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Subject: Automatic or Manual Transmission? rss

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Terry Kirk
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In the UK we mostly use cars with manual transmissions, but automatics are getting more common.

I have driven both manual and automatic, but I much prefer switching gears my self with the clutch and gear stick.

So far I have noticed that most users on the forum are from the US which, if TV is accurate,mostly use automatics.

What do you have and what do you prefer?

I have a little red Manual Corsa which is a lot of fun to drive. I also have access to my grandparents car which is an automatic Peugeot.
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Mark O'Reilly
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I much prefer manual too, i like the freedom of changing up or down when i decide.
Apparently in the US a manual gear shift is a great theft deterrent
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Christopher Phennah
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Personally, I'm a biker so manual I suppose. My wife drives a manual Vectra and my father-in-law drove an automatic Subaru. Of the two he's managed to grind his way through two transmissions in as many years and she's still one the same one she from when the car was built nine years ago.

So, in summary, manual wins as automatics break and are expensive.*

*Your experience may vary. If symptoms persist, consult your mechanic.
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Terry Kirk
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biffta wrote:
I much prefer manual too, i like the freedom of changing up or down when i decide.
Apparently in the US a manual gear shift is a great theft deterrent

I'd not heard that, but it makes sense. If most people can't drive stick getting away infirst gear isn't the best.

I do like being able to drop a gear when i need to, or just skip gears after accelerating up to 70mph on the motorway.

I do remember the first time i ever drove an automatic. I came up to the junction,dipped the clutch,and came to a sudden and painful stop... Left foot breaking isn't great, especially when slamming on!

El_Phen wrote:
Personally, I'm a biker so manual I suppose. My wife drives a manual Vectra and my father-in-law drove an automatic Subaru. Of the two he's managed to grind his way through two transmissions in as many years and she's still one the same one she from when the car was built nine years ago.

So, in summary, manual wins as automatics break and are expensive.*

*Your experience may vary. If symptoms persist, consult your mechanic.

Vectras can run forever, and they aren't a bad drive either. Nice on long journeys. The only thing i don't like is their indicators.
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Christopher Phennah
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kirkatronics wrote:
... The only thing i don't like is their indicators.


?Por que? Seem functionally indicate-y to me. And of more use than those on a BMW.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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I learned how to drive a standard shift on the way to Mardi Gras. We stopped at a gas station and they told me it was my turn to drive. After realizing that I didn't know how to drive the car, my friend gave me a two minute lesson and said "Eh... It's mostly highways anyway" and off we went.

I did pretty well. Certainly better than the guy who fell asleep at the wheel on the return trip.
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Terry Kirk
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El_Phen wrote:
kirkatronics wrote:
... The only thing i don't like is their indicators.


?Por que? Seem functionally indicate-y to me. And of more use than those on a BMW.


I m yet to see a BMWs indicators work!
They may not be the same on your wifes car, but on my OH's mothers car they aren't the standard ones I'm used to. They are more like lane changers.

Thunkd wrote:
I learned how to drive a standard shift on the way to Mardi Gras. We stopped at a gas station and they told me it was my turn to drive. After realizing that I didn't know how to drive the car, my friend gave me a two minute lesson and said "Eh... It's mostly highways anyway" and off we went.

I did pretty well. Certainly better than the guy who fell asleep at the wheel on the return trip.

That is pretty impressive, the pressure must have helped.
I remember my first lesson, it was like operating a space shuttle.
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John Breckenridge
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I have an automatic. I'm lazy and prefer to have things done for me. I don't know how to drive a manual (I don't know how to chip an axhead out of a flint rock either and consider the two skills roughly equivalent in necessity), but I figure I know enough that if I was ever in some kind of emergency situation where I had to drive one I could make it go, although the car would probably not like it very much.
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Terry Kirk
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jbrecken wrote:
I have an automatic. I'm lazy and prefer to have things done for me. I don't know how to drive a manual (I don't know how to chip an axhead out of a flint rock either and consider the two skills roughly equivalent in necessity), but I figure I know enough that if I was ever in some kind of emergency situation where I had to drive one I could make it go, although the car would probably not like it very much.

Even the most experienced of manual drivers have the car moan at them for not driving 100% correctly every once in a while.
 
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Andy Holt
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The lady in my life can only drive automatics so my last three cars have been automatics and I would never go back. Driving with less attention needed for purely mechanical functions leaves more for reading the road and allows you to keep both hands on the wheel more of the time.

My current car is a Prius and a hybrid essentially has to be an automatic. The petrolheads of Top Gear dislike automatics (except, perhaps, if they are flappy-stick semi-auto) and hate the Prius … they are wrong on both counts. The big problem with being out of practice with a manual is that, if I want to hire a van or truck, automatic versions of either are like hens teeth.
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Andy Holt
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jbrecken wrote:
I have an automatic. I'm lazy and prefer to have things done for me. I don't know how to drive a manual (I don't know how to chip an axhead out of a flint rock either and consider the two skills roughly equivalent in necessity), but I figure I know enough that if I was ever in some kind of emergency situation where I had to drive one I could make it go, although the car would probably not like it very much.


Providing the motor is not underpowered (and only the cheapest ones are nowadays) a simple get-you-home technique is to stick to third gear (you'll need some clutch control for starting) - most can start in that and get up to national speed limit still in that gear … initial acceleration is terrible but you can live with that.
 
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shumyum
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Manual. My wife has an automatic and my 15 y.o. twins share an automatic (inherited from my mother-in-law).

I am in the process of teaching my son to drive my manual. One possible benefit will be that when he borrows my car a) he won't be as tempted to text and b) it will be very unlikely that a friend of his will "borrow" it for some reason.

My daughter has no interest in learning at this time.
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Isaac Citrom
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Automatic! Automatic!

I purchased my first car with a manual transmission because (a) I thought I was going to be Gilles Villeneuve, (b) it's more power, don't'cha'know, and (c) it would be fun. And, it was for the first day or so. God, do I hate manual transmission in traffic. First, neutral, first, neutral, first neutral, first neutral. Plus, in Montreal we have a stop sign every 30 metres. I think it's a Canadian law or something.

Nothing like the smooth ride of a mid-sized or full-sized car with a smooth automatic transmission. If one buys a car with a fair amount of passing power, you don't notice whatever small amount of power consumed by the automatic transmission. I think that's sort of a red herring, in my opinion.

I'll never buy a manual transmission again. What for? I see it like some people who swear by their manual typewriter. Yeah, OK, I'll stick with my word processor-printer combo.

My two cents, anyway.
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Wendell
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Manual all the way. The only time I regret that is in start and stop traffic, but that's minor.
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Andy Andersen
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Billy McBoatface
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My car is a manual. And the 3rd gear synchromesh is worn out out (it's a 1991), so I have to double clutch it when shifting into third. But I still prefer it; my wife's care is a manual, and it so frustrating to drive it and not be able to put the car into the gear that I want it to be in.
 
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isaacc wrote:
God, do I hate manual transmission in traffic. First, neutral, first, neutral, first neutral, first neutral. Plus, in Montreal we have a stop sign every 30 metres. I think it's a Canadian law or something.

This. This this this.

I can drive stick.
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Chris
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Automatic. I can drive a manual but why bother? So I can get to the stop light 50 feet ahead faster? I work in the city and the stop and go traffic would kill my bad leg. Plus only a sports car is worth having as a manual and I need something more practical than that. If i really wanted to my automatic transmission has manual mode but I have never used it.
 
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John Holder
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galad2003 wrote:
Automatic. I can drive a manual but why bother? So I can get to the stop light 50 feet ahead faster? I work in the city and the stop and go traffic would kill my bad leg. Plus only a sports car is worth having as a manual and I need something more practical than that. If i really wanted to my automatic transmission has manual mode but I have never used it.


Modern sports cars off the line are actually faster in automatic. The computers shift more quickly at revs than people can.

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Geeky McGeekface
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I've never learned to drive a manual transmission and have no desire to do so. Why make a job harder than it needs to be?
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If I had my druthers I'd prefer a manual. But they are few and far between over here. Plus, it's no longer a chore to find an automatic transmission mechanic. Was a time mechanics wouldn't touch one. Install a new one was the only option, although that is still the only option at non-specialty shops.

In recent years I buy a few cars each year, and you can bet if I'm not familiar with a certain model or year of car that I research transmission reliability on that car. Automatic transmission technology is far from perfected.... Chrysler... I'm looking at you.

I have a stick in a pickup we use to haul garbage and doubles as a spare car if needed. A stick also works much better than an automatic for towing and hauling big loads.

For city driving automatic is the logical choice.
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I'd love to have something with manual again. First two cars my wife and I owned had it. Had to teach her when we inherited the Jeep from her parents. She insisted on it when we bought the Elantra. Only reason we have an automatic now is that manual wasn't an option on the vehicle we wanted. Salesguy on the test drive tried telling us that the paddle shifter was just like driving manual. My wife rolled her eyes and gave him an earful.

The first car I remember my Dad driving was an old powder blue Ford Falcon with three on the tree. I would kill for a few days behind the wheel of that thing nowadays.
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Key Locks
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All my cars have been auto. I had a friend teach me how to drive manual several years ago for the purpose of traveling to Europe. I rented a car in Germany and I managed to avoid killing anyone or burning out the clutch during my stay, so I consider it a success. If I had to drive a manual again today, I'm pretty sure I could do it. I don't claim to be the best at it.

I have entertained the thought of buying a manual car, but I think it would be really annoying for my commute, since I'm in stop-and-go traffic almost every day. Maybe if I had the money to buy a sweet car solely for joyriding.

Anyhow, electric cars have no need for a transmission of any kind. So this entire conversation will become antiquated at some point in the not-too-distant future. For someone learning how to drive today in the United States, I would view learning how to drive stick as making about as much sense as learning how to program a computer using punch cards. You could do it, but the ratio of utility to effort is rapidly diminishing with each passing year.
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Fraser
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We own an automatic, but I learned to drive on a manual so I can do it both ways. Knowing how to drive a manual is much more useful when hiring cars overseas or in an emergency when the only vehicle available is a manual.

Daughter the Elder will be learning to drive soonish and she too will learn to drive on a manual.
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Matt Brown
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Automatic. I drive very little on the expressway.
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