What’s the Difference Between Manual and Automatic Transmissions?

By Product Expert | Posted in Technology, Tips and Tricks on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 at 8:56 pm
A woman driving a vehicle

Differences between manual and automatic transmission

When you are looking for a new car, there are a lot of different things you look at. From the vehicle’s size, to its power levels, design, upkeep (if it’s used), and even its drivetrain. You may have noticed that the sportier models tend to be equipped with manual transmission, while typical family sedans and SUVs generally have automatic. But what’s the difference between these transmissions? What are the benefits of each? Let’s take a closer look!


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What does a transmission do?

Starting from the basics, the transmission in your vehicle is what applies the power that is created by your engine to move the vehicle forward. Your transmission controls the power that goes to the wheels, determining what speed you drive at. There are two main components to a transmission; the shaft, and the gears. The shaft is the part that takes the energy from the engine to help your vehicle move, while the gears help to determine the range of speed you can reach.

Woman driving a vehicle

What are the differences between a manual and automatic transmission?

The key difference between these two transmission models is that a manual transmission requires you to do more work when the vehicle is in motion. A manual transmission allows you to physically shift the vehicle into different gears (hence the word “manual”), using a clutch pedal and shift knob. In order to move your vehicle forward and reach higher speeds, you have to manually shift gears to get to your desired speed. An automatic transmission, on the other hand, does the grunt work for you, changing gears fluidly as you push on the gas pedal.

While it sounds like a manual transmission is more of a pain than anything, causing you to have to do more work while driving, there are some benefits to choosing a manual transmission over an automatic. Manual transmissions give you more control over the vehicle, they tend to be less expensive, can get better fuel economy estimates and it can be fun!


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Drivers with questions about manual vs automatic transmission, or those looking to get behind the wheel of a new vehicle, can come on in to Third Coast Autos!