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Automatic vs Manual Cars: What is the difference?

Yes, you’re probably well aware that you don’t need to manually change gears in an automatic car and the exact opposite is true when it comes to manual cars. 

But what is the mechanism that leads to this difference? What do we know about automatic vs manual cars?

In this blog, you will learn: 

  • The major differences between manual cars and automatic cars
  • What are manual cars
  • How does a manual car work
  • Advantages of using a manual car over an automatic car
  • Disadvantages of using a manual car over an automatic car
  • What are automatic cars
  • How does an automatic car work
  • Advantages of using an automatic car over a manual car
  • Disadvantages of using an automatic car over a manual car

TL, DR: In automatic vs manual cars, the key difference is the shifting of gears. The crux lies in understanding the transmission system of both

Let us discuss this in more depth so you understand the basic difference between manual cars and automatic cars.

What are Manual Cars: Manual Transmission cars

automatic vs manual cars: manual transmission

In a Manual car, It requires the driver to change their gears manually with the help of a tool which is called a shift stick. The manual car has three pedals i.e. brakes, accelerator, and clutch. 

The driver presses the clutch with his foot while changing the gear.

This type of car has manual transmission of gear so it requires extensive driver inputs. The driver selects and changes the gear. As per statistics, In the global automotive, in the year 2020, 37.17 percent of cars have manual transmission.

How does a manual car work

To understand the working of a manual car, we need to look at how the manual transmission work. The transmission system of the car is responsible for transmitting the energy from the engine to the wheels. The rotatory motion produced by the pistons of the car is transferred through a shaft towards the wheels. 

This requires the driver of the car to engage and disengage the clutch to change the gear of the car. To have a smooth flow of the ride, the gears need to fit the speed of the car. To change the gears or to temporarily slow down the vehicle and keep the engine running, you need to disengage the connection of the shaft from the engine to the wheels.

When this operation is done manually, the car is known as a manual car.

Advantages of using a manual car over an automatic car

Here are some of the advantages of using a manual car:

  • Manual cars are relatively less expensive than automatic ones. As the manual gear transmissions are cheaper than the automatic gear systems.
  • Manual cars are fuel-efficient as they give more mileage in lesser fuel. 
  • They have better acceleration than automatic cars. Due to this, manual cars are preferred by many racecar and performance drivers. 
  • Manual cars require cheaper maintenance costs.

Disadvantages of using a manual car over an automatic car

Here are some of the disadvantages of using a manual car:

  • Since everything is manual, the driver must learn and practice how to use the systems and drive the car properly.
  • The driver should also know how to coordinate the brakes, clutch, and accelerator simultaneously.
  • These cars are difficult to drive in stop-and-go traffic. In places such as cities and roads with heavy traffic, driving these types of cars becomes hard.

What are automatic cars?

automatic vs manual cars: Automatic transmission

As the name suggests, these types of cars are automatic and hence they don’t require the driver to manually change the gear.

The car’s transmission system automatically changes the gear as per the engine’s requirements. Hence there is no clutch as there is no need to change gear manually. 

Automatic cars only have brakes and an accelerator. In such cars, there are only 4 modes which are Park (P), Drive (D), Reverse (R), and Neutral (N). You only need to decide whether to drive the car, reverse the car or keep it neutral. The car will change the gear according to the engine.

How does an Automatic car work?

The automatic cars work with an automatic transmission system, there are sensors that detect the changes in the system and control the gear shifting. In the automatic car, the gears shift using internal oil pressure. 

Just like the clutch engages and disengages in a manual car. The gear shift when the engine is the transmission is temporarily disconnected from the engine. This is taken care of by the torque converted in the car. The automatic car is controlled only by two pedals, the brake, and accelerator.

Advantages of using an automatic vs manual cars

Here are some of the advantages of using an automatic car:

  • Automatic cars are very easy to drive. You can just put the car in drive mode and handle the steering without any tension or changing gears frequently.
  • These types of cars are best for beginners who want to learn and practice their driving as they are easy to drive.
  • Automatic cars have a higher resale value. 
  • They are good for driving in Stop and Go traffic, especially on busy roads and cities.

Disadvantages of using an automatic car over a manual car

Here are some of the disadvantages of using an automatic car:

  • Automatic cars are more expensive than manual cars. 
  • They are less fuel-efficient and give less mileage than manual cars.
  • Their repair and maintenance charges are costly compared to manual cars.

Wrap Up: Automatic vs Manual Cars: What is the difference?

The basic difference between manual cars and automatic cars is a requirement for manual efforts and automation.

What suits the person depends on your needs and requirements. If you are a beginner and mostly travel in stop-and-go traffic such as in cities; then an automatic car would be better for you. However, if someone wants performance and a good driving experience along with a budget, a manual car wins.

Although it is almost clear that automatic cars would dominate the car industry. At present automatic cars are expensive and less fuel-efficient but they are rapidly evolving and becoming better than manual cars.