Wednesday 24 April 2024

The truth about manual gearboxes

Manual transmission cars are always made out to be some kind of impossible enigma. So many characters in TV shows and are completely stumped by having to drive a manual transmission car as if it’s somehow ridiculously complicated. Yet, in so many countries around the world, manual cars are the norm and automatics are seen as a bit of a cop-out. So, what’s the truth? Is it really that hard to drive a manual car and are they better or worse than automatics?


In countries like Britain, pretty much everybody is driving manual cars all the time. Of course, it’s going to be a bit more complicated than driving an automatic but it’s not rocket science. You’ve got one extra pedal, the clutch, and a gearstick to deal with. It’s not that much harder than driving an automatic. Once you get used to it, it’s actually better than an automatic in a lot of ways because you’ve got more control over the car. In unusual conditions like snow and ice, or when you’re driving uphill, automatics sometimes struggle because, even though you want to stay in a lower gear, they’ll still change.


One of the main downsides to driving a manual car is that there is a higher risk of overheating. Automatic transmissions have variable speed drives in them which monitor the speed of the motor and adjust it accordingly to avoid overheating. You don’t get that in a manual transmission car so it’s more likely to overheat.


Unless you’re crazy, the idea of going to a mechanic to get your car fixed is a nightmare. They’ll start throwing numbers around and confusing you with terms that you don’t understand, if they’re even real at all. You walk out with a huge bill and no idea what it’s actually for. So, it makes sense that you want a car that doesn’t need as much maintenance. If that’s your priority, get yourself a manual transmission. They tend to be made out of old fashioned simple mechanisms that don’t break as easily. Automatic transmissions, on the other hand, are usually way more complicated and more likely to break.

Manual transmissions also use standard gear oil or engine oil instead of the transmission fluid that you put in an automatic. That transmission fluid deteriorates at a much quicker rate than normal engine oil does so you’ll be replacing it far more often if you’ve got an automatic. It’s not a huge problem but it adds up over the years.


Fuel costs are the biggest expense for drivers and it seems like the prices are shooting up every day. You could start syphoning it out of your neighbors car to save on fuel costs but that’s not likely to end well. If you’re looking for a more legal solution, manual transmission could be it. Automatic cars lose a lot of their power from the torque converter and use extra fuel to make up for it. Manual transmissions don’t have that problem so they’ll usually be more fuel efficient.

Don’t believe the myths about manual transmissions, they’re easy to drive and in a lot of ways, they’re much better than automatics.

** This is a collaborative post

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