Things you should know before choosing between an automatic or manual transmission

A car needs some kind of transmission in order to move it from one place to another. Both manual and automatic transmission perform the same function using different ways. One can buy either manual or automatic, depending on their needs and style of driving. But before making a decision, you must be familiar with the benefits associated with each kind of transmission. The trend for an automatic transmission has seen a significant increase over some years due to the heavy traffic in cities. It becomes much easier to move from one point to another while driving an automatic transmission. However, car enthusiasts still prefer manual transmission since it gives you a sense of control over the car’s acceleration.

Also Read: AWD vs 4WD Systems – How they are Different and How do they Work!

There is another type of automatic transmission known as Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In this article, we will just compare manual and conventional automatic transmission. Before we look at the various advantages of each transmission in this article, let’s understand the transmission system.

How Does Transmission Work?

Transmission helps in transferring power from the engine to driving axle by changing gears efficiently. The variation of gear ratio takes place. When you shift into a lower gear, the engine provides more power hence reducing the speed. In case of a high gear, engine reduces the power thus providing more speed. Manual transmission allows you to select desired gear according to the driving situation whereas automatic, as the name suggests changes gear automatically by sensing the speed and power required by the car.

Automatic Transmission:

Automatic Tranmission 2The main difference between a manual and automatic transmission is the presence of clutch pedal. It is absent in automatic transmission. You just need to put the transmission in “Drive mode” symbolized as D to move the car. Rest of the work is done by the automatic shifting of the car. The emergency brake is also provided as a pedal instead of the handbrake.

How Automatic Transmission Works

  • Easy to learn and drive:

Although shifting gears is not potentially a difficult job, but many drivers find it difficult to use clutch pedal consistently. As said, “Practice makes a man perfect” you need to practice before achieving expertise in this area. Learners find it convenient to drive an automatic transmission since it involves fewer parameters to worry about. Using a single accelerating pedal in a heavy traffic flow also adds up to less physical exercise involved in operating a clutch. This makes it a driver’s top choice.

  • Better focus on driving:

Unlike manual transmission, you don’t need to shift gears which allow you to completely focus on your driving and surroundings. Sometimes new drivers tend to lose control manoeuvring the car while shifting gears as it involves one hand at regular intervals. The automatic transmission allows the liberty to keep a steady focus while driving.

  • Traffic friendly:

Driving becomes a hectic task when you get yourself stuck in a traffic jam. It requires continuous physical exercise in the shape of shifting gears and operating the clutch pedal. You can easily become tired and angry which is not a good sign when you are driving. Automatic transmission saves you from all the fuss with a double pedal operation in the stop-and-go traffic.

  • Helpful in hilly areas:

Less experienced drivers very often find themselves in a stall position while driving on inclined roads. You need to properly shift gears to achieve the right amount of engine power for acceleration in a manual transmission. Automatic cars take this responsibility from you and do it by themselves. Therefore, it becomes easier for any driver to drive in these areas without the fear of stalling the car.

Manual Transmission:


A manual transmission comes with a clutch that allows you to connect or disconnect the engine with the transmission. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the engine is disconnected with the transmission. This process lets you shift the engine power in desired gear. “H Pattern” is followed in shifting gears. When the car is shifted in gear, the engine provides necessary power in that particular gear. Shifting to higher gear means more speed and reduced engine load which increases the fuel efficiency at cruising speed.

  • Better fuel consumption:

With the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products, everyone around us is concerned about the fuel efficiency of their car these days. Manual transmission enables you to cover some extra distance with the same amount of fuel as compared to an automatic car. Manual transmission allows you to choose the gear manually according to the situation which in turn allows you to drive in economy mode. In automatic cars, a lot of engine power is wasted in the shifting intervals.

  • Better control:

The manual transmission provides better control in terms of adjusting the speed and extracting engine power. A majority of drivers, who wish to take the maximum output from their cars, prefer the manual transmission. This allows them to accelerate the car to the maximum engine revolutions in each gear hence providing more control over the car.

  • Less expensive:

There is literally no comparison between the price of a car with a manual and automatic transmission. In Pakistan, there is around 1.5-2 lac difference in price between both transmissions. So if you are worried about your budget, as many consumers are, a manual car is the way to go. You get the same number of features in a low price tag with the manual transmission.

  • Low maintenance cost:

Cost of ownership is a very common concern among people. Stop thinking about the automatic transmission car if you are one of them. The machinery involved in the manufacturing of automatic transmission is very costly when it comes to repairing. On the other hand, manual cars don’t require too much cost in their repair which is therefore pocket-friendly.

Choice of transmission entirely depends on your need and driving style. It is very important to make a wise decision in this regard. With the growing flow of traffic in Pakistan, automatic cars are getting popular day by day. Moreover, the import of cars from Japan has also increased the number of automatic cars on the road significantly. However, car enthusiasts still find it more fun to drive a manual transmission due to the fact that it allows you to achieve the maximum output from a car. Always keep in mind the safety of yourself and others on the road while driving. Let us know if you find this article helpful and informative.

An Electrical Engineer by profession who writes automotive content at Pakwheels and a photographer.

Notable Replies

  1. AGS (semi-auto) kahan h puray article mein??? bcoz wo cars bhi hain market mein and some guidance is also required about that

  2. Already mentioned in the second paragraph of the article:
    "In this article, we will just compare manual and conventional automatic transmission"

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