Automatic Cars Vs. Manual Vehicles | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Automatic Cars Vs. Manual Vehicles

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View of a new, white car at a dealership. The camera is angled right at the back left-corner of the car looking towards the front. From this view, you can see a young adult couple reading through a dealership magazine as they walk by the car.

There are drivers who only drive automatic cars and there are others who swear by driving manual cars. What is better for both driving, price and safety? In the past, manual vehicles have always been more fuel efficient and cheaper. However, that’s not always the case now. Manual cars have their pros and cons, just like automatic cars do. Here are some comparisons between the two vehicles to help you make your decision when buying!


How Automatic and Manual Vehicles Work

No matter what car you choose, vehicles are designed to generate power from the engine to the wheels in order to make a car move. There are two ways this happens and the difference will determine if you have an automatic or a manual vehicle. Your car moves based on gears shifting in your engine. Those gears will shift automatically by you controlling them, or you will have a system already in place in automatic cars that will shift the gears for you.


The transmission of your car is what will shift your gears. Your engine creates power through combustion or other processes (which depends on the car and fuel) and your transmission will send a specific amount of power to your car wheels to make them go. Just like on a multi-speed bike, you can determine how fast you will go when you change your bike speeds. In a car, your transmission is a gear shifter that will give more and more energy to your car to go depending on the gear your car is in. Automatic cars will shift gears for you as you accelerate faster and faster. In manual vehicles, you do this gear-shifting yourself to make the car go.


A close-up view of a stick shift in a car.

Automatic Cars Vs. Manual Vehicles

There are pros and cons to buying both manual vehicles and automatic cars. In the past, it was thought that all manual vehicles were better for fuel economy. They required less power than automatic cars with working the transmission and gears. However, with more automatic cars equipped with additional gears, some automatic cars will be better on fuel economy. This is especially true with very large trucks and other vehicles. Compare stats on different vehicles before buying to know if you’re getting a gas guzzler or not. Even if a manual vehicle costs you less in fuel money than automatic cars, the amount may only be $100 or so in a year period.


Some other things to consider:

  • Automatic cars tend to cost more because they’re more popular and easier to use than manual vehicles. The gears shift for you and drivers don’t have to consciously think about that shifting while driving.
  • Manuals allow you more control. Because you determine your gear-shifting yourself, you can feel more in-control when driving. You’ll simply have to decide if you like that control or if you want the gears to automatically shift for you.
  • Manuals generally require less maintenance because there are less systems controlling the gears and transmission for you.
  • There are three pedals in a manual vehicle, compared to two in automatic cars. This extra pedal is one you have to learn how to use.
  • Studies have found that manual vehicles are less likely to be stolen than automatic cars because of the lack of people who know how to drive them.
  • There are fewer options when it comes to manual vehicles. The Los Angeles Times reports that only 3% of car sales in 2015 were manual vehicles. The other 97% were automatic cars. Some brands don’t even offer manual options for drivers. The production of manual vehicles is continually going down because of the lower selling rate each year.


A view of cars inside a dealership. You can see half of one of the cars (red) on the left side of the photo and a charcoal one on the right side of the photo.

Tips for Buying a Quality Car

Don’t just buy any car without doing the proper research. If the car is new, what are the ratings for the make and model? Is it a trusted dealership? Do payments fit with your budget? There are many questions to consider before buying a new car. When it comes to buying a used car, you need to do even more research to know what work has been done on the car, maintenance checks and if the vehicle was ever in an accident. Carfax history report can tell you a ton about cars that you are buying used.


Make sure you shop around for the type of car you want. Seeing vehicles in-person at a dealership is one of the best ways to get a feel for the car you want. Many dealerships also have a selection of used cars or allow you to trade in a car for more off of a new car’s ticket price. However, wait to mention your trade-in until you’ve already negotiated a lower price for a newer vehicle. There are also many buy-online options available to consumers today. Whatever option you choose, be intentional with the make and model you want, then do a vehicle report.


When making a car purchase on both automatic cars and manual vehicles, look into your pre-financing and financing options to get a deal that works well with your money situation. You can often negotiate terms to fit your budget. Find out if there are hidden or extra costs with the vehicle and always decide on a price based on the actual purchase price of the car instead of a monthly payment plan. Make sure you factor in your insurance cost into your payments and don’t get add-on items you actually won’t need, including the extended warranty in many cases.


For all of your car maintenance needs after purchasing automatic cars or manual vehicles, call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at (970) 682-4202!


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