Years ago, the manual, or “standard,” transmission was the only option available. However, since the advent of automatic transmission, the manual shift has seen a slow but steady decline in popularity. The reason for this is people are basically lazy by nature and only want to do the least amount of work possible. Today the majority of people who drive a standard-shift vehicle are the ones who are aware of all the benefits it still offers drivers in the know. Here are six of the top reasons why people still choose to drive a manual transmission:
1. Better Gas Mileage
All other things being equal, vehicles with manual-shift transmissions get better fuel economy for two main reasons. First, an automatic transmission is a flat-out complicated mechanical monstrosity that uses up fuel every time it changes gear. Second, because they have so many parts, auto transmissions are much heavier than standard shift transmissions and the extra weight also increases fuel consumption.
2. More Power
In automotive parlance, automatic transmissions are parasites. Parasites are anything that comes between the engine and the wheels that absorb power. Again, because there are so many moving parts that all use power when the transmission changes gears, there is less power left to transfer to the wheels. One huge power drain is the torque converter many automatic transmissions use to convert the power from the tranny. Here manual transmissions really shine as they have none of the power-sapping components of automatic transmissions and the driver controls when and how gears are changed. This is why most larger trucks still use manual transmissions.
3. Cheaper to Buy, Maintain, and Repair
Again, and those who aren’t careful may miss the theme here because manual transmissions have so fewer and less complicated, moving parts, vehicles with manual transmissions are cheaper to buy, maintain and most importantly repair. The cost of rebuilding a standard shift transmission is typically less than half the cost of an automatic. Another cost-saving feature of a manual transmission is the oil does not have to be changed as often. Additionally, older manual transmissions use grease to lubricate the gears, not fluid.
4. The Driver Is in Complete Control
Because the driver decides when and how to change gears, the driver is always in complete control of how much power is delivered to the wheels. This can be a huge benefit when driving in adverse weather conditions like snow, ice, and even heavy rain. While computers are a marvelous technological advancement, they are no match for the human brain. With a manual gearbox, the driver is never in a situation of having the transmission decide to shift on its own at the worst possible moment.
5. Deters Thieves and Borrowers
Because cars with automatic transmission have become the norm, anyone can drive them. However, anyone who drives a vehicle with a manual transmission today does so out of choice. Because most people have no clue how to shift a standard transmission, this dramatically cuts down on the number of people who ask to borrow your car and is definitely a deterrence to most casual car thieves.
6. A Dead Battery is No Problem
If the battery on a car with an automatic transmission goes dead, you have no choice but to call and wait for help to arrive. The way a car starts is the starter motor, powered by the battery, turns the engine over until it fires up. Once the engine is running the starter disengages. While the starting sequence is identical for a vehicle with a manual transmission, the engine in a vehicle with a manual gearbox can be turned over with a dead battery. This is done by placing the vehicle in first gear, depressing the clutch, getting the vehicle rolling, and then releasing the clutch. Power is transferred from the drive wheels to the engine and the engine turns over without the need for the starter motor.
While automatic transmission has become the standard option for most drivers, manual transmission still has its place. With its lower purchase and operation costs along with increased driver control and the fact that it is much more fun to drive than an automatic, the manual transmission is not going to go away completely anytime soon. If you want to learn more about manual transmissions, there are plenty of mechanics in Broadbeach who can answer your questions.