Don’t Worry, Our Transmission Service Mechanic Can Fix Both
Although approximately 96% of new cars sold in the USA have automatic transmission, many people still argue that the stick-shift is superior. There are a number of reasons put forward for this belief, and here we examine a few of the more popular opinions.
The first argument put forward is always the financial reason; stick-shift cars are more economical, cost less to buy, and are cheaper to repair. Leaving the fuel economy to one side for a moment, let us look at purchase and repair costs. It is certainly true that, in days gone by, you could buy a stick shift model for slightly less than the same car with an auto transmission. However, the growth in popularity of automatic cars across the world has meant that, for most manufacturers, the unit cost has gone down. Nowadays, there is very little difference in price between the two, and on some models, auto transmission can even be cheaper than stick-shift. It is also true that, when you take an automatic car to a transmission service mechanic, it may cost slightly more to repair. But, the stick-shift devotees often forget to factor in the cost of clutch replacement; clutches are consumable items, and their operational life depends on your driving style. Aggressive driving can wear out a clutch in a very short time, adding considerably to the ongoing costs of running a stick-shift.
Going back to fuel economy, automatic transmissions have improved considerably in recent years. Gone are the thirsty, old, three-speed transmissions; modern transmissions have six or seven gears, meaning that fuel economy has increased greatly. Many models now have better fuel consumption figures for autos than stick-shifts.
The other argument often put forward is that stick-shifts offer a better driver experience. Devotees describe the feeling of being in total control of the car, of being able to downshift at exactly the right time to get the best acceleration through a tight curve. There is no doubt that auto transmissions do not offer the same level of control. However, it is important to balance that against the convenience of an auto transmission when you are in heavy traffic. Using the clutch and manually changing gear every couple of seconds through a 5-mile tailback loses its appeal very quickly.
In the end, stick-shift or auto transmission is a personal choice, and it appears that 96% of drivers prefer the auto option.