A/T Vs. M/T: Which One’s for You?

by / Tuesday, 19 August 2014 / Published in Automotive Advice

Stick Shift

Every driver should know the two basic transmissions that allow cars to move: the Manual Transmission (M/T) and the Automatic Transmission (A/T). Simply, a car’s transmission allows it to shift between gears (that’s usually from 1 to 5) or functions, which are park, reverse, neutral, drive, and low gear (for climbing slopes). Familiar? Yeah, it’s your friend PRNDL.

With technological advancements encouraging human thinking to adapt, so have the basic transmissions evolved. The steel tube system, the gears, and even the engine designs, are far from what they were before. Such change is to provide more improved functions to suit any need a driver may have.

Whether you’re a driver in training, a Need for Speed noob, or even a big-time auto collector, you need to understand the two basic transmissions in order to determine which suits you best. You ready? Here we go!

Mechanism and Maneuver

A manual vehicle has three pedals that control its movement: the clutch, the brake, and the accelerator. The clutch exists in order to assist the stick shift as it facilitates the car’s acceleration. To further explain, once you have to accelerate (and this is dictated by the feel of the car), you shift from one gear to another, but only after pressing on the clutch pedal. Complicated, right? But it has to be done or else it’ll hurt your machine.

This complexity isn’t shared by an automatic vehicle, which has only the brake and the accelerator pedals. You only have to shift among the PRNDL functions without worrying about the clutch. As for accelerating and decelerating, you just press on the gas pedal for a gain while easing up on it for a loss of speed.

Fuel Efficiency

Now this is difficult to determine. Some say that although automatic vehicles may have a more modern mechanism, they consume less amounts of fuel than manual vehicles. On the other hand, others are defenders of the opposite idea, but there is some truth to both sides.

Manual vehicles are known to be more efficient in the fuel department since they have less revs when idle compared to automatic vehicles. Although this is fact, technological advancements have given automatic vehicles a chance to redeem themselves regarding fuel efficiency. As a conclusion given by most regarding the issue, fuel efficiency depends on the use of the vehicle.

Speed and Power

In this aspect, manual vehicles are everyone’s favorite. A stick shift provides drivers the ability to choose the gear, therefore full control of the car’s speed and power is completely in their hands. And this is where drivers get excited. Manuals are known to have up to five or more gears, which, when engaged, each quickly packs a punch.  They are then able to accelerate at a faster pace than automatics. Now that answers why Dom Toretto’s Charger is in manual.

Maintenance and Price

Automatics win here—if you’re into expensive machines. With their intricate gearboxes, they have to be tended to more often, and with a closer attention compared to stick shifts. This especially helps your pocket, especially as you already paid a hefty price for the unit, when its manual version was considerably cheaper.

Comfort and Convenience

Traffic is a typical problem in any city, and a car in manual transmission cannot help ease your journey through this ordeal. With the need to shift from gear to gear, while considering the clutch, you most likely end up stressed to the bones. Drivers of automatics are cruising in the drive as you suffer. Envy them now, don’t you?

So which is the best for what? For top speeds and happy wallets, it has to be the M/T, while for an easy cruise, the A/T is everyone’s best bet. But what’s for you? Only you can decide.

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