Have you even thought about how rare a stick shift car is these days? Interestingly, the only cars that regularly seem to have manual transmissions these days are at opposite ends of the spectrum—high performance sports cars and ancient little “Beaters”. There is good reason for the disappearance of the manual transmission—automatic transmissions are better. Whether you’re looking at safety, convenience or just how frequently you’re going to find yourself at Trans Works Transmissions for repair work, there are advantages for an automatic transmission, particularly if the driver is not an expert with the stick shift.
Convenience is one area where an automatic transmission wins hands down. There is no clutch pedal to depress, you don’t have to shift gears while you’re driving and you don’t have to ride the brake at every stoplight. Some would argue that this also takes the fun out of driving, and there certainly is a thrill to slamming the shifter into fourth gear on the open highway. However, how much thrill is there to riding the clutch and trying to keep from stalling out in rush hour traffic downtown? That shifting hand is probably better served picking up a cup of coffee for a sip on Monday morning at the stoplight.
Distracted driving is one of the major causes of accidents on the road today, and depending on your perspective, automatic transmissions may be part of the problem or part of the solution. On the one hand, you would think that having to remember to do things like shift and press in the clutch pedal might keep you more focused and less likely to do other distracting things like talking on a cell phone.
On the other hand adding a few more tasks to a driver, particularly an inexperienced driver or a driver operating their vehicle in adverse weather or traffic conditions, is rarely a good idea. Unfortunately, those extra tasks probably won’t stop people from acting out their bad driving habits either – it could just make them more dangerous. There is also the issue of manual transmission cars tending to roll backwards when stopped on a hill if the driver forgets to hold the brake down, sometimes causing minor accidents.
In the long run, a manual transmission is actually better on maintenance. When it comes time to bring your car to Trans Works Transmission for that major transmission overhaul, it is much easier and cheaper to service a manual than an automatic transmission. In the short run, however, manual transmission owners may find themselves replacing clutch plates, shift linkages and other parts that experience the wear of human interaction. This is especially true if people who aren’t expert drivers with a stick shift often use the car.