Manual vs. Automatic Car Transmission: modern critique


Since the invention in 1935 of an automatic transmission and to this day there are ongoing controversies on the topic of what is better: manual or automatic transmission? We will not repeat the generally known information. The purpose of this article is to cover so-called "pros" and "cons", having analyzed the information from the Internet and conducted a comparison with the realities of driving cars with mechanics and automatics in modern life.


Considering the above-mentioned question, it can be noted that the supporters of the manual transmission consider it more profitable than the automatic, because if you use the free running motion or a fast gear change - fuel consumption will significantly reduce. What does the practice show us about this? The gear shift speed of some automatic transmissions is tens of times higher than the theoretical possible switching speed of the manual transmission. So, no matter how competent the driver of the car from the manual transmission, in this competition he will definitely come to the finish second.

The authors of some articles also claim that any automatic transmissions takes near 30% of engine power, - this thesis can be considered absurd as the transmission (as well as other nodes) is an integral parts of the car and in no way can absorb its power. Even on cars of F1 are used automatic transmissions.


 Another thesis, widespread on the Internet, is a fact of the easier "wakings" of car in winter time, if it have manual transmission: when you push the clutch (to unlock the transmission and the crankshaft), the starter doesn't need to turn a frozen fluid in the "box". With automatic transmissions this will not really work, but in this kind of transmissions you don't need to do such things, because the fluidity of the fluid in the automatic transmissions, on average, ranges from -40⁰С to -50⁰C, while the oil in the manual transmission becomes dense at -25 ⁰C.


The advantage of cars with the manual transmission often consider the possibility of their towing in the event of a breakdown, when for car with automatic transmission you need to call the tow truck. This information also is a myth, becouse cars with automatic transmissions are allowed to tow at speeds up to 30 km / h.

One more moment in comparing mechanical and automatic boxes is the cost their service. In this aspect, it is believed that if the automatic transmission has a larger capacity for transmission fluid, the cost of the it service is bigger. The comparison is incorrect, because in these transmission boxes, absolutely different liquids are used: in the manual transmission it is an oil of the class GL according to the classification of the API, and in the automatic - a liquid of the ATF class. In addition, in some modern cars, the fluid in the transmission does not need to be changed during the entire life of the car (!).

It is necessary to emphasize, that exclusively with using an automatic transmission is possible to realize various modern safety and comfort systems, such as adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance system, automatic parking system and much more. Moreover, car makers report that in the coming years they will completely stop producing cars with the manual transmission, and in the segment of the S-class they no longer produced at all.

So, if you reject the fact that cars with automatic transmissions have a longer motor resource and the driver is not distracted by shifting gears, getting more comfort and safety during a complex maneuver (and not only), then the choice of transmission is just a matter of taste. 

You always have a choice!