Thanks to modern advancements, choosing between an automatic and manual car mainly comes down to driving preference; aka, gear placements. Automatic shifters will often feature a more streamlined design with the “PRNDL” modes: park, reverse, neutral, drive, and low gear. A manual shifter, aka stick shift, will have five to seven forward modes and a reverse. They are numbered, and it’s up the driver to correctly shift to each gear as they accelerate or reverse. Additionally, they have to also use the clutch petal while shifting. Due to that more complicated process, some drivers prefer the automatic system, while others enjoy having control over the gears. This is typically what people keep in mind when they are deciding between an automatic and manual. But are there other factors in maintenance or cost to consider?

Let’s take a look at how their transmissions compare.

Transmission Fluid

While transmission fluid often labels itself as “lifetime”, getting it changed around 60,000 or 70,000 miles will help extend the life of your transmission. Whether you have an automatic or manual, dirty fluid will put more strain on the gears, and they’ll be harder to shift. Depending on how rough a driver has been with their manual gears, they may need to get the fluid changed sooner.

Transmission Clutch

While an automatic clutch will typically last the life of the car, as long as they driver is not too hard on it, a manual will most likely need at least one clutch replacement in its lifetime. Since manual vehicles require more shifting, the clutches are more likely to wear down with more continuous use.

Transmission System

In general, a driver who struggles to use the correct manual gears could end up causing more wear and tear on their transmission system. That’s why it’s so important to listen for any new sounds or vibrations when shifting with a manual car. However, because an automatic transmission makes those shifts itself, it has a more complex system that will require more overall maintenance. Plus, an automatic car can also switch to a higher or lower gear at the wrong time, which wastes more gas and engine power. This is why you might have heard that manuals are more fuel efficient since the driver chooses when to switch gears. A less complicated transmission system also means that maintenance costs will often be lower. Depending on individual use, the overall maintenance cost between the two may not be too different.

Whether you have an automatic or manual car, the technicians at Superior Service Center will perform expert repairs on your transmission. Stop by our Eagan, MN or Apply Valley, MN locations for superior car service.