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Should I buy manual or automatic?

Jul 3, 2019 | News

One of the important questions you need to ask yourself when you’re in the market for a new car or van is whether to opt for a manual or automatic model. Car & Van Finance Direct weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of both!

Manual v Automatic vehicles

Not completely aware of the differences between manual and automatic vehicles, fear not! Car & Van Finance Direct take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both manual and automatic vehicles and help you make an informed choice for your new car or van!

Manual cars and vans

The majority of cars and vans in the UK market come as standard with a manual gearbox or transmission. This is most easily recognised by the clutch pedal which you need to push to the floor in order to change between gears, this disconnects the engine from the wheels of the vehicle allowing you to select the next gear before releasing the clutch pedal.

Advantages of manual vehicles

Motorists who prefer manual cars and vans do so because of the feeling of being better in control of the vehicle at hand. With automatic vehicles it is the torque converter which transmits force from the engine and this is responsible for pushing the vehicle forward. These torque converters aren’t used on manual vehicles, giving the driver the ability to use the engine momentum to slow down and brake easier.
Not an exact science, but as a general rule of thumb manual cars and vans tend to be cheaper to buy than their automatic counterparts, they can also be easier to maintain. Manual models tend to be less complex than their automatic alternatives and hence there is less of a chance of something going wrong.

Not forgetting, if you pass your driving test in a car with a manual transmission and get your full UK driving licence then you can drive and automatic car or van without retaking your test, the same doesn’t apply if you take your driving test in an automatic car.

Disadvantages of manual vehicles

When first learning to drive in a manual car, mastering clutch control can prove incredibly tricky. Discovering how to find the biting point of the car and driving away without stalling can prove challenging, it also takes practice to establish the best time to change gear. There’s also the strong possibility that the popularity of manual vehicles declining, as electric vehicles continue to grow in strength in the market. These come without gearboxes and are automatic.

Automatic cars and vans

Unlike manual cars and vans, automatic vehicles change gear to suit the speed of the vehicle. This is achieved by disconnecting the drive from the wheels of the vehicle whilst changing gear. This means that when you are driving, there is no need to worry about changing up and down the gears as the vehicle will do this automatically for you.

Advantages of automatic vehicles

The primary advantages of automatic vehicles in comparison with their manual counterparts is that they are generally considered to be far easier to drive. Manual gear changes not being required, makes the whole driving experience far easier than driving a manual car or van. This could prove particularly useful for nervous drivers, by taking away the worry of gear changes whilst driving.

Driving an automatic vehicle helps you have more time to focus your attention on your surroundings including your driving position on the road and the speed which you are travelling at, potentially making you a more aware and safer driver. It is also thought that driving in certain environments such as driving up hills or in stop-start traffic that it is safer to do so in an automatic vehicle.
Automatic cars and vans also tend to maintain more of their initial value than their manual counterparts, this can be due to the fact that they tend to be easier to drive. There are also fewer second hand models available to buy, meaning value increases more when supply is limited.

Disadvantages of automatic vehicles

Not only are automatic vehicles more expensive to buy than manual vehicles as a general rule of thumb, it can also prove more costly to get them repaired, as automatic transmissions require more maintenance than a manual transmission, primarily due to the increased complexity of the design. Automatic vehicles rely on the torque converter to change gears and whilst this can make driving easier, it also means they can be less fuel efficient, so you’ll need to fill up an automatic vehicle more often and spend more on fuel as a result.

Which is better?

Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer and this depends completely on your requirements. It’s clear that there are a number of differences between manual and automatic vehicles with both having their advantages and disadvantages, these need to be weighed up before deciding on the best type of vehicle for you.

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