Since the advent of the automatic transmission, car enthusiasts have been duking it out over which type of transmission is superior. Manual transmission loyalists prefer the ability to take ultimate control over shifting gears as they drive, while others enjoy the ease and efficiency of an automatic transmission doing all the heavy lifting. As the 21st century progresses, we are witnessing a sharp decline in the number of autos with manual transmissions rolling off the production line- in fact, only 10% of vehicles manufactured in North America in 2014 were equipped with a manual transmission, according to Fox News. While it is apparent that the automatic transmission is winning the popularity contest at the moment, there is still good news for those who prefer a gearbox with a clutch- it is still possible to get a variety of cars equipped with manual transmissions, as long as you’re OK with pre-ordering or hunting around at your local dealerships.

Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of both automatic and manual transmissions.

Automatic Transmission-

The Pros- When it comes to a driving experience, you can’t get much easier than an automatic transmission. As its name implies, the gears automatically shift as the car drives, taking the guesswork out of the equation, which can be particularly advantageous for less experienced drivers. Additionally, the absence of a clutch means that your left foot won’t get tired in stop-and-go traffic, which can be a plus for those who make regular commutes in heavy traffic. 

Automatic Transmission
Automatic Transmission

The Cons- Say what you will about the efficiency of an automatic transmission, but they simply aren’t as much fun to drive, say many proponents of the manual transmission. While it is true that automatic transmissions take the work out of shifting as you drive, a lot of manual transmission enthusiasts say that’s precisely what makes driving enjoyable. With the lack of ultimate shifting control in an automatic, sick moves like peel-outs, drifts and cool-sounding engine revs (which you really shouldn’t do anyway) are off the table, so you and your automatic transmission can kiss your cameo in the next Fast and Furious movie goodbye.

Manual Transmission-

The Pros- If you want to be 100% present and in the moment for your driving experience each time you get behind the wheel, maybe a manual transmission is for you. Though a lot of driving with a clutch can become second nature thanks to experience and muscle memory, a manual transmission vehicle relies solely on the driver to anticipate and execute gear shifts. Perfect for those who really want to hear every subtle nuance of their car’s engine; not so much for the less-coordinated or easily-distracted driver.

Manual Transmission
Manual Transmission

The Cons-

Get ready to never take your left foot off of that clutch pedal, or else you run the risk of stalling out, rolling backwards, or grinding gears. While this can add to the excitement of driving for some, not everyone prefers having to be that on top of things while driving, and it can become quickly exhausting to drive a stick shift when you are forced to keep your foot on the brake for much of your journey. Something that is a lot of fun on an open highway is not always the best option in a traffic jam.

As the century marches on, we are witnessing a sharp decline in the prevalence of manual transmission cars. While many of us in previous generations learned to drive on a manual transmission simply because of their wide availability at the time, this is not the case for the current crop of new drivers; in fact, these days, manual transmission driving is considered a “specialty skill” at many driver’s ed programs and private driving schools, and require the student to pay extra to learn. So for the newly-minted drivers on the road, the automatic transmission is all they’ve ever known, and all they’re ever likely to know. Even exotic sports and racing cars are now coming equipped with automatic transmissions; where it was once nigh impossible to track down a Ferrari with an automatic transmission, the celebrated Italian car maker now has an entire line of automatic-only vehicles in answer to consumer demand, and in fact has stopped production on manual-transmission vehicles altogether as of 2016. While this may seem like the final blow for the era of the manual transmission, speed demons and auto enthusiasts should take note that the stick shift as we know it has given way to paddle shifters and DSG gearboxes, both of which are considered superior to the old manual transmission in the way of giving the driver ultimate control.

Regardless of how you feel about manual or automatic transmissions, Riverside Transmission is Waltham, MA’s top choice for transmission repair. We can effectively and accurately diagnose and repair your automatic or manual transmission for a much more affordable price than your dealership, guaranteed. Call us today at 781-894-9395 to schedule your appointment with our team of transmission repair experts.

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