Manual vs. Automatic

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The debate rages on. If you speak to ten different people chances are you’ll get ten different opinions.

Historically, the most popular reasons for choosing the manual transmission were better fuel economy and more driving excitement (Somehow, rowing your own makes some feel like they’re in control). Other less popular reasons include lower costs and higher reliability.manual transmission mainshaft

There was a time when the manual transmission was superior in every way but there was also a time when churning your own butter was better than store bought.

Today’s automatic transmissions, however, are more sophisticated and more reliable than ever before. The fuel economy in an automatic equipped vehicle is often far superior to it’s manual counterpart. Reliability is more than 300% better than even 10 years ago and the cost of the automatic option is often minimal, in some cases the automatic is less expensive than the manual transmission option.ZF automatic internal cutaway

Today’s shining star is the all-new “dual clutch” transmission with the reliability of the manual transmission and the lightning quick performance of an automatic together in one fantastic unit. In fact, the development of the dual clutch transmission is arguably the most innovative automotive advancement of our day.

That’s probably the reason why Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari, Audi, BMW, and most other high-end manufacturers have abandoned the antiquated manual transmission. There really are no advantages to the stick shift other than driver preference for the stick. There will always be those that enjoy moving the stick back and forth, and to those we say…row on.

At Horsepower Broadcasting, we have countless discussions regarding the pros and cons of this age-old debate and we welcome your comments.

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About Author

Donny is a Southern California specialty shop owner with primary emphasis on transmission and differential systems. He is an automotive technology graduate with over 30 years of experience. He and his wife own DMC Transmission outside of Los Angeles and were awarded “Shop of the Year” honors in 2010 and 2011.

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1 Comment

  1. AUTOMATICS are BORING. I’ve driven many automatics and the actions of the auto trans are slower to throttle response and shifting. Control is less. Up shifting and down shifting are sluggish. Stick it to me. My daily car is a 5 spd and my weekender is a 6 spd.

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