Manual vs. Automatic: What’s the Difference?

Manual vs. Automatic: What’s the Difference?

You’re ready for your next car. Before you decide make, model, or color, you need to decide whether you want an automatic or manual transmission. But what’s in a transmission? Bartow Ford, your Lakeland area Ford dealership, helps you understand what your transmission does and the difference between automatic and manual.

What’s a Transmission?
Before you understand the difference between a manual and automatic transmission, you first need to understand what the transmission does. Torque from the engine enters the input shaft, reaching the transmission, which then pushes it out the output shaft. How the torque reaches the wheels depends on whether the car is front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive.

Automatic Transmission
What’s now the standard on most models used to be considered a luxury. Automatic transmissions shift gears on its own. Traditional automatics are connected by a hydraulic torque to the engine. This is what allows the car to shift gears without driver input, and no clutch means that the driver only has to focus on two pedals — the gas and the brake. Automatic transmissions tend to be smoother, especially in stop-and-go traffic. Additionally, there is less of a chance that the car will stall. Originally, automatic transmissions only came in four-speed configurations. Today, six-, seven-, and eight- speed automatics are commonplace.

Manual Transmission
There can be a lot to learn when it comes to manual transmissions. When you drive a manual transmission, also known as driving stick, the driver is responsible for changing the gears. To do this, the clutch disc, which is between the engine and transmission, needs to be released via a third pedal. After you release the pedal, you select the desire gear, and engage the clutch again. Unlike an automatic transmission, you can risk stalling the engine if you engage the clutch too quickly. If you engage it too slowly, you can cause the disc to wear out prematurely.

While automatic transmissions can be easier and more comfortable to the driver, manual transmissions have their benefits. Manual transmissions offer better control than automatic transmissions. They can be cheaper to maintain, less expensive to purchase and offer better fuel efficiency. If you’re unsure which transmission is right for you, try a test drive at Bartow Ford, your Lakeland area Ford dealership. Give us a call at 800-303-2016 or contact us online to schedule a test drive.


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