Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: Which gets better mileage and why? | Penney Auto Body & Glass Vancouver

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: Which gets better mileage and why? | Penney Auto Body & Glass Vancouver

The manual vs. automatic debate is an ongoing one. With gas mileage being so important today when picking a car, it’s important to understand which type of transmission is better for you and your wallet. Your friends and family will probably share their preference and their opinions regarding which one is better, but let us provide an unbiased guide to help you decide.

The Case for Manual
Cars with manual transmission used to get significantly better mileage compared to automatics. A major factor that stopped the gas mileage of cars that use automatic transmissions was the use of a torque convertor that coupled the engine between the mechanical gears. Manual transmissions use a clutch instead. The torque convertor was never really 100% effective when the car was in motion, forcing cars to lose more power and burn more fuel on the highway than cars with manual transmissions. If you’re looking to buy a used car and want to save money on mileage, look for one with a manual transmission.

The Case for Automatic
Today, automatic cars come with five speeds, and sometimes six or seven, making highway driving much easier on your gas. New automatics typically have an overdrive top gear that can reduce the engines RPM at higher speeds as well, which also saves gas. Newer automatic transmission cars now have lock-up torque convertors to solve to problem of saving power on the highway, and computer controls help optimize gas and fuel consumption.

Newer cars with automatic transmissions will likely get close to, or equal to the gas mileage as manual transmissions.

The Answer?

If you’re getting an older car, a manual transmission will probably save you more trips to the gas station than an automatic transmission. But, if you’re getting a newer car, it’s really your preference. Some drivers think manual is more fun and can have more control, regardless of the fuel consumption. But cars with automatic transmissions usually get the same gas mileage as cars with manual transmission, sometimes even better. Do your research on the specific car you're interested in when car shopping to get a more definitive answer.

That being said, if you’re a consistent city driver, a manual transmission might be an improvement of 1 or 2 km/l on any vehicle, because stop-and-go traffic uses more energy for cars.

Penney Auto Body & Glass, Vancouver’s Auto Body Collision Repair Shop, is an expert in paint and body repair and cares about the welfare of your car and your personal safety. If you get involved in an automotive accident or you're a victim of a vehicle break-in or theft be sure to contact Penney Auto Body for your auto body, collision repair, and car painting services.


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