is easier and convenient to drive


    • Manual cars are cheaper than the same car with automatic transmission; costs of repair and other maintenance is also greater for automatic cars


    • In manual transmission the gear is located in the floor whereas the location of gear is at the steering or on the floor in automatic transmission


    • In manual transmission the driver is responsible for changing the gears and a great deal of concentration is needed; both the feet and hands are required to drive the cars; in automatic transmission cars the gears changes automatically and the left foot is free while driving


    • Automatic transmission cars are used more often in sports than manual transmission cars


    • Automatic transmission cars are more popular and are bought more on average than manual transmission cars.


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  1. Also to keep in mind is that a manual transmission will give the car more power as the automatic saps power away making manuals more appropriate for smaller engines and/or sports cars. Most manual transmissions use heavy gear oil as opposed to the relatively light Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) used by the Automatics. Manual transmissions are also superior in inclement weather conditions due to the ability to coast and upshift at anytime. Upshifting reduces the torque to the wheels and this is used to stop the wheels from spinning on a slippery and/or icy surface. Manual transmissions also don’t require much more concentration from the driver as using the clutch and gearshift soon become second nature.

  2. Great explanation i am very greatful.

  3. Love the automatic!

  4. Your remarks on both transmissions are good but need more information. Because some experts say that auto gear are useing less fuel……..!

  5. You explanations has improve my driving both automatic and manual car,thanks.

  6. Good but still don’t understand 1″ 2″ on auto gears

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