Global car sales are expected to plummet, shattering former positive predictions, due to COVID-19. With that, consumers that are buying cars are becoming more choosy and are looking for the absolute best deals ahead of what may be a difficult economy to amass wealth in.

If you’re among those that are looking to purchase a vehicle, you must understand the difference between manual and automatic transmissions so you can decide if automatic or manual will provide you with the best experience versus value.

Our team has complied a quick comparative list of pros and cons to help bring clarity to that question.

What Makes a Car Automatic or Manual?

Before we dive into whether automatic or manual cars will better suit your lifestyle, let’s understand what makes a car fall into one of those two buckets.

Manual cars have six gears and a reverse gear. These gears need to be cycled through manually, relative to the speed and direction of the vehicle, for the car to operate properly. Automatic cars have gears as well. The difference is they are shifted through automatically.

In addition to a manual gearbox, manual cars have a clutch pedal you have to depress when swapping gears that are not present in automatic cars.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Automatic Transmissions?

Focusing on automatic transmissions, this style of car carries several pros and cons. The primary factors you should be aware of include:

Pro: Simplicity

If you’re looking to get on the road without having to think too much, you’ll love automatic transmissions. Just pop the car into drive and your vehicle will do the rest.

Pro: Comfort

Automatic cars are comfortable from the perspective of not making you think and from the design of their cabs. As we mentioned, automatic cars do not have clutch pedals which means more room for your feet to rest while driving.

Many automatic cars have even shifted their transmission lever to sit by the steering wheel. That has increased the space where you can rest your right hand by your side during long road trips.

Pro: Safety

You always hear authority figures say to keep both hands on the wheel. That’s hard to do though with manual cars since you have to be prepared to shift gears as road conditions change.

Automatic cars let you keep both hands on the wheel which can improve your ability to react to spur of the moment situations.

Con: Cost

Automatic cars require more intricate engineering. That handwork is passed onto you in the way of increased costs. Furthermore, since automatic cars are much more popular in the United States, that heightened demand affects pricing. However, you can reduce your repair costs by sourcing parts from online suppliers likeย

Con: Control

When you let your car automatically shift gears, you lose control over your driving experience. Have you ever drove up a hill and felt like your car was struggling to get past a certain speed?

That’s the by-product of an automatic transmission not shifting gears as well as it should.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Manual Transmissions?

Manual transmissions are popular in Europe, but still have a ways to go in America. Several pros and cons make this car style loved or hated in certain circles, the primary of which include:

Pro: Control

The vast majority of people that choose to buy a manual car in the United States today will do so because they want full control over their vehicles.

At the end of the day, the connection you have with the road when you’re driving manual is unmatched since every element of your driving experience is directed by you.

This is why driving professionals like racers use manual transmissions.

Pro: Cost

Manual cars are simpler and less popular than their automatic counterparts. That could mean $1000 or more in savings when you choose a manual transmission over an automatic one.

Pro: Reduced Theft

Since manual cars are less desirable domestically than automatic, their niche status makes them less susceptible to theft.

Not only would a lot of people need to hop on to even learn how to drive off with a manual car, but resale values on manual transmissions are lower which makes automatic vehicles a better target.

Con: Active Driving Experience

This may be a pro for some but for others, the idea of always needing to be involved in every aspect of your drive might sound exhausting. Driving a manual car is probably not an activity that lets you zone out to enjoy the scenery.

Con: Resale Value

While buying a manual transmission car will save you money upfront, you might take a hit on the back-end that eats into or completely diminishes that savings.

Car buyers are not excited about buying most manual cars which means that many will low-ball you their offer more than they would with automatic transmissions.

Which Style of Transmission Is Better?

While we’d all love a black and white answer to the automatic or manual question, as you’ve just learned, each driving style has a unique set of pros and cons that make it impossible to declare an objective winner.

At the end of the day, your driving and lifestyle will dictate which would make for a better purchase.

If you’re still scratching your head as to which kind of car you should be looking for, we’ve got you covered.

Our blog features a plethora of new content that can help steer you towards the answers you need!

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