The Pros and Cons of Automatic and Manual Transmissions

Posted on August 8, 2018 by Lewis Automotive in Auto Repair

Understanding the differences between automatic and manual transmissions is an important step when purchasing a new vehicle. Each transmission offers their pros and cons and failing to understand what compliments your lifestyle can really hurt your driving experience and your wallet.

Are you curious what each vehicle transmission brings to the table? Do you need more information before making your next car purchase? If so, read on as we break down the pros and cons of automatic and manual transmission systems!

Automatic Transmissions

Maintenance

Automatic transmissions will always take more effort to repair. This is due to the hundreds of parts found within the system that is responsible for shifting the gears smoothly. If any of the parts malfunction, that could spell disaster for your transmissions. Three key components to keep in mind when maintaining your automatic transmission system is the transmission fluid, filter, and your personal driving habits.

Transmission Fluid: When it comes to replacing (called flushing or draining) your transmission fluid, it helps to be proactive. Most people should expect to flush the fluid once every year. Transmission fluid should have a cherry red color and have a sweet smell to it. If at any point the fluid deviates from those two qualities, then it’s time to get your fluid replaced.

If you’re interested in saving money, check out this article written by the Popular Mechanics that walk you through the necessary steps to safely flush and replace your transmission fluid.

Transmission Filters:For the transmission filters, make sure that your car even has one. A car having a filter is dependent on the make and model of the vehicle and some owners won’t have to worry about this step. You’ll usually find these filters in newer vehicles and owners should expect to change them at the same time their transmission fluid is flushed.

Driving Habits: this will be an important component to keeping your transmission system healthy. For automatics, heat is their worst enemy. That’s why it’s important for owners to keep their car out of heavy duty situations as much as possible. What qualifies as a “heavy duty situation?” Towing, climbing a steep hill, and quickly accelerating are just a few examples.

Cost

Automatic transmission systems will also cost a lot more than their manual counterparts. Owners should expect to pay between $100 – $200 for transmission fluid replacement based on the type of fluid selected and who is doing it. If you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to replace the whole transmission system, it’s going to hurt your wallet. Non-luxury cars can expect to pay between $2,000 – $4,000 and the number only floats up for luxury vehicles, with prices getting as high as $10,000 based on the make, model, and brand.

Manual Transmissions

Maintenance

Unlike automatics, manual transmission systems are a lot easier to maintain due to fewer parts found within it. The drawback is that the system is much more susceptible to damage from user error.

User Error: though it’s normal for manual car drivers to kill the engine or stall out the car from time-to-time, drivers should do their best to limit it. Continuous user errors can stack and cause some unwanted damage to the transmission system. Learning how to drive stick? Have an experienced driver with you to help limit some of the errors.

Cost

Another plus for manual transmissions is the cheaper prices that come with it. Transmission fluids for manual cars don’t need to be flushed as frequently and when they do, owners can expect to pay half of what automatic owners pay. As for transmission replacements, those too are a lot cheaper as manual owners will be looking at rates between $1,500 and $3,000 for non-luxury vehicles.

Written by Lewis Automotive

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