Monday, February 25, 2008

Manual Versus Automatic Transmission

The age old debate of manual vs. automatic can be simply concluded in one word: preference. Choosing between the two has always remained the great debate unless we get cars with transmission that allows them to shift automatically.

Starting with automatic, they are simple, fun and easy to handle. The driver just has to keep one foot on gas pedal and rest of job is done by car, while you sit back and enjoy the ride. Manuals on other hand, give the driver total control on the car and a great feeling knowing that you have all the power on the car and its going your way. In technical terms feature a driver-operated clutch and a movable gear selector, which can change gear ratios automatically as the vehicle moves, and doesn’t require the driver to change gears automatically. The big question is which one of the two is better? Comparison between manual and automatic are general guidelines depending on what on a driver wants and may not apply in certain conditions.

Manuals are known to give better fuel economy as compared to autos. Increased fuel economy in manual transmission is raised by 5 to 15 percent as compared to autos. The mechanical efficiency of autos is cut down by driving the high pressure hydraulic pumps required for its operation. Manual transmissions are still more efficient than belt-driven continuously-variable transmissions. Manuals do not lose much power in as heat through the transmission. The control given to driver in a manual is important for a driver who knows the correct procedure for executing a driving maneuver. Driving a manual requires more involvement from the driver and concentration since the driver is multi-tasking by shifting gears, monitoring traffic and anticipating events. And if the driver fails to multi task then the machine will soon end up in an incorrect gear, which will be obvious from excessive or insufficient engine RPM. Autos require regular servicing and you won’t find diesel versions around. On other hand driving a manual can be a tedious job since it requires continuous shifting and you will never see both hands on steering wheel. If a driver feels a distraction from source like cell phones while driving a manual it can get dangerous, while autos allow flexibility with multi tasking. A manual requires its driver to be adept or practice with car since one must develop a feel for properly engaging the clutch and good accelerator pedal application and clutch control when starting the car from a standstill. . Autos however are more popular among women for its ease and convenience. Manuals can pose a problem when started from a rest at a steep position. There is less wear and tear on gear box transmission and vehicle body due to automatic gear changes. Keeping in view advantages and disadvantages mentioned above, let us consider some other factors which may decide which transmission you require.

If the driver wants most power from his car then going for a manual will surely be the best bet.

Is fuel economy an issue for you? If so, then manual is your choice since autos are known to be more fuel thirsty then manuals. This will be more pronounced if you do a lot of highway or country road driving and less important if you do a lot of city driving. In addition to this small car with small engines, the power exhausted by an automatic transmission is more evident.

Automatics have good resale values and will benefit you if you consider the resale factor. Manual however should be your premiere choice, when buying a car if you have a tight budget. Moreover you will get added features with a manual transmission in a limited budget. Manuals are known to have better mileage and price range with greater accessories, making it ideal choice for people with limited resources.

Though the maintenance factor is not very important but one should consider it especially when buying a car with high mileage and questionable owner history. Automatic transmissions are more prone to wear and tear and thus require space in your budget. Plus its maintenance requires additional care.

And last but not the least comes the fun factor, where manuals definitely take over autos. Manual transmissions give the driver a feel of power and authority over the car engine and you can get maximum power from it. However driving a manual can be a tedious job if you drive in heavy traffic everyday.

I hope you find the information useful, but I again emphasize on the fact there is no good or bad when it comes to transmission and it all depends on one's individual preferences.


Lesly said...
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car pricing said...

One thing that I hate about automatics is that their brake pads always seems to wear off faster than those of manual. Maybe because of not having as much engine break as manual does.