The Advantages of Buying a Manual Transmission Vehicle Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,137
edited September 2014 in General

imageThe Advantages of Buying a Manual Transmission Vehicle

You often hear that cars with manual transmissions have many advantages over automatics (cost, better MPG, cool factor). But that's not always the case.

Read the full story here


  • jdear97jdear97 Member Posts: 2
    I have always had at least one stick in the house. I enjoy the manual transmissions driving interaction and how lively the car feels with most manuals. It can make even an econobox much more fun to drive. Two of my children have taken to the manual.
    One more is trying and two are not interested.
    I will be very sorry to see them go.
  • jdear97jdear97 Member Posts: 2
    I have always had at least one stick in the house. I enjoy the manual transmissions driving interaction and how lively the car feels with most manuals. It can make even an econobox much more fun to drive. Two of my children have taken to the manual.
    One more is trying and two are not interested.
    I will be very sorry to see them go.
  • jeffdewittjeffdewitt Member Posts: 4
    I disagree with the comment about clutch wear when downshifting. If you use the clutch properly downshifting to go down a grade causes no more wear than any other shift.

    Every car except my first (a Studebaker Hawk) has been a stick and I've never worn out a clutch (and yes I do a lot of stop and go and a bit of mountain driving). Finally had to replace the clutch on my Cherokee at 300,000 miles because the throwout bearing was making a noise, but the clutch was still working perfectly.
  • blueluna1004blueluna1004 Member Posts: 1
    I agree with this article, however, the cost to replace a clutch can be very expensive. Our daughter's car is a 2007 Pontiac G5 and the cost to replace the clutch was over $1,500. Yes, I got two estimates and the way this car is put together is not cost effective for replacing parts.
  • rodneyarodneya Member Posts: 2
    The automatic transmission is a large part of the reason cars to day are driven in a vague and somnolent manner. No person who is physically capable should be allowed to get a drivers license until they have demonstrated proficiency with a manual transmission.
  • tombaxtertombaxter Member Posts: 1
    It's much more difficult to text and drive with a stick transmission.
  • maxnixmaxnix Member Posts: 3
    Rather amazing that "car guys" constantly overlook the best manual which is a DCT like BMW or Porsche (PDK). In manual mode, the driver has instantaneous shifts while keeping both hands on the wheel. In Automatic mode, the driver has a flawless shift algorithm with precise and quick shifting and a direct connection to the power train through a clutch and not a torque converter.

    For sure, if a great DCT is not available, get a 6MT. If it is, get the 7DCT.
  • armynodarmynod Member Posts: 1
    It's basically a wash. Automatic transmission is standard equipment these days. There is no real difference with maintenance or service. You're going to pay through the nose either way. An automatic will have higher resale value. All things considered I'd rather have the convenience of an automatic.
  • jmacgowanjmacgowan Member Posts: 1
    Both our girls learned to drive a stick and it was a badge of honor for both as they went through high school.

    As the other commented stated - it takes two hands to drive, so no texting.
  • erictkerictk Member Posts: 1
    Did you notice the article was published quite some time ago? Why so long before the comments appeared?

    "Published: 08/26/2008 Updated: 04/30/2009 "
  • flyboy23flyboy23 Member Posts: 1
    Then there are the drivers who downshift to save their brakes only to realize that worn synchros cost a lot more than brakes. There is another, very subtle advantage to automatics and that is the throttle body is exercised much less with an auto where u put your foot on the gas and keep it there versus a stick where u r on and off. Since 1970, lockup converters provided direct drive that the author's point therein was bogus. Emissions remain lower because shift points are lower as called for by the computer whereas stick shift drivers can go far into the hi co range. Given that most drivers are illegally texting, stick shifts probably contribute to more accidents because the nut behind the wheel's limited attention span is texting.
  • 540iguy540iguy Member Posts: 1
    This article makes it sound like manual transmissions are going extinct, yet every time I go to Europe I see them everywhere.
  • santaclaussantaclaus Member Posts: 3
    The big problem with manual transmissions is that manufacturers like Honda will not honor warranties on them. Honda aggressively claims any defect on a vehicle with a manual transmission is a result of driver behavior, even if onboard computers prove otherwise.
  • jeffdewittjeffdewitt Member Posts: 4
    flyboy, in the couple of million miles or so I've driven a stick I've NEVER worn out a syncro, and I do downshift regularly to save the brakes (engine compression breaking is cheaper than brake linings).

    And "most drivers are illegally texting" is absurd, ESPECIALLY stick shift drivers.

    Driving a stick I get to pick what gear I'm in, and at times that probably REDUCES emissions. (not that it makes much difference with a modern car).

    A lot of times driving an automatic the stupid thing shifts too early as I'm attempting to maneuver and I've got to give it more gas to make it down shift, or sometimes the reverse happens and it's in a lower gear than I want.
  • djh1953djh1953 Member Posts: 1
    Another way would be to lower the cost of the car, not everyone can afford those $20,000 + price tags.
  • forwardlookforwardlook Member Posts: 1
    I got a consistent 40 MPG in my 5 speed Neon. But now I get 30 MPG in an automatic Focus because my wife wouldn't drive a manual. Sigh.
  • islandhopper91islandhopper91 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Honda Passport with a manual transmission and I wouldn't trade it for anything--in fact, I can't find a suitable replacement for this vehicle, so it's likely I will be keeping it for a while. It runs great. I love the way it handles. I love driving a stick. Also, it has 118,000+ miles on it and we still haven't replaced the clutch.
  • synergycamarosynergycamaro Member Posts: 1
    I have been driving a stick since 1996, when I bought a 77 mustang while stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was all I could afford, so I pretty much taught myself. I bought an manual 85 Honda CRX and a 2000 Nissan Xterra (only stick on the lot) after that. I drive automatics at work and my husband's automatic Ford F250, but I am always so glad to get back into my current car--a 2011 6-speed Synergy Green Camaro. Driving a stick is always an adventure!
  • nanodellenanodelle Member Posts: 1
    I went back to a manny-tranny after several years of driving a Civic hybrid. So, I went back to Mazda and got a 6-speed manny tranny.
    I rented a Prius once and really liked it, and a lot of automatic transmissions are fine w/ the shifting options and all. But, here's the catch with me: I like a manual clutch system because unlike automatics, they don't creep forward on their own if your foot accidentally slips off the brake. Also, you've got your left foot on the disengaged clutch, so you have to make your own decision to "go."
    So for me, it's a safeguard to have a manual transmission for that reason alone. Besides, I like shifting and using a clutch.....I know, most people don't!
  • gottabigungottabigun Member Posts: 2
    Want kids to hit the books instead of each other? How about no drivers license at 16 without at least a C average in school. Drop outs never get their license...they can't even spell license! Why put ignorant people who make terrible decisions on the road where human lives are dependent on everyone having the ability to make good decisions?

    Before getting a drivers license, everyone should prove they know the rules of the road, have no unpaid tickets (in any US State), no DUI's or Drug convictions (mandatory 10 year license suspension on 1st conviction) and no conviction of evading police in a motor vehicle (mandatory 10 year sentence and lifetime license suspension).

    Persons convicted of a violent crime should have their license reinstated when the term of their actual sentence is up. If they receive a 30 year sentence but get out in 2 years (as usual in today's system) they still don't get their driver's license for the full 30 years.

    Let's get the boneheads off the road so responsible drivers can get where they are going sooner and safer. Make driving the true privilege it is by making all of us work every day to earn it. If we lose that privilege, make it damn hard to get it back.
  • gottabigungottabigun Member Posts: 2
    Now that my rant is finished, I can still remember my first car. 1961 Olds F-85 3 speed standard on the column. I don't think anyone ever feels like their car is an extension of themselves unless they drive a stick. That left leg isn't there to toe tap to Lil Kim and Fiddy Cent. It's not there to put out your cigarettes either.

    What's with this $1500 to replace a clutch? Why do you think God gave us Auto Parts stores? Put that sucker on some stands, slide under and get busy. If I can do it, anyone can. And I didn't have the Internet to teach me. Clutches are like everything else...if you can't afford to have it fixed, fix it yourself. Plan on a full day...or a weekend if you need the flywheel resurfaced. Replace the throw-out bearing, too, while you're in there anyway.

    If doing it yourself just isn't an option, your Parts store may know of a good "shade tree" mechanic who will do the job for a few hundred dollars. The entire project shouldn't be over 5 to 7 hundred at most. Less if you do it yourself.
  • greybeard1greybeard1 Member Posts: 2
    I would love to drive a manual except for one problem - Resale. The last couple of manual tranny vehicles I've tried to sell went nowhere. Advertisement after advertisement failed to generate any interest until the price dropped to about 50% of book. So now, unless I anticipate driving a car until it's ready for the scrap heap I avoid manual trannys.
  • thunderstruckthunderstruck Member Posts: 1
    One advantage I thought would certainly be noted in the article but isn't is that a car with a manual transmission can be push-started. I camp in some very remote places and have had instances where a starter crapped out or a battery lost a cell and wasn't strong enough to crank the engine. The fact that we could push-start the 4Runner saved us each time. To me that added measure of security alone is worth having a manual, but besides that I think it's much more engaging to drive a manual transmission car. But that's just me. My wife and the rest of my family and friends all think otherwise.
  • mountainkingmountainking Member Posts: 1
    I think a big part of the reason for the decline in sales in manual transmission vehicles, is that generally the people smart enough to realize the advantages of a manual transmission vehicle, are also the ones least financially inept enough to buy vehicles new. The same problem hampers the sale of hatchbacks and wagons. People who are practical enough to desire the extra space and utility you get for the same fuel use, and usually the same vehicle cost, are also practical enough that they would generally never by a car new, preferring to wait 2-3 years when you can get the same vehicle for 40-50% less than the original cost. It's a catch-22.
  • laughnowlaughnow Member Posts: 1
    Ill pay more NOT to have an automatic. Their repair cost isnt justified as compared to a $350 clutch replacement.
  • flaugher1944flaugher1944 Member Posts: 1
    It is just preference, just as armynod said. I learned on and was given a beautiful, old 1941 Chevy with a vacuum shift when I was 15. It was nearly 20 years old, and I loved it. Black, of course, with large white wall tires, AM radio, and a hot heater. Great for driving to high school in Missouri snow. When I bought my red Nissan Xterra in 2003, I chose a manual shift. My son Wes bought me a glass-pack muffler a few years later. I still love it. Only complaint is the mileage is not great on the Xterra. With the Tornado and cruise-control driving I can get 18 mpg.
  • pricillapricilla Member Posts: 2
    I have always loved my "sticks". I am always amazed at younger people who can't even drive one, should be a requirement in Drivers Ed.

    I have owned a couple of automatics over my lifetime and they just don't cut it for me. Try passing a car with a automatic is scary.

    I have a 89 Honda (stick) in my parking area and I also have a Mazda CRX7 (auto), it was given to me by my son. I prefer to drive my old Honda. What a shame. LOL!
  • pricillapricilla Member Posts: 2
    BTW, my first brand new car that I bought was a 73 Nova Hatchback (stick) didn't want a automatic. I sold it to a Specialty Car lot since it was considered a "hot rod". They sold it for 3 times the amount I paid for it. The next "brand new" I bought was a Chevy Monte Carlo (with a stick) Loved it too and sold for more than I paid for it. Then I have only bought Honda's (stick). I am going to trade in my Mazda for a Honda (stick) as I much prefer a Honda. My little 89 Honda...not sure if I will sell it or not. Love that car. I am 58 years old.
  • mhs48128mhs48128 Member Posts: 1
    The biggest problem with owning a stick is getting it repaired. The art of replacing a simple clutch plate is almost lost. The last 2 manuals I had (several years ago) were repaired wrong, with dragging clutches or inferior re-manufactured plates. I gave up and reluctantly went back to automatics.
  • russian55russian55 Member Posts: 1
    Modern computer-controlled automatic transmissions are generally MORE fuel efficient than the ones using manual transmissions.

    How old is your information?
  • justanothermumjustanothermum Member Posts: 1
    Another advantage is that you do not have to share the car with hubby because he doesn't how to drive manual trans.
  • cedupcedup Member Posts: 2
    Stick is the only way to DRIVE. With automatic of any type, all you aare doing is going along for the roll. It's all about CONTROL with stick. I can't drive automatic, there is no sense of in control. It's not driving with out stick, all my car for the last 30 years are STICK, GERMAN stick, everything else is a joke.
  • ret7ret7 Member Posts: 1
    Winter driving and fuel savings are better with a manual - drove a Ford Bronco II for several years in North Dakota, I got 20mpg summer and winter. Several other vehicles which had automatics had a loss of efficiency of several mpg 3 - 5 or more between summer and winter. I suspect this was that the automatic needed to warm up before it could shift effectively in the cold.
  • geohumpgeohump Member Posts: 2
    I have been driving manual transmissions since 1970. And I always loved the control and precision that having a manual gave you.

    However, today's modern automatics, especially the five speeds, six speeds and the new 10 speed that is coming from the Ford/General Motors cooperative effort combined with the intelligent electronics and better sensors for traction control make it clear that it is finally time to stop being elitist about manual transmissions.

    The new automatics are more reliable, because they don't have clutches, and they produce better gas mileage as well as having superior options like traction control for snow and rain.

    The new automatics are making safer more reliable cars. I certainly never ever thought I'd be saying that an automatic transmission would make for a more reliable car, but the simple truth today is that the human nervous system trying to manipulate a clutch, while a fine instrument in many people, is never going to equal the sensitivity and power matching ability of a modern digital computer, properly installed, configured program in a modern drivetrain. Nor will the human ever be able to match the ability of the computer to produce better gas mileage.

    Add in the existence of hybrid gas battery engines, or just plain electronic cars powered only by batteries, and there simply isn't any place left for a clutch to claim superior performance. In the case of electronic drive vehicles there's no place at all for the clutch to claim any performance.

    So, while I will never again redline my turbocharged Mazda in a downtown Manhattan parking garage, which is how I discovered the electronic rev limiter :-) , I'm going to be getting much better mileage and a much longer life out of my car.

    (And, every once in a while, I will probably still try to find a way to leave the 60 foot patch in a downtown Manhattan parking garage. But first, I'll have to disable the traction control....)
  • geohumpgeohump Member Posts: 2
    one other comment, these days it's actually going to be cheaper to own an automatic transmission vehicle.


    Simple. The electronic automatic transmissions are going to be getting much better mileage. Over time the cost of not replacing a clutch, and getting better gas mileage is going to save the owner money.
Sign In or Register to comment.