Whether you're buying a new or used car, one of the decisions you'll have to make is choosing between an automatic or manual transmission. Also known as a "gearbox," the transmission plays an important role in the function of modern-day cars. When a car accelerates, the transmission shifts into a higher gear. And when it slows down, it shifts back into a lower gear. This process is essential to maintaining proper horsepower and torque depending on the vehicle's speed.
While both automatic and manual transmissions perform this same process. However, there are some stark differences regarding the way in which they operate.
The most obvious difference between an automatic and manual transmission is that the former changes gears automatically, whereas the latter requires the driver to press down on a clutch pedal while simultaneously changing the gearshift. As a result, most drivers will agree that automatic transmission engines are easier to drive. And this is probably why more than 90% of new cars sold have an automatic transmission.
Many people believe that manual transmission engines are more fuel efficient than their manual counterpart. In the past, this was true. Today, however, automakers have improved automatic transmissions, making them comparable to manual transmissions. There's still a slight difference in fuel economy, but it's negligible at best and shouldn't have a noticeable impact on how much you spend at the pump.
Generally speaking, manual transmissions are easier to maintain than automatic transmissions. They are lighter, less complex, and easier to access (in many vehicles, at least). With that said, however, manual transmissions also have a clutch pedal, and if the clutch goes out, you may have trouble getting your vehicle back on the road.
One of the areas in which manual transmissions outdo automatics is acceleration. This is because manual transmissions allow for more efficient use of the engine's power to turn the drive wheels. Long story short, you can accelerate more quickly using a manual transmission engine.
Finally, there's the issue of safety that you need to consider when choosing between an automatic or manual transmission. Some people may argue that automatic transmissions are safer because they are easier to operate. With a manual transmission, you have to change gears using the clutch pedal and gearshift in addition to pressing the gas pedal. Automatic transmissions, on the other hand, eliminate the need for pressing the clutch pedal and changing the gearshift. This doesn't necessarily mean that automatic transmissions are safer; it only means that some drivers are more comfortable using them.